Monday June 30

Left early for an easy sail down to Dunk Island to arrive in time for lunch. Ashore in the afternoon we completed the island circuit walk, climbing up Mt Kootaloo, with some beautiful views and a bit of WWII history with the remnants of the old Radar Station. We can thank the war effort for the tracks we walk on as other National Park Islands have no access at all. It was sad to see the resort in such poor repair still, after the last big cyclone.

The Resort is slowly being rebuilt with the main dining and reception area looking good

Very jiggly night as the breeze came in from the west giving us no protection.

Tuesday July 1

Breeze was up for the next few days so we headed off to find better shelter. Had a look at Kent Island but it offered very little protection with 25 knots of SE behind us. Kept going to Mourilyan Harbour, catching up to Friendship II that had left a hour before us.

Saw a wrecked yacht on the shore with sails still in the water so quite recent.

Mourilyan Harbour was an easy entrance between 2 rocky headlands. Easy to miss if your weren't close inshore.

A sugar port with the worlds largest bulk sugar storage shed. We tried to anchor up the river but couldn't get holding so we came back into the edge of the swing basin and joined 2 trawlers resting for the day. The wind blew hard all day so we didn't get off the boat to explore.

Wednesday July 2

Very cold, grey day. Strong Wind Warning. We had a very quick trip upto Fitzroy Island with a good size steep swell behind us. At the anchorage the swell was coming around the corner making things quite bouncy. Ashore we explored the resort area and enjoyed a beer at the bar.

Thursday July 3

Rough night again but in the morning the wind finally backed more toward the East giving the anchorage more protection so things calmed down nicely apart from the odd rain squall and clouds.

Ashore we climbed to the old Lighthouse which would have to be one of the ugliest ones we have ever seen. Fully tiled with what look like Circa- 1950 bathroom tiles.

From there we climbed to the summit, which would have had fantastic views on a good day.

Returning to the resort just in time to miss a rain squall. Coffee was required. Then when the rain had stopped we were off to explore the Secret Garden track up though the Isalnd Rainforrest.

After lunch we moved out with 15 Nm to go to Cairns. Boisterous sail with confused seas and strong wind bullets. We motored up the river and dropped anchor opposite Smiths Creek for a calm restfull night.

Friday July 4

We moved into Marlin Marina nice and early, with Colin and Anne off Annacol were there to help with the lines. Arranged for Champagne Sundowners with them which we had been trying to do since 2010, when we last saw them on the water.

Our day was spent washing the boat, 2 loads of washing, and a big trip to Wollies for provisions. We are starting to stock up now for the big trip around the top end to Darwin.

Cairns is a flat tropical City with wide streets and beautiful greenery everywhere.. The foreshore has large shady trees with a town lagoon, wide walkways, lots of parks and exercise stations. The tide goes out a long way and leaves a big muddy bay. The overall atmosphere was buzzing. Everywhere was busy and alive unlike what we saw in Townsville ( Sorry Greg and Janie).

The nightlife is great with lots of coloured lights and a vibrant atmosphere. We explored the famous Night Markets

Saturday July 5

The weather was on the improve as we headed off early to Rusty's Fresh Food Market to restock. The market was terrific with a good range of locally grown produce.

Cairns Central for meat then back to the boat to pack everthing away in fridge and freezer.

Then off again to track down a new gas cylinder for the Soda Stream. found one in Myers and Lea also found some more lightweight towels for the boat.

After lunch Lea went off to the laundry. I wasn't feeling so good and by the time Lea got back I was writhing in pain. I suspected it was another kidney stone so Lea called the Ambulance.

Ambulance arrived after 20 minutes having been delayed by the Marina Security gates. The ambo tried 3 times to get an IV into my arms without success. Finally gave me a IM shot of Morphine and carted me up to the Ambulance. Here I got a Penthrane stick and the pain was beginning to fade.

The Cairns Hospital was great and I was soon comfortable and sent off for a CT scan and blood tests.

Long delay then but the pain had gone and the Morphine had put a smile on my face. 4 hours later the doctor returned and informed me that there was no sign of a stone and everything else looked fine. The delay was due to getting second opinions on the Scan. We concluded that the stone had already passed. Good news! I was released and Lea and I walked back feeling very relieved. Last time I had this I was 8 days in hospital.

Sunday July 6

Our Skyrail excursion had been rescheduled back to today as I was feeling ok. Slight twinge on the bus but more drugs soon settled it.

The Skyrail has 114 gondolas and travels 7.5 km in 3 stages. The highest peak is 545 M and it has wonderful views over the Barron River Gorge and Falls as it skims across the top of World Heritage listed Rainforrest.

Ther are 2 stops along the way to explore the Rainforrest

We end up in a little town called Kuranda. After lunch we found some lovely walks.

We returned to Cairns via the Kuranda Scenic Railway, on the other side of the Barron River Gorge, a National Engineering Landmark that was built to provided reliable service the gold mining areas behind Cairns. It began in 1887 and opened in 1891 with 15 hand carved tunnels, 55 bridges and 98 curves. the track is narrow gauge and is 37 km long.

Railway still has manual points

First Class looked very nice but we were too mean to spend the extra $100.00

Apart from the annoying 3 year old it was a lovely trip back to the old station at Freshwater.