Bowen and beyond

Up early this morning we left Tongue Bay on Whitsunday Island and headed
north. We made great time and got to the quaint town of Bowen around
1:30. The radio was silent for the longest time as we tried to find out
what to do once we got here. Luckily another cruiser came to the rescue,
having just left a mooring. She told us where to go. Just not how to tie
up. The operative question.

We had quite a time getting situated, and had a hearty laugh about it
half way through. Most moorings are just one ball at the front. This one
is front and back, on the side sort of. Honu is tall so it’s hard to
reach over and grab the mooring ball, which in this case is a plastic 55
gallon drum. I got it with the boat hook, but had a lot of trouble
getting the line through it. Eventually we previailed and got the boat
tied up. We took the dinghy in showered and then walked right onto a
movie set. Baz Lurhman(sp?) is here shooting a movie with Hugh Jackman
and Nicole Kidman. One end of town is all blocked off, with dirt
covering the streets and 19th Batallion signs and sanbags all around. It
appears to be a WWI movie. No sign of the stars, or even their trailers.
I think the title of the movie is The Lady and the Kilkirin, whatever
that is. I don’t have internet here, or I’d look it up. IMDB.com usually
shows works in progress.

We got a few more groceries, took them back to the boat and had dinner
at the yacht club. It was fine, nothing great. Most items were pretty
expensive, but the special was calimari with chips(fries) and salad. It
was just the right size portion, nothing too big.

Back at the boat we’ve been planning on how we’re going to get to
Cairns. The next two days are about 40 miles each with an anchorage at
night. First is Upstart Bay, then Bowling Green Bay. Townsville is next
after that. From Townsville we’ll go to Orpheus Island, Dunk Island,
Moresby Inlet, Fitzroy Island and then Cairns. That schedule means no
dreaded night passages. However, if we get behind for any reason we can
go far doing two full days and one night.

The bay outside Bowen is a dugong sanctuary. We didn’t see any coming
in, maybe going out tomorrow. My fingers are crossed.

No luck sending this via the sat phone. So, I’ll add to it. We left Bowen
this morning in some big wind and rain. Everything is settled down and
we’re flying along around 6 knots under jib only. The watermaker is going
and I’ve got Sting on the stereo. Susan is up keeping watching on an oil
rig jetty that comes WAY out from the mainland. Our course takes us around
it anyway. It’s still raining on and off. We should be in Upstart Bay by
4:00 or so.

So, our best plans have been waylaid. We’re safe and doing fine, just not
that comfortable. We’re pressing on to Townsville, as we’re still having
some engine/charging problems. The remaining alternator’s belt started
screaming as we started up the engine and we smelled something
hot/electrical. Not good. Then the engine overheated. We shut it down right
away and changed course away from our anchorage at Upstart Bay. Finally, we¬†decided to just go for Townsville where we’ll have a chance to get stuff
fixed. We’ve spoken to the wonderful volunteers on the radio who assure us
it isn’t a problem getting there in the dark. I took the belt off of both
alternators and we added water to the engine, which seems happier now,
although we didn’t run it very long. We did run it longer than it took to
overheat before.

OK this is getting really long, so I’ll stop. I hope it goes out this
time.