A calm anchorage like Newry’s is to be savoured. However it’s onward we sail. The forecast of 5 – 15 knots from the south east held on the 20+nm sail to Brampton Island. Brampton is directly east of Newry. Leaving mid-tide we allowed for the ‘ebb’ to firstly carry us north before the ‘flood kicked in to carry us back onto track. With wind and tide sorted all that was left for us to do was set the sails, get Ray going and sit back and enjoy the ride, which we did. The trip took about 6 hours.
After a rest we took the tender over to the resort. What a sobering experience. It’s been closed since January 2011. I think it was originally closed when a cyclone damaged the jetty and the light rail line that would take the holiday-makers from the boat to the resort. From the sea it is the vision of a perfect tropical island, golden sands, coconut palms, swimming pool on the edge of the sea, fringing coral reef and accommodation units tucked in amongst the tropical gardens. However close up, the pool, while undamaged is full of green water, the gardens are untended and overgrown, and coconuts and palms fronds litter the pathways. The accommodation units still contain their beds and washing machines and even electric clocks, the restaurant is full of chairs and tables, lounge chairs still in their original wrapping, apparently never been used, and just off the beach at the watersports hut are the surf cats and jet skis. All sadly abandoned!
Apparently United Petroleum owns the lease to the resort. They have been talking about redeveloping it for some time with rumoured construction and completion dates wafting past. The latest, published in the newspaper in July this year, is that approval has now been granted for a 7-star “boutique eco-resort featuring luxurious villas, a health spa, yoga platform, cinema, library and a three-hole golf course”, which will cater for … wait for it … a maximum 30 guests. I really felt this resort deserved to be reopened as it is arguably the most idyllic of the tropical north Queensland islands, but to make it so exclusive that few will experience its beauty is a travesty. Fortunately the majority of the island is National Park, but how access to the park will be facilitated is doubtful.
Back to Top Shelf for sundowners and a toast to the Brampton that was. The mournful cry of the curlews and an owl accompanied the somber mood.
A gentle swell and no wind to speak of will give us a restful night.
For photos of the very sad Brampton Island resort, CLICK HERE.