A Guided Tour of Middle Percy
Monday August 7 2017
Middle Percy rose out of the glassy sea after an eventful overnight motorsail from Rosslyn Bay, including a very close encounter with a US warship looking for the crew of their Osprey helicopter that crashed in Shoalwater bay that evening. As dawn broke we were navigating through sleeping whales, floating languidly like night watchmen dozing at their guardposts.
West Bay was busy with a number of yachts anchored there, all dwarfed by a large motor cruiser, the Sovereign, on her way to Hamilton Island for race week. We were pleased to see our RPAYC friends and occasional Div 1 competition, John McConaghy and Second Time Around, also there in the bay and refreshing their existing A Frame sign (with a little bit of help from a Jazzamatazz marker pen ). The A Frame, AKA The Percy Hilton, is a seafarer’s institution. A haven for cruisers travelling between Yeppoon and Mackay, it is a shelter where passing yachts meet, share food, beer and tall stories and the leave a memento of their yacht affixed to the frame. We saw familiar names among the assorted wood carvings, hats, floats and assorted boatbits – all left as the various owners’ bids for lasting celebrity.
We decided to trek up to the Homestead, home of the inhabitants of Middle Percy, John and Kate. There are two tracks – the easy 4km track and the steep 2.8km track. We of course went for the challenging steep track which took us through mangroves, mud flats and woodland – guided by pretty painted coconut girls along the track; blowing us kisses and showing us the way.
When we got to the Homestead there was quite a crowd. John and Kate were hosting the entire crew of the Sovereign and their chef was in the final stages of cooking (with the help of one of the island’s goat population). We were promptly invited to join in a delicious lunch of goat stew with mung beans, freshly baked bread with island honey and home made damson jam. Kate gave us a fascinating insight into the history of Middle Percy island.
Also dropping in was Spikey Mikey (a photographer / cameraman / author working from his yacht Isabella) and his botanist wife Vivian. Mike had offered to take some video and photo footage of Middle Percy for Kate and John and was getting his drone fired up. We were invited to come along for the ride for a 2 hour guided tour of the island. Our transport was the tray of John’s ute with bags of potting compost for seats. The scenery was fabulous and John gave us some of the interesting recent history of the island while Vivian’s knowledge of the local flora was limitless.
At the end of the day we retired to the A-Frame for a much needed cold ale, a few Dark & Stormys and other refreshments. We spent several hours talking with the Sovereign crew and other yachties there before retiring back to Jazzamatazz ready for the next leg of our Coral Cruise to Airlie Beach & Hammo race weeks.