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Old 13-09-2019, 14:01   #1
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Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

Hi all,

Looking for any tips regarding good anchorages in the area between Townsville and Cairns, especially on the reef. Alan Lucas etc served me well on the NSW coast, and in the Whitsundays the '100 magical miles' were superb, but since Townsville I find information is getting increasingly thin.

My boat is drawing 1.7m, so I like to anchor in at least 3m.
Haven't been cruising further north than the Palm islands (in Australia) yet.

Appreciate any tips!
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Old 13-09-2019, 16:16   #2
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

There are public moorings on some of the reefs - check out the marine Park brochure.

Wheeler, Keeper, Lodestone and John Brewer.
Orpheus has some moorings too, and anchoring works fine.
Hinchinbrook channel is lovely to do, but check the depths and tides at Lucinda!
Zoe Bay is delightful, with a walk (climb) up to the pools and waterfall.
Scraggy Point is good anchoring and makes for easy access into Cardwell. If provisioning, anchor off the boat ramp north of town and bypass the jetty to get closer to the IGA.
Brook (North Island) has a mooring and anchoring is easy too.
Dunk Island has 2 moorings but lots of anchoring space too. Good access to the beach and I think free hot shower!
Kent Island is a possibility, but not in any great swell.
Your draught will be challenging getting into Innisfail, which is a pity. Tide is critically important. Very nice town that celebrates it art deco heritage.
More moorings at Russell and Normandy Islands.
Fitzroy Island has moorings and anchor areas.
And then you are at Cairns!

Tim
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Old 13-09-2019, 18:25   #3
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

I'd like to second Karanga's mention of Zoe Bay. It's only good for NE winds, but I really enjoyed the walk to the freshwater pool and waterfall. It is on my all time special places list.

Ann
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Old 13-09-2019, 19:04   #4
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

On the reef, the north side of Beaver Reef is nice and the diving/snorkeling pretty good. Takes the right weather, but with a light to moderate southerly it's a nice sail over and pretty comfortable except possibly at the top of the tide.
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Old 14-09-2019, 05:59   #5
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karanga View Post
There are public moorings on some of the reefs - check out the marine Park brochure.

Wheeler, Keeper, Lodestone and John Brewer.
Orpheus has some moorings too, and anchoring works fine.
Hinchinbrook channel is lovely to do, but check the depths and tides at Lucinda!
Zoe Bay is delightful, with a walk (climb) up to the pools and waterfall.
Scraggy Point is good anchoring and makes for easy access into Cardwell. If provisioning, anchor off the boat ramp north of town and bypass the jetty to get closer to the IGA.
Brook (North Island) has a mooring and anchoring is easy too.
Dunk Island has 2 moorings but lots of anchoring space too. Good access to the beach and I think free hot shower!
Kent Island is a possibility, but not in any great swell.
Your draught will be challenging getting into Innisfail, which is a pity. Tide is critically important. Very nice town that celebrates it art deco heritage.
More moorings at Russell and Normandy Islands.
Fitzroy Island has moorings and anchor areas.
And then you are at Cairns!

Tim
Gees, reading this makes me mis sailing up the east coast, I remember the excitement I had the first time I sailed up there. Enjoy.
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Old 14-09-2019, 11:10   #6
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

Alan Lucas's "Cruising the Coral Coast" takes up where his NSW book leaves off and covers from the NSW border to Cape York. North of Cairns I have also found "The Anchorage Guide: Cairns to Darwin" very useful.
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Old 14-09-2019, 23:15   #7
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

Thanks guys!
Looking forward to get on the boat on Tuesday ...
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Old 14-09-2019, 23:35   #8
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

You don't need 3.0m.

What you need for water depth to anchor is the expected tidal range plus say 0.3m under your keel.

This has become very easy with Multi Function Displays or phones, tablets, or computers running say OpenCPN where you can pull up a graph of tide heights.

Coming into the anchorage you pull up the graph for the nearest tide station to extract the existing state of tide height and the minimum above datum for the expected anchoring period and deduct it from the existing height. Add your safety 0.3m and wander about until you find this depth of water under your keel to anchor in.
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Old 14-09-2019, 23:57   #9
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

There is (as mentioned before) a nice option to enter the harbour at Innisfail. You have to cross a bar (flying fish point?) to get in there, but it is a nice and calm anchorage inside the harbour and plenty of options to buy groceries. I did it with a 30-footer and 1,5m draft without problems. Tide is critical.
Look into Loucas.
Next Option is Fitzroy Island. There used to be some public moorings.


