The height of tide is crucial for entering Cairns port; at low tide, there is not enough water in the long entrance channel and it is necessary to adjust one’s arrival so that there is sufficient to make the passage. Even so, when we do transit the channel at the earliest time we can do so, there is only 1.8 metres of water under our keel.
We embark 2 pilots here, one guides us in, while the other assists him by watching the leading lights and buoys, the channel is narrow and we have to stay in the centre of it, any variation and the mud awaits us. We also have to transit at slow speed; it’s that old subject of us displacing water and it’s got to come back in somehow. Too fast and the ‘Amsterdam’ will ‘squat’ or go lower in the water purely because the water will not be replaced fast enough; when one is playing with just 1.8 metres, one can’t afford to misjudge speed.
Anyway, here we are, on our way across the Coral Sea after a succesful call in Cairns, so you can presume correctly that we arrived there, without bouncing along the bottom 🙄
Cairns is, in one word, stupendous. It is a city to which thousands of tourists, backpackers and adventure-seekers throng to; it has something for everyone, young and old and one day there is not enough. Our guests did everything from swim on the Great Barrier Reef, ride a scenic railway, (built between 1882 and 1891) through the gorges and mountains outside Cairns, go crocodile watching, go on jet-boats, ride helicopters and take a ‘skyrail’ through Tropical rain forests, the list is endless.
Moi? I took a walk around the city. It was hot and humid however the sun was shining on a spectacular day. It is a wonderful eclectic mix of old and new, many original buildings from the 1890’s are still there, restored beautifully. Even when some modern building has been placed in the city, the citizens had the foresight to keep many of the older building’s facades, rather than knocking them down. So for instance, one finds a modern apartment block with the frontage of a 19th-century hotel, quite amazing.
Trees line the avenues, which reminds me of South Africa, where they were built wide enough to turn a wagon with a span of oxen; possibly the same reason here?
We had to wait for a high enough tide to depart, for the same reason as our arrival. However, this time we had to swing through 180º in a very ‘tight’ swinging area before heading out to sea.
Early tomorrow morning we transit the China Strait, a narrow passage off the south-east coast of Papua New Guinea, here the currents can rip through at 6 knots, about 7 mph and it’s only 1/2 mile wide, more Bridge time beckons……
I’ll leave you with photos of Cairns; this time I am not going to use the ‘slideshow’ feature and instead post them individually. Please let me know which you prefer!