A pleasant location in moderate weather, with a chance to get a good walk in!
Reviewed Aug 2017
We were last there in August 2017, in settled weather. After rolly anchorages since leaving Cape Gloucester, it was great to have two still nights. The weather pattern we had was light SE (initially light SW in the wee small hours) followed by E/NE sea breezes.
The fringing reef is clearly marked by white reef protection buoys. Do your anti foul a favour, and only take the dinghy inside them. An unexpected bonus was that there were four public moorings (up to 20m for monos & 18m for multihulls). The time limit is 4 hours, otherwise it's anchoring in > 10 m, with a fair bit of coral around. As there were spare moorings (we had the anchorage to ourselves on night one), we stayed on the mooring overnight.
Despite the absence of rain and neap tides, water clarity for snorkelling was disappointing at the time. Maybe we had been spoilt with the clarity at Hardy Lagoon, Fitzroy Reef and Lady Musgrave Island earlier on! Coral bleaching looked to be an issue.
There is a clam garden over towards the James Cook Uni research station in Pioneer Bay, which is said to be amazing. That's on the list for the return journey.
Ashore from the beach, was a real surprise. There is a track leading to the SE from the national parks facilities. A short walk has the ruins of a home built by coral - according to Alan Lucas' "Cruising the Coral Coast", the occupant was an oyster lessee who abandoned it after suffering infectious cuts. The path continues in an easterly direction, across a creek, through more bush land, until it emerges into grassland. At the top of the hill are spectacular coastal views to the north and south ... and back to the anchorage and beyond. The track was marked with pink high viz tape in selected trees. Our reef walking shoes were adequate, and whilst on the lookout, we didn't see any reptiles. The walk time was around 50 minutes return. Recommended to take water and a camera.
Moorings. Wasn't rolly. Boat lays to the wind.