Wind as usual was a little bit fickle. As we got closer to Mackay we spotted 54 big tankers all lined up waiting for their call to gain access to the shipping harbour. As there was still light wind Gunther decided to put up the big 158sqm gennaker whilst I surveyed the area ahead ensuring clear passage through a field of tankers. Up she went beautifully and we sailed towards Mackay.
As we approached Mackay we received a lovely phone call from Murray letting us know that he can see us already. Whilst Gunther is cool and collected when entering a harbour my anxiety levels rise as all I can see is possible obstacles that one can hit. Preparation prior entering certainly provides some comfort. Mackay does have a huge tidal change of some 6 meters, This is something I just could not imagine. Needless to say all went well and the pylons on the floating jetty are enormous at low tide.
We had some drinks on board with Murray, son Michael and girlfriend Mindy. Afterwards, Murray of course organised big roast pork, Michael showed off his skills by cooking moreton bay bugs and Mindy produced the most delicious roasted vegetables in their lovely house. We were advised not to venture into the backyard without shoes as there are green ants who bite you and don’t open the backyard gate as there could be crocodiles behind the fence.
As we once again needed some electricial experts on our boat due to one of the 3 engine control units not working we decided to stay for 7 days in Mackay. Whilst waiting to see if they can just fix the unit we also explored Mackay and its surroundings. Murray brought up from Sydney, as he calls it, our little Beep Beep (Barina) giving us the freedom to travel by car. We have been able to purchase more boat stuff, stock up on food as Mackay is truly a huge town that offers everything.
We also can recommend visiting Finch Hatton Gorge around 1.15 minutes’ drive that offers an easy rainforest walk with wonderful rock pools for a lovely cool dip. We did skip and hop across the rocks and came across a rather large black snake sunbaking and looking rather annoyed as we got closer. That of course stopped us in our tracks.
Thursday arrived and our electrician informed us that he still does not know if they can fix the unit and offered to bypass one of the units giving us the flexibility of being able to leave port as he mentioned that they rather go fishing for the next 3 days than fix our unit. You’ve gotta love the Queenslanders! They, at least, have their priorities sorted.
Naturally we took up the offer and it was an excellent choice as 5 days later we have been informed the unit cannot be fixed and a new one has to be ordered from Finland. This I am sure will take months until it arrives.
Sailor’s story and good outcome:
Sailor Dean arrived in Mackey with his newly purchased 50 foot steel yacht. As usual one gets talking and one can see immediately that he had pretty bad cuts on his legs and arms. As there are many single handers out in that big ocean, I always worry and imagining the worst possible to happen. Sailor Dean was one of those who sailed from Hamilton Island to Mackay alone. Sailor Dean however, was very much prepared for all sorts of mishaps. Especially for falling overboard accidentally. Therefore he planned ahead leaving his dinghy out the back with a rather long rope.
His worst nightmare did come true as he walked forward leaning on one of the stanchions that gave way. At this stage he was truly hanging on for dear life trying to get himself back up and into the boat. Sailor Dean is a very athletic fit looking man and despite his excellent physic he tired out rather quickly unable to pull himself up. Therefore he reverted to put in place plan B (very brave one) whilst still having some strength letting go, falling into the water and ensuring that he reaches his dinghy whilst the boat is sailing past him. He luckily succeeded to tell the story and hopes that wife and children will never find out. As we exchanged stories such as good anchoring for his trip down south I hope that I was able to convince him taking on crew or at least purchasing a personal Ebirb.