Sunday, 23 October 2016

A week at Dunk Island as head winds blow by.

3-9 October 2016

Monday morning dawned clear and very calm however all forecasts agreed a 20+ knot south easterly change was on the way so it was time for us to move on southwards to Dunk Island where we could sit securely for as long as the adverse winds blew.

Passing by Stephens Island in the South Barnard Group
It was an easy sixteen mile motor down past the South Barnard Islands to the anchorage in Brammo Bay on the north western side of Dunk Island just off the resort. The bottom here is mud so we took care to make sure we put plenty of chain down to ensure our Sarca Excel anchor would stay firmly dug in when the wind arrived.

Approaching Dunk Island from the North.

Kent Island to Dunk Island - 16.2 Nautical Islands - 3 Hours 15 Minutes
Average Speed 5.0 Knots - Max Speed 6.4 Knots

Dunk Island is mountainous and heavily forested.

Our anchorage off the jetty in Brammo Bay at Dunk Island.
After securing the boat Rob suggested he should give Karen a break from the galley and would organise lunch.  Pleasantly surprised she kicked back in the cockpit with her latest book but rather than going below to prepare the meal as expected, Rob dropped the dinghy off the davits and called Karen to get in. Then it was straight to shore for lunch at the Sunset Bar and a very relaxed afternoon.

Rob enjoying an ice cold beer at the Sunset Bar at the Dunk Island jetty.
The airstrip on Dunk was originally built by the RAAF in 1941 during WW2 and is

While the wind continued to blow from the south east, we spent a week anchored at Dunk and mixed up our time between time on the beach, catching up with some projects on board including Rob getting a few blog episodes posted and exploring the fantastic National Parks walks through the rain forests.
We really enjoyed the excellent National Parks walks on Dunk Island

This one was nice but unfortunately we didn't see any of the Ulysses Butterflies the island is famous for.
Staghorns are plentiful throughout the rain forest.

Muggie Beach on Dunk Islands northern side.

Muggie Beach.
There are over 100 species of birds on Dunk Island, including rare and vulnerable seabirds. During the summer months, the island becomes a breeding site for terns and noddies. The lack of predators, along with a plentiful supply of food from the surrounding reef waters, make it an ideal nesting site. The island is also home to reptiles such as pythons, tree snakes, geckos and skinks.
Purtaboi Island  in Brammo Bay is closed to visitors from October through to April each year due to the crested terns nesting on the island.
Dunk Island turned on some magic sun sets during our stay.
On February 3 2011, the eye of Cyclone Yasi passed directly over Dunk Island as a Category 5 tropical cyclone. Dunk Island Resort guests and some staff had been flown to safety two days previously but 69 Dunk Island Resort staff who were on the island at the time were forced into lockdown, four to a room.

The Dunk Island resort was extensively damaged by Cyclone Yazi in 2011 (Internet Image)
Dunk Island's iconic resort pool buried under sand by Cyclone Yazi (Internet Image)
The cyclone virtually destroyed the resort which five years later is still closed. Much rebuilding has been done but at this stage only the Sunset Bar on the sand spit by the jetty and the National Parks camping areas are open and available to the public. Facilities in the camping area include a shower block which we made good use of. A water taxi brings tourists from nearby Mission Beach on the mainland.
The resort's pool thankfully survived and is back as beautiful ever.
It was very sad witnessing the state many of the resort buildings are still in but it was good to see that much has been achieved towards getting the place operational again. We had spent time at the resort back in the ‘80s in its heyday and both had very fond memories of the place. Cheap overseas flights has seen Australia’s holiday market change dramatically with demand for Great Barrier Reef Island holidays not what it used to be but we hope this is one resort that does get back on its feet. The island is so beautiful it deserves to have a quality resort on it again.

A number of accommodation blocks are still yet to be rebuilt.

It was great to see the amount of rebuilding that has been achieved on Dunk.
Charlie is a popular regular at the Sunset Bar who took a liking to Karen.

Rob spent the weekend multi-tasking editing up some video we've shot and watching the big motor race from Bathurst.
The jetty destroyed in Cyclone Yazi has been replaced.
The aptly named Sunset Bar is located on the sand spit at Dunk Island's north western tip.
Dunk is a popular camping stop for back packers coming over from Mission beach.

Having  to shelter from adverse winds for a while from time to time is just a fact of life when cruising the Queensland coast. Fortunately our weather forecasting normally provides enough warning for us to plan a suitable bolt hole to sit out weather.  Doing it somewhere like Dunk Island is a fantastic bonus.

Good night from Dunk Island.
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  1. Thanx for this I lived on Dunk Island in the early eighties and built a mudbrick house and a pottery workshop where I resided for years.These photos took me back to a simpler life simpler World.Thankyou and regardsHenry Holt

    1. Hi Henry we are pleased the blog took you back to happy times, we loved Dunk and is good to see that the island is coming back to life after the cyclone ...


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