-Richard (Cairns)
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Old 16-09-2019, 03:46   #10
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

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You don't need 3.0m.

What you need for water depth to anchor is the expected tidal range plus say 0.3m under your keel.

This has become very easy with Multi Function Displays or phones, tablets, or computers running say OpenCPN where you can pull up a graph of tide heights.

Coming into the anchorage you pull up the graph for the nearest tide station to extract the existing state of tide height and the minimum above datum for the expected anchoring period and deduct it from the existing height. Add your safety 0.3m and wander about until you find this depth of water under your keel to anchor in.
If the boat would stay put, and if the sea was nice and flat, you would be right. Alas, the boat swings, and bobs up and down, and despite best efforts at times drags a bit too. If I have less than 3m, in most areas I would hit something already within swinging radius, or if the swell builds up - and I would have little safety margins. I also found depth charts rather unreliable in depths < 3m. Hence I have become weary of anchoring in less than 3m over night, and definitely not when leaving the boat. Different if I know the anchoring ground very well, or if the sea is clear enough to survey the ground within swinging radius x 2.
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Old 16-09-2019, 13:41   #11
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

This is where a fish finder rather than just a depth sounder comes in handy. With a fish finder you can circle around a bit and check the bottom profile for rough spots whilst choosing your anchorage. Whereas the depth sounder just shows you a number.

If you are concerned that you may bounce on the bottom with only 0.3m safety margin then make it 0.5m, I can confidently assert from experience that if the boat is going up and down even 0.5m you will go looking for a better anchorage or out to heave to somewhere.
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Old 22-09-2019, 13:40   #12
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

To my way of thinking, .3m is not an adequate safety factor. It is that at tidal changes, or in wind against the tide, or when winds drop out or come back in from the other direction, .3 puts me too close to shore to be able to react quickly enough. .3m is about 1 ft. I prefer about 3-5 ft under the keel, so we anchor further out, further from the mozzies and sandflies, too. Let them munch on the folks close inshore.

In my case, I think my California background has something to do with it as well, the first 10 years or so of our cruising, we mainly anchored in 15-40 ft., mostly due to rocky bits to avoid. So the idea of anchoring close in is something we've pushed ourselves to do since NZ and Australia.

Ann
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Old 22-09-2019, 20:02   #13
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Re: Good anchorages North of Townsville (Australia)

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To my way of thinking, .3m is not an adequate safety factor. It is that at tidal changes, or in wind against the tide, or when winds drop out or come back in from the other direction, .3 puts me too close to shore to be able to react quickly enough. .3m is about 1 ft. I prefer about 3-5 ft under the keel, so we anchor further out, further from the mozzies and sandflies, too. Let them munch on the folks close inshore.

In my case, I think my California background has something to do with it as well, the first 10 years or so of our cruising, we mainly anchored in 15-40 ft., mostly due to rocky bits to avoid. So the idea of anchoring close in is something we've pushed ourselves to do since NZ and Australia.

Ann
Like a lot of stuff in cruising good anchoring practices require a lot of experience acquired judgement.

I tend to use 0.3 as a bit of a rule of thumb because I do a lot of overnight anchoring and many of the anchorages are in fairly deep, shallow bays like say Bowling Green Bay where 0.5m shoaling can take a mile or so.

One should also be mindful of bottom conditions. For example the Duck Pond at Townsville has become very shoal due to silting. However since the bottom is fairly sludgy and it is a crowded anchorage I often end up anchoring where according to my calculations the low tide depths would only provide 0.0 margin but because the bottom is extremely soft I consider it acceptable to do so. However, where with a rough hard bottom where there is the possibility of rock or reef I would not accept 1.5m clearance at low tide prudent.

There are also numerous anchorages where swinging room is very restricted such as Hexham Island where one or two boats poorly placed can restrict what could be four or five anchorages into a one or two boat anchorage.

There are also numerous anchorages where one needs to tuck in close to minimize rolling and it is extremely annoying to come around Cape Capricorn and find a single multihull which draws say 0.6m anchored behind the cape in a manner which prevents one from doing so with a 1.6m draft.

Assess the circumstances for each anchorage and anchor accordingly.
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