Night lights on Pioneer Bay
Sailing up Pioneer Bay on Sunday night in the failing breeze, the sea looked like oil glistening with the reflection of shore lights. A thin crescent moon struggled to peer through the thin clouds as a light cool breeze wafted from the shore bringing the smell of land in the close, mist-like atmosphere.
That lit-up pile of a house on Mandalay Point first appeared as a giant birthday cake with candles glowing, then changed to a vision of a cruise ship on a slow voyage across the languid water. Later it morphed once again into a riverboat on a gaudy cruise, me imagining the piano playing for a crowd of poker players and consorts complete with clinking glasses and laughter across the water.
Keeping lookout across the shimmering sea, a memory of years gone by when Romeo's Italian Restaurant had red and green lights displayed on the seaward side of his waterfront establishment. Romeo said it was the Italian colours; the uninitiated thought it was the navigation lights of an approaching vessel.
A thought crossed my mind of another Airlie Beach castaway; Irish James had a distrust of things mechanical or electrical. James' yacht was old, timber and unequipped with fancy stuff such as engine or lights.
When it was explained to James that others in charge of their craft would not know his direction due to his lack of lights, notwithstanding his slow pace, candle and joint burning in the cockpit.
James obliged by buying an electric torch and two plastic buckets; one red, one green. If you yelled out to him he would show a light by putting the torch in one bucket or the other, or just shine the torch around. If he be upwind, ye would smell the burning grass.
Nearing Abel Point Marina I spied through the mist a large timber ex-trawler looming massively, a mountain of a boat resembling a dark iceberg softly silhouetted by the lights of Airlie, but showing no light onboard to mark her anchorage.
So take care on the water at night, it is that time of the year when sailors arrive in Airlie Beach for the first time. Aided by a page torn from a library atlas and a Queensland road map of considerable age they have made it to the yachties destination of the north. Nothing left to do than throw the old builder's brick and dog chain over the side to anchor and go ashore to seek the fun of Airlie.
Laura Dekker sailed from the Netherlands last summer aged just 14 to enjoy a cruise around the world on her 38-foot Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch Guppy.
She is now at anchor in Academy Bay on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos after successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean and entering the Pacific Ocean through the Panama Canal.
Laura is enjoying the sights and charging her batteries in preparation for the long Pacific crossing to Australia.
Out on the weekend sailing a new Seawind 1250 catamaran, I noticed issues with the navigation marks on South Whitehaven Beach, Lagoon Rock destroyed, Daydream Island lead lights wonky and Pioneer Rocks light is extremely restricted.
Seaforth Creek - Mariners are advised that the lighted Port Lateral Mark No.8 beacon Fl.R.3s in Seaforth Creek has been destroyed and is temporarily unlit. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity as remnants of the beacon remain. AUS chart 251
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan is a regular commentator on ABC Radio Tropical North