Day 36, Year 3: Ingram Island to Flinders Island
Date: Saturday, June 14, 2008
Weather: Sunshine; Winds SE 25 with Gusts to 45
Latitude: 14 degrees 10.608 minutes S
Longitude: 144 degrees 13.797minutes E
Location: Flinders Island, Queensland, Australia
Total Trip: 46.66 nm

Tonight we are anchored on the west coast of Flinders Island. We are not far from the mainland and we have read that crocodiles hang out in the waters here. But today we saw no crocodiles, only turtles. And we like that much, much better. We had a brisk sail here. At first the winds were the typical 20 to 30 knots from behind us, but as we neared Cape Melville we learned why the locals call it “Cape Hellville.” We were sailing close to the coast and all of a sudden we were having gusts to 35 knots, to 40 knots, and then on up to 45 knots. Rendezvous Cay was ahead of us and they had given us the warning in plenty of time for us to change our sail plan. We thought about just reefing the headsail, but then decided to take some of the strain off that hard working sail and roll it in to give it a rest. We went with just the staysail and were still going six plus knots. We were happy with that speed and stayed with the configuration until the winds finally settled back down to 25 knots. We then rolled up the staysail and put up the headsail once again. With such great winds, we arrived at anchor by 2:15 in the afternoon and had plenty of time to do some planning for the next few days and then launch the dinghy and explore ashore.

We’ve sailed into a new landscape. It is looking more like what I envision the Northern Territory to look like instead of tropical Queensland. It is much drier here. There are mangroves, Eucalyptus trees, and tall, yellow grass, but no palm trees. The rock formations are fantastic. It is a stark kind of beauty and it will be interesting to see if this “change” stays with us as we travel from here to Darwin. On shore this afternoon we were looking for the only points of interest on this island-the graves of four Europeans who died here in the 19th century when this island was a trading post with a detachment of English soldiers; and a boulder with the name of the ship that surveyed this area carved into it, the H.M.S. Dart. After a bit of tromping about, we found the graves hidden in the tall yellow grass, but we didn’t find the boulder with the ship’s name carved into it. On the island just across the channel there are caves with aboriginal drawings, but the tide was not right for going there by the time we got settled today and we’ve decided to move on tomorrow. So we will miss seeing the caves.

Tomorrow our goal is Morris Island. Our guide tells us that there is a great beach for landing the dinghy, but on the morning net we have learned that a “resident” crocodile currently travels from Morris to Night Island. If we are very brave, we might travel ashore looking very carefully for this guy, but then again, maybe we won’t be very brave. The only thing ashore is one lone coconut tree and the grave of a diver. We’ll just have to weigh the situation once we get there.

080614 Day 36 Ingram Island to Flinders Island
Day 37, Year 3: Flinders Island to Morris Island
Day 35, Year 3: Lizard Island to Ingram Island on Friday the 13th