On the morning following our first overnight anchorage we woke up to sunshine and birds whistling in the forest of the nearby island. After breakfast we took the dinghy to the beach where we found a landing place with reasonably firm sand instead of grey, gloopy mud. The shore was alive with soldier crabs. If you approach them they all scurry away and eventually burrow into the sand and hide.
The next day we saw our first dolphins. They were feeding and leisurely making their way past the boat. Later I made friends with a kookaburra who came to check out our solar panels. When you hear them it is usually in a group and it sounds like they are having a big laugh at something. It is an awesome noise.
Although the weather was great I didn’t swim. The water was brown and murky and there are bull sharks in these parts. Bull sharks are special because of their ability to move between salt water and fresh water. It seems they are also responsible for most shallow water attacks, especially in rivers, and they use the murky water to their advantage since their prey does not see them coming. (Vernon swam.)
On our hike through the bush we came across a huge goanna lizard. Vernon surprised it so it fled up a tree and stayed there until we left.
After a few days we decided it was time to head for Brisbane. We got everything stowed away and said good-bye to the tranquil anchorage. Alas, the engine would not start. The crank battery had run low and we were stuck. This was bad news since we had just had an electrician on board to check all the wiring and specifically make sure the crank battery was isolated so that a situation like this would never occur. Being able to start up you engine at any given moment is a vital safety feature when you are out at sea. Dave assured us our current separator switches would make sure nothing would be sapping energy from the starter battery. Evidently he was wrong. Luckily there was a service station on Russel Island that sold batteries. The friendly shopkeeper checked our old one and confirmed it was done for. Nothing left to do but buy a replacement. With a shopping trolley from the local supermarket we hauled our two batteries back to the dingy and ended our excursion on a more positive note with a good lunch at Aunt Alice’s café. If you should ever go there I highly recommend the veggie burger.
THE THING ABOUT SUNSCREEN
Similar to the fluoride-in-toothpaste debate sunscreen has become a somewhat controversial issue. After reading up on it I am not sure what is better, to wear sunscreen or not. In Australia that is a particularly tough decision to make. Four of the five sunscreens we have aboard contain two or more ingredients that apparently are bad for you. And since they are absorbed by your skin and sort of accumulate in your system showering does help at all. I realize that. Like washing wax-coated apples, the water does not get rid of the yucky stuff. It is just a psychological trick to make me feel better. My sister, by the way, swears by cold-pressed coconut oil as a natural sunscreen. That and raspberry seed oil.