It was very shallow squeezing between Gloucester Island and the mainland – only a metre under the keel – but we got through just before some nasty looking weather. There were some moorhttp://www.virtualreinhard.com/wp/bowen/ing buoys bobbing around close in to the shore where we intended to anchor. They said ‘Eco Resort’ on them but there was no phone number and the resort didn’t respond to VHF, so we picked one up. As it happened, the squall passed us by, but the bay remained calm so even though it was only lunchtime, we decided to hang around until the next morning.
What a lovely calm mooring it was! The buoy was well behaved and didn’t bang against the boat at all – or if it did, it was made of nice soft plastic and we probably wouldn’t have noticed. Mooring makers, take note! It is possible to make your buoy out of something soft and squishy instead of something hard and sharp that rings like a bell on impact.
There was little swell and we scotched our plans of an early start and had a luxurious long lie-in instead.
It was a long slow calm trip over turquoise calm seas to Bowen, where we dropped anchor and took the dinghy in through the astonishingly shallow channel (we didn’t dare try it in the yacht) to get some provisions. On the way there, we’d noticed a catamaran with ‘Jailhouse Steak House, Launceston’ on the side, which we’d seen at almost every marina on the way up, so on the way back to Pindimara, loaded to the gunwhales with provisions, we chugged over and said ‘Hi’.
Don, who had built his yacht in Tasmania and is sailing her up to Darwin (Her actual name is Cisco; the steak house had once sponsored him in a race), was glad to see us and we spent a lovely evening drinking wine and shooting the breeze, after which he kindly illuminated our yacht with his spotlight so that we could get home, because we couldn’t see anything in the dark.
Back on board, we put on some music and tucked into some welcome fresh meat and vegetables, followed by our first gin and tonics in months. The swell blew up a bit, but it was all on the nose and so just made the yacht buck a little, and didn’t disturb our sleep.
We decided to stay for another day so that we could explore Bowen itself. The town is small, pleasant and friendly, and adorned with striking murals on every spare wall. It seems that there is an annual mural festival, and new ones are continually being added, usually commemorating the history of the area.
We had a very pleasant time hunting them all down, along the way acquiring a great many bags of shopping, including torches and lamps and fishing gear and an eclectic selection of books from the local charity shop.
We also checked out the local pubs and ended up at the one that seemed to hold the most promise, the Grand View. Sure enough it didn’t take too many pints before we were chatting to some prawn fishermen, and the night degenerated into a pleasant blur.
There was no wind forecast for the following day, so we pottered gently around the boat, reading our new books, having a bath in the cockpit, and generally being nice to our hangovers.
The wind got up in the afternoon, so we’ll be moving on tomorrow.