Our time in Lady Musgrave’s beautiful lagoon was winding down. You could tell by the offerings on the nightly menu. Like Marce always says, “We’ll never starve on Escape Velocity but it can get a little weird.” It was weird. It’s time to reprovision.
We’d heard that a country town called 1770 was charming with a good supermarket in the next town up the road called Agnes Water. It seems that Captain James Cook came ashore in May 1770. I’ve never read any kind of quote about what he said but I bet it went something like “Damn, it’s shallow in here!”
Bucking head winds and the now familiar mixed up, washing machine waves all the way across the 35 miles of Coral Sea, we came into what looks like a straight forward entrance but the charts say “Warning-caution shifting bar, obtain local information.” In Australia that means ringing up the Volunteer Marine Rescue Service and asking them for the latest condition of the bar crossing. Well, just go to the green marker and turn 90 degrees toward the red marker and Bob’s your uncle. This is nothing like the chart but, you know, when in Rome.
We found the green marker hiding impossibly close to the overhanging cliffs at Round Hill Head. The problem was that we were traversing over a very shallow bank to get there. Things began to line up once we rounded the green marker. But, like Cook probably said, damn, it’s shallow in here. As soon as we found a couple of boats at anchor we dropped ours. A guy on the cat next to us yelled over, “You don’t want to be there, it’s a sand bank!” We felt exposed to weather here anyway so we decided to wend our way upstream past the usual collection of rusting flea market boats that haven’t moved in a long time, and see what we could see.
Still shallow but with a more peaceful location we thought about anchoring but it was tight and with the swirling currents at change of tide who knew where we’d end up. That’s when I spied a good sized yellow mooring buoy with heavy duty stainless hardware. That’s for us. It was dusk by the time we were ship shape and settled. I always feel weird borrowing someone else’s mooring but when a 3knt current started ripping through the anchorage I quickly made peace with it, and slept the peaceful sleep of the righteous, tied to someone else’s mooring.
The next morning we found our way across the shallows to a public dock just right for dinghies and soon we were wobbling our way up a steep hill towards Capt. Cook’s plaque up on Lookout Hill on boatbound legs. We summited, took the photo, and marveled at Cooks navigational skills exploring all of this thin water with out motors, GPS or chart plotters.
After lunch we made the long walk into Agnes Water to resupply and found a quaint little town with a decent super market, but the folder bicycles are going to have to come out. It’s quite a hike for wobbly legs.