After saying a final goodbye to Marble and Hunter Islands we sailed away with mixed feelings about our time there. The Sunrise over the Islands was beautiful as we sped away and despite breaking the wheels on the rowboat and cutting my foot on the rocks dragging the damn thing in to the water, our final day climbing the peaks and enjoying the quiet beach had gone a long way to renewing our affection for the wild anchorage.
Our first destination before returning to civilization was Pearl bay, another bay that was destined to receive the middle finger as we sailed out the next morning. I’m getting pretty good at shaking my fist or laughing at nature on this trip. Pearl bay is a very pretty spot that we thought would protect us from the winds for the night. It has a small crescent shaped sandy beach and steep hills. The water is quite beautiful and Dugongs swim lazily around the boats surfacing for air before swimming back down to the bottom to feed on the sea grass. We were anchored there with two other boats and hoping for a quiet night.
We awoke at four in the morning to the Arion bouncing from side to side on a swell that was coming straight in from the ocean and wind that made it really hard to pee over the side again. The cups and saucers were crashing around the galley and I had to hold on to the side of my bunk again to keep myself from falling out. I’m sure I heard someone on the nearest yacht yell FUCK in the middle of the night.
We couldn’t help laughing again as we waited out the two hours until sunrise when we could get out of the place!
As Arion blasted through the waves at six knots and we were able to turn off the engine and sail again. The swell and the tide rolled with us as the sun shone, it was exhilarating.
About an hour from Yeppoon something happened that I have been waiting to see since I arrived here on the Queensland Coast. We were sitting in the cockpit and Graham yelled “Dolphins” as he pointed out to the port side of the boat. I sprung up to check them out. We have seen a lot of Dolphins on this trip but always just the tip of a fin or tail.
On this occasion, because the engine was off and Arion was speeding through the waves a pod of Dolphins had been attracted to our bow wave. Half a dozen of them zoomed under the bowsprit and as I raced to get my camera and began playing around the front of the boat. It’s the most incredible thing to see creatures like these playing in their natural habitat. As they danced alongside the bow I sat in my favorite spot and listened to them singing as they swam. It is something that I will never forget.
Finally we arrived at the Marina and after a few hairy moments passed by the rock walls and safely in to still water.The marina at Yeppoon is quite pretty but by this time I was itching to get of the boat and in to a hotel room for the night. The lure of a bed that didn’t move and a real toilet that didn’t require an engineering degree to use were too much for this city boy, but as I sat in my room eating ships and drinking chocolate milk I missed the Arion and my little bunk, and I began to yearn to be out on the sea again.