Friday, 29 July 2016

Our stay at Middle Percy Island

"The rolling is abominable" warned our guidebook … 'Cruising the Coral Coast'. Having experienced a great deal of rolling in our day, it was not the discomfort of rolling which worried us, it was having to launch the dinghy and more particularly attach the motor to the dinghy. The motor's stored in the bow compartment at the front of Traversay III and getting it out safely in the midst of heavy movement has proved to be horribly treacherous in the past. We thought back to the time in South Georgia when the only way to view the thousands upon thousands of King Penguins at St Andrews Bay was by launching the dinghy and motoring over to get a close-up view.

However, we had a reason for our visit. During our two previous visits, we'd stopped here and a sign of our presence had been left in the form of a plywood sheet with the boat name and port of registry. We wanted to see if the old sign (with the letters excised with a dremel) would still be present in company with the thousands of other signs left by fellow 'cruisers' from all parts of the globe. We'd already spent considerable time with our few and scarce resources in making a new and better sign out of cherry wood, permanent markers and coats of varnish. The weather showed no inclination to improve for several days, so we cast aside discretion and decided to ford the shore break and head to the hut amusingly named the 'Percy Hilton'.

While waiting for lulls in the extreme rolling so we could launch our shore boat and looking over at the three catamarans anchored nearby, I noticed with envy that our neighbours were blessed with a far gentler and kindlier motion. This is the reason they are the favoured breed here inside the Barrier Reef. We called ashore to make sure we would still be welcome to go ashore (our last visit was 6 years ago) and the hostess Kate (whom we never met) assured us that all was still as we remembered – that Percy Island honey and now mango chutney were still being sold on the honour system and that in her view we should wait until high tide when the incoming tide would level out the shore break. Of course, being of the rigorous set who eschews relaxation and comfort (our neighbours meanwhile were suntanning or perhaps even having naps aboard) we set out immediately and only got minimally wet both going in and out when we got to shore.

Despite our embarkation (and later the debarkation) trials we had a lovely time ashore. The old sign was still there, but very pale in the face of having been washed by a lot of rain over the last six years. The new sign went up where it would surely be noticed – next to a clock which announces 'Time for a Drink' … the hands are set to 5 o'clock and all the numerals ranged around the face are 5's! We spent time reading as many signs as could be seen in the space of an hour (you could spend days at this!) and bought both chutney and honey, leaving our money in a large box marked with the words conveying the idea "Help feed us and we'll help feed you!"

At 7/30/2016 00:25 (utc) our position was 21°43.86'S 150°21.02'E

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