At 11.30am on Friday the fourth of September ’15 we motored north from Gladstone to the river called The Narrows.
The weather was clear and sunny and there was light and variable winds forecast.
Brian and Ann led the way on their cat Hybreasail, a boat that Brian had built from a set of plans he purchased.
Their boat was a performance cat well finished and looking professionally made.
We motored behind them at just under 6 knots and headed to The Narrows.
First we had to navigate the northern end of the shipping port with large ships coming, going and moored.
It made Just Jammin feel very small and quite slow.
Up ahead the river was several hours before high tide but even so the sides of the rivers were lined with mangroves half submerged.
The first few hours passed without much to do other than just follow Hybreasail.
As we entered The Narrows we passed Graham Creek to the right and Ann radioed us to point it out as a safe place to anchor when waiting out a storm.
The river was close to half a mile wide at this point and around 6m deep in the channel we were following.
5 miles further on is Black Swan Island and here the river narrows to only a hundred meters wide but still maintains a reasonable depth.
No black swans were sighted.
The river gets narrower and shallower after another mile and it was lucky we arrived there at high tide because as we zig zagged around the shallowest points we reached a stretch were we had no water under the keel.
It was quite nerve wracking but we followed Hybreasail and trusted they knew what they were doing.
After a further 5 miles of very shallow water and carefully picking our way thru ridiculous shallows we reached the northern end of the shallows and once again had several meters of water under the keels.
It was a relief to be able to proceed without dragging across the bottom.
For the last few miles of The Narrows we motored behind Hybreasail, once again at 6 knots and looked for a suitable place to anchor for the night.
The place we chose to anchor was called Mosquito Creek and the name was well chosen.
Around 3.45pm saw us drop anchor just outside the mouth of the creek and send out a pair of whiting live baits.
Not long after Brian came past with several crab pots in his tender and went up the creek to place them.
Over the next few hours we had several runs on the livies but were unable to hook up.
Each time we would try to set the hook we just pulled the bait out of the buggers mouth and retrieved half a very dead whiting.
After losing several baits we both re-baited the half whitings and set the hooks in it so as to be able to catch the thing when it took its first run.
It is very rare to be so comprehensively beaten by a fish but we got no look at what it may have been.
We ruled out crabs as they would be unlikely to catch a lively whiting and we ruled out sharks as they would have taken the whole whiting as they had in the past.
It would have been nice to have caught a glimpse of the culprit.
When darkness settled over the river we were treated to yet another spectacular sunset and then the midgies arrived.
Slapper was surrounded by them and suffered much, I was luckier as they didn’t seem to show any interest in me.
As the night progressed Slapper was driven to extremes by the blood sucking bastards and after every recognised midgie repellent and cure failed he started on the ridiculous.
Desperation is when you start using WD40 as a midgie repellent, it didn’t work.
All night they feasted on him and were still at it when morning came.
Not long after sparrows we up anchored and set sail for Great Keppel Island.
Text and photos by Fingers.