Friday, October 14, 2011

Magnetic Island

My father grew up in Townsville and he was very fond of Magnetic Island which lies a few miles off the coast from Townsville. Captain Cook named the island when he sailed past in 1770 after the supposed 'magnetic' effect on the ship's compass. Nobody has been able to duplicate this magnetic effect so it remains a mystery.
 One of the catamaran ferries that takes passengers out to the island. A return ticket costs $29.
 The ferry terminal.
 View of the town dominated by Castle Hill.
 Townsville is a port city and it acted as a hub for all transport in the region and to the far west with the train line to Mt Isa.

 Of course, not all vessels are large.

 Wake of the catamaran as we leave the harbour and head off to the island.

 And there it is in the morning mist about 8 am.

 Cat going back to the mainland.

 The island is very hilly and rocky. The highest point is 1631 feet.
 The harbour at the island near the ferry terminus.

Cyclones = Hurricanes = Typhoons.

 Banyan trees are very popular on the island.
 The Esplanade at Nelly Bay.

 Somebody's garden.

 There are some huge rocks and boulders scattered all over.
 Palm trees everywhere.

I decided to walk to Picnic Bay and went past a back packers establishment called Xbase. Along with the tents they had small A frame huts. When we were young, probably about 10 for me, my father took the family for a drive up to Townsville. We stayed a couple of days and one of them was spent going to Magnetic Island. I seem to remember that we took the ferry to Picnic Bay and then walked to this beach near where Xbase is today. Of course I could be wrong and if Anne or Clare have better memories, I will update this section.

 It's quite a climb to pass over the ridge from Nelly Bay to Picnic Bay, but there are good views.

A shortcut track for pedestrians makes the journey shorter than keeping to the road.

Most of the houses on the island are modern but there are still some of the old weekenders made of fibro.

Picnic Bay. The ferry used to come here and so this was the traditional place to go on Magnetic Island.

School holidays had ended and I had the whole foreshore virtually to myself.

The jetty where the ferries used to dock at. Now it is closed for repairs but the ferries won't be returning.

 The water is very clear.

 Somebody was being taught how to snorkel.

When the road from Nelly Beach to Picnic Beach was constructed they must have blasted though this rock.

By the time I got back to the ferry, I was very thirsty and consumed a 600 ml bottle of Kyneton Spring Water. I really needed it.

I could only imagine what a wonderful place this island would have been for my father when he was a boy. Back in the 1920's there would have been very limited development and nothing would have been off limits. I could tell that he loved the place whenever he talked about it.

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