Rick and Ann Brown's Travel Adventures travel blog

This is the story of Rick and Ann's weekend adventure on a houseboat, cruising around an island called Hinchinbrook. Hinchinbrook Island is about an hour and a half north of Townsville. It is a bunch of very steep rocky islands with dense vegetation and a lot of small islands with inlets, coves and waterways all around it. We hired (that's Aussie for rented) a small houseboat with another couple and went up to cruise the waterways for the weekend. This is where our adventure begins.

We arrived at the dock and took our first look at the little houseboat.

This should be very interesting with the four of us and one small double bunk plus two bunk beds, all in the same room with the kitchen and little bath. We were friends, now we will find out just how good of friends were are, we are going to be really close for the next four days. So we pile all our stuff on board and needless to say we brought way too much food and gear but we stowed away. The boat owner (Brian) gave us a short boating lesson and took us away from the dock to the open channel. He jumped in his little "tinny" (Aussie for dingy) and left us there. Wow, we were on our own, what now! Rick, we decided was the captain, since he had taken a boating course, and Rich (our friend) was the navigator and would read the charts.... Off we went. An absolutely beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and calm water. We started off on a route we hoped would take us to a great fishing spot. So we cruised around the islands into little inlets and coves and small channels. The Area was so beautiful and unspoiled we felt like we were on another planet. After we got away from the main channel we did not see any other boats and it was as if we were alone in this hidden enchanted land. We cruised on, avoiding the sand bars and watching for channel markers, as the tide was high we didn't have to worry too much, we just enjoyed to view. The top of the boat had a deck on it, and we all sat up there and watched the little islands go by with all the lush vegetation and wondrous birds. Rick stuck his head out the top of the boat and sat on the roof, while guiding the boat with his feet, he thought this was the way to travel.. We finally found what we thought was the perfect spot along a deserted inlet and we anchored the boat. Looking down the beach from us we spotted a big old croc lazing in the afternoon sun, about 12 feet long, and we where as close as I wanted to be. He soon slipped into the water and we wondered if he was coming out to visit us, but we did not see him again that day. The guys took the crab traps and went off to set them so we could have fresh crab for dinner. We called them the boat boys and we gals became the galley wenches, so the galley wenches prepared the meager area for a nights sleep and got the galley in order, ready for fresh crabs. Amazing as it may seem, the boat boys came back with two really nice crabs and we all cheered as they arrived, the great hunters had returned as promised with dinner. We had brought "prawns" (Aussie for shrimp) and we boiled up the big pot, threw the crabs and prawns in, wow what a dinner. We were feeling good... Dusk descends on us, and we find ourselves besieged by "sand fly" (Aussie for NoSeeUms), we quickly go below into the bunk area, light "Mozzie" (Aussie for Mosquito) coils and candles. It is warm, we must leave the windows open, and we have a nice breeze and soon all is well but we can not turn on any lights so there is nothing to do but stay by the coils and climb into out bunks. We lie there, and tell jokes, laugh and tell stories. Rick has a great time telling some of his best jokes but we soon decide to go to sleep as we have had a very long day. About 2 AM I wake up and go potty(American term for peepee) I step out onto the rear deck of the boat and I am in awe. The moon is full the wind has gone away; the water does not even have a ripple in it. Leaves floating on the water glisten in the moon light and there is a slight haze hanging over the water. I can't take my eyes off of this incredible scene; I do not think I have ever felt so awed by a single moment. Later Rick told me he also got up and found the same scene and felt the same way. Along about daybreak the Mozzes and sand flies decide to come back and visit us so we got up and got under way quickly. As we are flying down the channel at a whopping 4 knots ( that's as fast as the boat will go) we realize something is wrong with one of the engines. Rick and Rich work on it and get it to run but it does not work properly and we can only go very slowly. The tide is going out so we have to be very careful of the sand bars. We radio our home base and tell them we are limping in with motor trouble and will be in around 4 if we do not break down. Brian promises to meet us in the channel and take us in to the dock. Finally after much work on the motor and fussing around we make it to the main channel. The tide is going out, the wind has picked up and it is very choppy. The little houseboat chugs along with Rick trying to keep it going to make it into the dock. We are rocking and rolling with the wind and tide. We come within site of the dock and our old buddy is coming out to meet us in his little "tinny" through the waves, he arrives to take us to the dock. Remember the tide is now very low. Can we make it over the sand bars to the dock? Well, not exactly. We get stuck but "Brian" the owner manages to get us off the first sand bar, then the next one, we really get stuck. We all get as far forward in the boat as possible and Brian and Rick jump out and push, yes I said push. They did get us off the bar and we went on in to port. What an adventure, now it is dusk again and the mozzies and sand flies descend on us again. We run for the nearest hotel...... wimps (that's another American term for wimps) that we are. We stayed the night in a hotel with air conditioning and screens on the windows. Bright and early the next morning we go back out on another boat and start our third day, with the dolphins swimming around our boat and the fresh morning air blowing in our hair, we tell Brian that we will be back at 5 to hold the hotel room for us, we are wimps and proud of it. We had a lot of fun, we have the mozzies bites to prove it and we learned some valuable lessons. When the sun goes down around the Mangrove trees, you need to be someplace else, preferably a hotel room. We still have our friends, even after our adventure in close quarters together. And the best thing is we saw a croc and he didn't eat us.

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