Saturday 10 December 2016

Beach Bumming on Brampton Island

14-15 November 2016

After an extended period of friendly northerly winds a change to south easters was finally approaching necessitating a move from our home for the last two nights on the southern side of Goldsmith  Island. We left reasonably early to take advantage of the last of the following breezes and had a very relaxed ten mile sail across to one of our favourite anchorages near the currently closed resort on Brampton Island. We have sheltered from strong southerly systems here a number of times and have always felt very secure. We also enjoy the island’s glorious beaches and national park walks.
We sailed across from Goldsmith Island to Brampton Island ahead of a south easterly change.

A pod of dolphins welcomed us as we dropped anchor near the remnants of the old resort jetty. Within minutes we were also visited by a large turtle that seemed curious enough to come quite close to the boat. We have often seen dugong here as well.

Goldsmith Island to Brampton Island – 9.7 Nautical Miles – 2 Hours 27 Minutes
Average Speed 4.0 Knots – Max Speed 6.4 Knots.
The Brampton Island anchorage has always worked well for us when the south easterlies blow.

After lunch we took the dinghy around the Pelican Island, the small islet laying off the old resort, and went into the beach for John, our guest crew member, to have a look at what we described as an Eerie ghost town in Paradise’ when we first anchored here and saw the state of what was once a vibrant tropical resort. The resort itself is off limits from the high water mark with many signs everywhere prohibiting entry. 
Karen and John wadding ashore after we anchored the dinghy well out from the beach at Brampton's resort.

Carlisle Passage virtually dries at low tide.

You can walk from Brampton to Carlisle Island when the water recedes.

John checking out the pool and main resort building.

A few caretakers rotate time on the island to keep an eye on things and are happy to have respectful cruisers visit as long as they observe the limits. One of these guys, Steve, often brings his catamaran over from Mackay and beaches it by the pool. He has even set up some beach lounges and umbrellas for cruisers to use and will happily chat for hours. When we arrived there was no sign of anyone but we still limited ourselves to wandering the beaches and extensive sand banks that appear as the tide drops.  Carlisle Passage between Brampton and Carlisle Islands is very much miss named as it is far from anything like a passage for anything but extremely shallow draught boats on anything other than a very high tide. It virtually dries on the low.

With a much publicised full ‘Supermoon’ scheduled to appear soon after sunset, we underestimated just how extremely low  this day’s tide would be. Despite anchoring our dinghy far out from the beach it was left very high and dry. Even with wheels fitted we really didn’t feel like hauling it a quarter of a mile over the sand so our stay on the beach was extended quite a while until the water returned.
Our dinghy ended up well and truly beached due to the 0.0m low tide
Karen amused herself wandering the sand banks and writing in the sand while we waited for the tide to come in.

Carlisle Island reflected in a tidal pool
That's a little too far to drag the dinghy.

It was late in the afternoon by the time we were able to head back to the boat.
Our Dreamtime at Brampton Island awaiting our return for sundowners.

Sundowners that evening was amongst the most spectacular we have ever experienced on Our Dreamtime as the setting sun appeared determined to put on a show to out shine the much vaunted supermoon.  In our opinion it was no contest with old Sol winning by a knockout in the first round. We celebrated another great day in paradise with a fantastic rib roast cooked on the BBQ and some very fine wine.  John was REALLY enjoying the cruising life by now,
The sun's spectacular light show lasted hours in it's various forms and easily beat the so called 'Super Moon' for appeal

The super moon's eventual appearance over Carlisle Island was anti-climatic after our brilliant sunset.
Great food, fine wine and fantastic company are all ingredients for a brilliant night afloat.
The south easterly blow appeared overnight but we were quite comfortable apart from a brief, rolly period on the change of tide. After breakfast we dropped John to the shore so he could make the fantastic trek to the summit of the island. While he was off experiencing the national park walk, we returned to the beach for a swim and some strenuous time with our books on the sun lounges. The higher water completely transformed our views from the previous day with the old beach pool being inundated by the king tide. While we lazing around one of the island’s caretakers arrived in his own light aircraft and came down to beach for a chat. His certainly must be one of the all time great part time jobs in retirement. 
Karen cools off on at the resort beach in the very high tide.

Yes, Brampton Island provides a pretty good image of a tropical paradise.

Not much beach left with the king tide reaching its peak.

We had a strenuous day on the beach while John did the national park walk to the island's summit.

The king tide provided a much needed change of water for the old resort beach pool.

John eventually appeared around the point well ready for a cooling swim after his climb to the top of the island. The views of the Cumberland Islands from the lookouts are truly remarkable and well worth the effort. The national park walks are reasonably well maintained and provide great outlooks over all sides of the island as you wind your way to the peak.
One of John's photos from Brampton Island's summit.

This was our fourth stop at Brampton on Our Dreamtime and we enjoyed it just as much as all the previous visits. We had planned to stay an extra day but we had a crew change scheduled for Friday in Mackay with John leaving us and our eight year old grandson, Kristian, flying in from Canberra  for the trip the rest of the way down the coast with us to Brisbane. The forecast showed Wednesday would be a less crappy day than Thursday for the beat southward so we would be upping anchor in the early hours and heading for the Mackay Marina for a couple of days.

Below is the evolution of a sunset. Goodnight from Brampton Island.

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  1. Very nice blog!! I really love it specially images in this post are amazing. Thanks for sharing. sailing brisbane

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words. Brampton Island is one of our favourite spots on the reef and provides such a range of photographic opportunities every time we visit. It's very special. Cheers!

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