Day 6 Gladstone – Townsville

The finished Endeavour plaque

Latitude; 20°51.5 S

Longitude; 150°14.9 E

Distance run in the last 19hrs; 70.5NM

Average speed; 3.7KN

Once we anchor we lower the rescue boat into the water and start the boat runs ashore. The Island is postcard perfect with white sand, palm trees and the appearance of a deserted Island with no sign of human life, other than the two, old weathered huts. The ship is however being eyed up by a turtle off the port side and a wild goat standing on the rocks ashore, curiously
checking us out. Just before we go ashore it comes to light that it is Topman Darbey’s Birthday which he had been keeping from us, there is only one thing that could be done about that, overboard.

Bye, bye Derby

We all eagerly wait for our turns in the boat to go ashore. It is well worth the wait, as soon as we arrive on shore it is pure white, fine, squeaky sand, a definite sign that we have landed in tropical paradise. When reaching the larger of the two huts I am just breath taken by the memorabilia and plaques that have been left. Although some of the crew who have been here before and had spoken about the tradition, I was never expecting to see what was before my eyes. There was everything there from prosthetic legs to signed bras to beautiful sculptures and creations, some slightly obscure, some comical and some really quite profound. You could easily spend a day trying to read and take everything in, but even then you would easily miss something.

Inside the shack

The next task is a taxing one, where to put the Endeavour plaque? All of us want it to have pride of place but everyone has a very different idea where that is. Captain Ross has the final word and everyone is happy with his decision. Then it is time for a group photo and the plaque
unveiling.

Just around the corner and slightly up the hill is the best tree house I have ever seen. The family that came to the Island to help with the maintenance lived in this tree house for the first year and a half they lived on the Island. It has a little cook and wash area out the back, a double room with a beautiful view from the balcony and then up a few more stairs to another double room.

The next place to explore is the original hut where the tradition began. There are signs and plaques going back decades. There is even a sign in there from when the White family lived on the Island before Andy took it over, which was back in the 60’s. I was even pleased to find my National flag (the three legs of Man) in there.

The crew outside the shack

Just over the other side of the beach is a bronze plaque which had been donated from the ship Windwardbound in 2002 to commemorate the 200 year anniversary of Matthew Flinders circumnavigation and our first mate Dirk was part of the crew when they delivered it to Percy Island.

Just as we are running the crew back to the ship three visitors appear in a truck and come to greet us. We are pleased to find out that the lady is Cate Radcliffe, a direct relative from Andy the previous owner. After a lot of fighting and grief she had managed to get the ownership rights back for the Island. She has been living and maintaining the Island now for three years. We invite them all back to the ship for dinner and for a good look around.  She informs us over dinner that the family who had been assisting for all those years in the caretaking of
Percy are now happily living and maintaining Dent Island, an Island further North.

Once we have dropped our visitors ashore, it is time to heave up anchor and get underway for our next destination. Unfortunately there isn’t enough wind for us to maintain the speed required and so tonight the engine is on and we are steaming.

In the morning I come on deck to see that we are approaching a luscious green Island, and beautiful blue crystal clear seas. There has been a change of plan, we were just going to sail past Scorfell but it is too irresistible, we have to stop.

We are anchored by 0745 and taking people ashore to explore the beach and have a swim in the striking blue sea. For those of us that stay onboard it is work as usual until smoko where the majority decide to that the temptation of a swim around the ship is too much.

Everyone is back to the ship for midday to have lunch and then get ready to heave up the anchor.

All’s well.

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