Thursday 16 July 2015

Archeron Island

Magnetic Island to Archeron Island

The winds kept blowing through the night, turning more southerly which resulted in a shore dump to launch through by the time we were ready to get on the water.  You can't afford to be too precious about the bottom of your boat when you have to seal launch off coral beaches!

We had a few options today about where we were going to end up.  Option 1 was to paddle to Rattlesnake and Herald Island.  Option 2 was to paddle another 8 kms on to Archeron Island from Herald Island. Option 3 was to take a direct line to Archeron Island which would save a few kms on the overall journey, but would make it a longer day on the water.  We agreed that we would make the call on the north western side of Magnetic Island once we had a feel for what the conditions would be like with 20-25 knots of SErly wind and 2+Meters of easterly swell.

We took off into a solid headwind and beat our way through the clapotis around to Picnic Bay.  As we turned into the bay the sails went up and we started surfing our way up the inside of Magnetic Island. The swell dropped down as we started going over some shallow sea-grass banks, but we were still making good time with a strong tail wind.

We had a short break on the north western corner of Magnetic Island and made the call to use the breeze whilst it was still southerly to make our way directly to Archeron Island.  We were protected from the easterly swell, but we knew as soon as we got outside the lee of the island that it would become a factor in the crossing.

We were enjoying surfing the waves, sitting on over 10 kms/hr as we made our way north away from Magnetic Island.  It wasn't long before our one meter of wind swell started mixing with a couple of meters of swell from the east.  We surfed to our right hand quarter and kept a bearing out to the right hand side of Archeron Island until we felt we could take a less conservative bearing a make our way up the inside of the island.

The waves seem to build as they approach these islands, but the closer you get, the more the swell settles across the reef platform.  From 2+meters of swell, it turned into a meter or so of surfable waves as we came close to the island.

Our target was a coral bank on the north side of the island.  We didn't know what to expect as Google Earth doesn't show you what happens when you have a large swell wrapping around both sides of the island on an outgoing tide or what happens if the picture was taken pre-cyclones coming through and changing the landscape.  We had a small wave and a steep coral bank to lift our heavy kayaks up above the high water mark.

The good news about these islands (Archeron, Herald and Rattlesnake Island) is that they are used as a bombing range by the RAAF.  We had checked the mariners notice before we left Townsville to check for when the islands would next be used as target practice which happened to be later in the week so we knew we had to move on from these islands no matter what the weather was doing.

We kept to the coral bank and rocks surrounding the island.

Hammock worked out great for uneven rocky ground

Havannah Island can be seen in the top left of this photo, our next destination.

The eastern side of the island forms a natural headland and has another coral beach hidden behind the rocks, but not much flat ground above the high water mark.  This area looks good for a snorkel but watch for the Tiger Sharks or so I am told.

Phone Reception: Yes
Fresh Water Available: No
Best Campsite:  Northern coral bank
Toilet: No
Table: No
Green Ants: Yes
Sand Fly's: No
Mosquitoes: No
Reef: Yes

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