With a 25 knot breeze from behind us, I set the jib, and the mainsail stayed in the bag. As the day progressed, the wind backed off a little and I swapped the jib for the big Gennaker, then we just cruised comfortably past Palm Island itself and around into the bay at Fantome Island.
(Palm Island, which had a couple of years ago been encouraging and welcoming cruising boats, was now asking them to stay away because the island was suffering extreme drought and running out of water. Aboriginal settlements still get a raw deal.)
The site of an old leper colony, Fantome still has the wreckage of the settlement, which hasn't ever been cleaned up properly and is strewn with asbestos and rubbish from the buildings. It's a beautiful little island, but a disgrace that the Queensland Government hasn't dealt with removing the mess properly.
It's a very unique little spot, and we'd enjoyed it when Mary and I had come through in "Endurance" the previous year. (It was the site of my marathon swim sprint to retrieve our dinghy that had worked itself loose.) Needless to say, I kept a close eye on the dinghy this time.
I found a perfectly intact goat skull, nicely bleached, and decided it would make a great boat mascot. Fantome also has lots of giant clam shells lying around and absolutely massive piles of bleached coral. But of course, it's probably illegal to take any of that.
There's a few moorings at Orpheus, and by Sundown there was a fleet of four or five cruisers....all catamarans.... settling in for the night. By now, the gale-force wind and rain had completely dissipated, and we were enjoying classic North Queensland conditions.