Day 21, Year 3: Mourilyan Harbor to Cairns

Date: Friday, May 30, 2008

Weather: Mostly Sunny Day; Winds S to SW 15-20

Latitude: 16 degrees 55.213 minutes S

Longitude: 145 degrees 46.879 minutes E

Location: Marlin Marina, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Today we had one of our best sailing days yet as we work our way north up the coast of Australia. We were safely out of Mourilyan Harbor by 5:30 am and had to motorsail until 8 am, but then the winds filled in nicely and we were able to sail all the way to Cairns. We got an early start as we had to go almost sixty miles, but we were entering the channel leading into Cairns just after 2 pm. The winds were out of the south and southwest and we sailed on a broad-reach most of the day. About an hour

out of Cairns the winds switched to be more behind us and we sailed wing and wing the last little bit. It was a fast, calm sail all the way.

So here we are in a marina in the city of Cairns. Cairns is just a little smaller than Townsville with a population of about 130,000. But the defining feature of this town is tourists. They are everywhere. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most popular dive sites so that alone draws loads of people. From here you can take dive trips out to the Great Barrier Reef, visit one of the many continental islands close to here, tour the nearby rainforests, go inland to the Atherton Tablelands,

or do any combination of these things. And you can buy just about anything “Australian” in this town-either made in Australia or in Korea. Pick your price. And for us, this is the last bit of “civilization” we will see for another month, so we are taking advantage of the fresh food markets and stocking up for the trip to Darwin. They found room for us in the marina for an extra day, so we will be here until Monday morning. That way we can spend Saturday and Sunday shopping and enjoying some

of the sights in and around Cairns.

By the way, even though Mourilyan was not the most beautiful anchorage we have been in, it was certainly a quiet one. I don’t think Windbird moved all night. That was very different from the night before in Shepherd Bay on Hinchinbrook Island. It was beautiful there, but we rocked and rolled all night long. And now we are a dock, so we should have three more very quiet nights.

080530 Day 21 Mourilyan Harbor to Cairns