19 Aug the Percys in the Great Barrier Reef
Middle Percy Island, what a gem! We loved it last year when we were anchored in White’s Bay, on the southern part of the Island, beautiful beaches, lovely dunes. We explored that area as we walked up a creek bed… This year with our South Eastly trade winds we were able to anchor in West Bay, a well-known cruiser spot. Currently, a Conservation Park established in 2010 to preserve its history. In 1964, Andy Martin moved to the Island and strived to create a sustainable island paradise, with fruit and veg crops, goats for milk and meat and bush honey. Structures were built and today a large A-frame building is a meeting place for cruisers, hundreds of yachties have left their calling cards on wood, fabric, flags, metal. The A-frame also houses a kitchen; sink, dishes, utensils, a huge hammock, tables, benches, and a small alcove where island goods are sold. Out back is a large barbie area, enclosed with a stone wall.
When we arrived at the anchorage 1000, we had a friendly greeting from the neighboring boat. After resting up from our overnight sail, mid-arvo we launched the dingy and headed in to explore. Our friendly neighbors, Le Mistral (Roddie and Jasmine) motioned to us and let us know there would be sundowners on the beach. We had a well-planned beaching of the dingy with the waves and enjoyed a walk around following the hand painted signs. First, we checked out the “telephone” hut (that houses the book lending library), then made our way past the “Tree House” a holiday home (available for short stays) and up a sandy hill to check out the nearby lagoon. Here we saw several other structures and a couple older boats that may have seen better days. In the lagoon was one trimaran, that we later found out is occupied by Steve who is the back-up caretaker. The present caretakers are Annie and Robin, who are currently off the island on a supply run.
As we arrived back at the A-Frame we were greeted by cruisers who were enjoying the late arvo on the beach. We chatted for a bit and then pulled up some benches as Le Mistral also arrived and enjoyed our first evening of sundowners at West Bay. Much information was shared; we learned where cell connection could be received (a 30 minute hike up the hill), of their previous night experience of whales in the anchorage, a rocky-rolly period in the night, and that the hike to the homestead was best done by heading up on the long track (up the road) and coming down on the short track (steep and a single trail).
We enjoyed a good night’s sleep with some tolerable rocking and rolling and in the morning decided we would tackle the hike to the homestead in the afternoon. We would prep granola and nibbles for sundowners before we left for the hike. Well, mother nature had other plans as Maia began pitching and rolling to an extent that continuing in the galley was not a good prospect and it seemed that a nap might be the next best thing. After a 2-hour nap, and with the rocking and rolling somewhat subsided, we decided to prep the dingy as a beautiful rainbow appeared over the beach. As we went in for Sundowners, we stopped at Lalapanzi and Le Mistral and found that we would be the only ones on the beach that evening. We enjoyed our quiet and solitude looking out into the anchorage with the three boats bobbing about.
While enjoying our Sunday morning aboard Maia, we heard the Yeppon Coast Guard calling Tobyrruf, Tobyrruff, Tobyrruff. Our friends Kara and Levi were checking in which meant they were on their way. Early arvo we loaded up with phones, portable radio, snacks, water, first aid kit, for our hike to the Homestead. We had been told it was a four-hour hike and were excited to explore the island. Thirty minutes into the hike we reached “Ring-Ring Rocks” where I received cell connection and was able to download emails. As I trudged up the next thirty minutes to “Ring” spot # two, I found Dick sitting contentedly on a wooden bench in a clearing with his head down reading the news. Soon he was able to download emails, the weather forecast and do a quick check into facebook. However, I had absolutely no luck on the internet there!?
As we reached the half-way point… (which we only knew because of the fun signs along the way), we arrived at Andy’s lookout. This seemed to be a good spot to turn on the handheld vhf radio and hail Tobyrruff. So fun to hear Kara’s voice, they were not sure if Tobyrruf would make it all the way to Middle Percy tonight… I let them know that the anchorage was a big bay and that coming in late could be done safely.
Onward we marched up and around and into the bush and wow, the Butterflies! There were hundreds of blue tiger butterflies in various areas flittering about landing on tree branches and flying through the air. As we walked into a clearing we came upon a band of kangaroos, scattered about in a field, who were not so happy to see us. As we approached the homestead, there were goats and as we were in the garden of the homestead the chickens were clucking about. We enjoyed snooping around the property and the Rondarval, a round house with an outdoor kitchen.
As we followed the signs down the “short track” we found ourselves on a single trail leading down, down, down to the beach and anchorage (1.5 miles, 3 km). As we were in our last hour of our four-hour hike, we were able to laugh at the aptly placed signs along the way that said, “Smile”, “Not Far to go to the Beach”.
Once back on Maia we received a radio call from Tobyruff they were approaching the anchorage. As it was just getting dark we signaled them with our spotlight and soon they were anchoring nearby. Dick hopped into the dingy picked up Kara and his close doggy friend Dora and rushed to the beach much to Dora’s delight.
After our big day we had some less busy days but enjoyed the company of Tobyrruff and other new friends we had met. We had a couple enjoyable sundowner evenings on the beach and enjoyed the fresh fish that Levi had speared for a couple dinners. Life was good on Middle Percy Island.