Day 7: Russell Is to Horseshoe Bay

coffee Russell Is

Morning coffee – idyllic

The night was just as pleasant as anticipated. Woke to a totally calm anchorage and enjoyed breakfast and coffee in the cockpit.
The forecast over the next few days is getting gradually worse (sad smiley). Today the winds will be pretty good until after lunch when they’ll start getting stronger and come from the north. Tomorrow and Wednesday they’ll be much stronger northerlies and Wednesday night they turn to strong to gale force from the south east. We’re now wanting to head north to finish our trip – so don’t want northerlies!

Anyway tomorrow is another day and today we motored around Karragarra and Macleay Islands before sailing back to Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island. The channels around these southern bay islands are very narrow and relatively shallow. You couldn’t sail them unless you had a gentle wind from directly behind and the motor running. Macleay Island, like Russell is fairly extensively inhabited – lots of large expensive homes overlooking the Bay – just above the midgie, oh I mean mangrove line! Nup, not for me.
Once we cleared the narrow channels and headed north along the western coast of Macleay we put the sails up and had a truly delightful sail all the way to Peel. Times like those are what keep you wanting to sail.

Another interesting factoid about Peel Is. Apparently in the ’60s the Island was sold to Keith Williams. He is the developer who put the resort on Hamilton Is. He wanted to build the resort here on Peel, but the council turned down his application to have exclusive use of Horseshoe Bay for his resort – so it never happened. Interesting ‘sliding doors’ situation wondering what the other Moreton Bay islands and Cleveland would be like now had it been approved.

(PS: Happy birthday Deb.)

horseshoe bay

Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island

Day 3: The Sandhills to Horseshoe Bay

Despite my complaints about the weather forecast it is something we read and memorise religiously all the time while sailing – that, and the state of the tide. The forecast comes out twice a day (ridiculously inadequate frequency!) around 4 morning and night. The forecast for today is north-westerlies 10-15 knots and high tide at 9.40am (the tide floods to the south). Anywhere on the west coast of Moreton is a lousy anchorage in a westerly, so last night we made the decision to move to a better anchorage this morning. Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island gives good protection in westerlies and that lay south of us – northerlies and a flooding tide sound good when you want to head south, but it was a long trip, 16nm and we’d probably be fighting the tide after it turned for the last half of the trip. We planned to get up, have brekkie and get away about 7.30am. After the long trip over on Tuesday I was dreading it.
The north-westerly came in an hour or so before dawn. We were both woken with the boat rolling very uncomfortably – no more sleep for us. No brekkie either as I couldn’t keep the kettle on the stove it was rolling so much. As soon as it was daylight we left – at 5.45am.

whale fluke

Whale fluke

two whales

Mother whale and her calf.

As it turned out it was a magnificent sail. The highlight was seeing two whales, but also saw turtles and dolphins. It was so smooth sailing I even managed to cook us an omelet each for breakfast as we went. We were safely anchored off Horseshoe Bay at 10.30 – less than 5 hours -> that’s how long a 16nm sail should take!


Peel Is used to be a quarantine station and a leper colony and is now a protected conservation area. Boaties are only allowed to land at Horseshoe and Platypus Beaches, and there’s camping just inside the foredunes … but no wandering around beyond there! That’s fine – the beach was lovely and long and we went for a great walk the length of it and inside looking at the camping sites (no campers).
That evening we christened the BBQ. Started with asparagus dijonaise, followed by feta stuffed chicken wrapped in prosciutto. Delicious!

christening the BBQ

Yum! Looking forward to dinner.