Day 14, Year 3: Cape Upstart to Magnetic Island
Date: Friday, May 23, 2008
Weather: No Change–Sunny Skies and Fair Winds, SE 15-20
Temperature: Air 72 degrees F; Water 72 degrees F
Latitude: 19 degrees 06.666 minutes S
Longitude: 146 degrees 51.536 minutes E
Location: Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia

“The East point I named Cape Cleveland, and the West, Magnetical Head or Island, as it had much the appearance of an Island; and the Compass did not traverse well when near it.” (James Cook’s Journal, 6th June, 1770)

Evidently Captain Cook’s Endeavor was the only ship to ever record the strange magnetic occurrence, but the name stuck. And although Captain Cook named the island, he did not visit here. The first European visitors were probably the crew of the HMS Beagle some seventy years later in 1841. The traditional people of Yunbenun or Magnetic Island were the Wulgurukaba or canoe people who lived on the mainland and visited the island by canoe or walked over at low tide. The oldest aboriginal remains

found on this island date back some 12,000 years, but there is evidence that the Wulurukaba people lived on the low mainland for some 40,000 years before the first Europeans came here. Today much of Magnetic Island is national park mixed with a few seaside tourist communities. The wildlife on the island seems to have learned to coexist with the thousands of tourists who visit here. Just after we arrived today we headed to the island to the little community in Horseshoe Bay. There are a few small

cafes and restaurants, a tourist trinket store, a convenience food store, and a place that sells wireless internet time. Yea! Then there are the many little backpackers and a hotel or two hidden in the bush somewhere. We only walked on the main street that has a cul-de-sac at both ends, but on this street we saw the most beautiful blue headed parrots and some cheeky Laughing Kookaburras. I’d never seen a Kookaburra in the wild before, if you can call main street “wild”, but this one was definitely

an Aussie all the way. He flew from a tree on the beach to the open air bar and just sat there on the back of a chair. Only in Australia.

We did indeed leave Cape Upstart at 2 am this morning and had a lovely sixty-eight mile sail arriving here twelve and a half hours later. As always, the wind was more behind us than we had hoped. We first sailed with just a headsail, and then with a headsail and the main, then we poled out the headsail, and ended the day with just the main. The wind sure keeps us busy these days.

One of the main reasons for visiting Magnetic Island is so we can take advantage of the wonderful walking tracks here. When we were here twelve years ago, we saw koalas as we walked up to the remains of old World War II fortifications. Koalas are not native to the island but were introduced in the 1930’s. We are hoping for a repeat performance.

080523 Day 14 Cape Upstart to Magnetic Island