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One of the most pristine and isolated all weather anchorages on the Australian East coast... if the idiots in the military don't destroy it.

It is currently being used for a target range (truth!) and vessels are advised to obtain information from VMR Yeppoon prior to sailing north or VMR Mackay if southbound.


 The author with Island Head in the background

 Bob Norson

OK...Tell the truth... have YOU been there??!!

If you have, then you know what I mean. Copulating couples everywhere in the creek, and the shoreline littered with spent singles resting for another go. Single minded fornicators so intent on their mission that a passing boat is unnoticed unless it literally bumps into them.

We discovered the sea turtles mating ground by dumb accident. In a mood to explore, we loaded up the dinghy with fuel, water and portable sounder and motored from the second arm, where we had found a tidy little hole of water just big enough to swing 360 degrees and made our way back to the first arm.


The northerlies were in and the arms off the main creek gave the best shelter. A couple days before we had come in late and anchored at the first arm, but the crowded conditions and resulting cramped quarters had us looking for a lower density neighbourhood. A glance up the first arm before we moved on suggested it might be worth a squizz later so we did.

As we motored in our dinghy far past the anchored boats at the big end of the arm, we began to notice the spent bodies on the drying banks. Though short of water for WhiteBird, there was plenty of water for our dinghy even far up the arm.

The view was magnificent and distracting. Suddenly, I noticed a collection of rocks ahead.....but wait... those rocks were moving.....Before we realized what was going on, we were surrounded by humping turtles. They didn't seem real embarrassed at our presence but as we didn't want to spoil their fun or hurt them, the motor was switched off and we drifted silently. Silently except for the bashing of shell against fibre glass that is!

If you are in the area around September, don't just sit on your boat at Island Head creek. Smear on a lethal dose of Areoguard and go exploring. Raw nature is seldom so accessible.

Does the military know how important their firing range is to the sea life on the coast??? Who's retarded idea was it to use Port Clinton and Island Head Creek for target practise anyway????? But I digress.



Where, How?? Etc...

Except when the military closes it off to blow the hell out of it, Island Head Creek and environs is the natural resting anchorage between the Keppel's and the southern most of the Northumberlands, such as Hexham or the Percy's.

The northern entrance channel is easy to locate against the rocks behind Island Head, but there isn't much water. Keel boats will want to enter on a flood tide. The southern channel is short of landmarks to guide but has more water. Especially in a strong south east wind, I would use the south channel.

We found a deep hole at the junction of the first arm and the main channel... too deep. The “arms” are the place in a northerly. Especially at high tide when the sand bank at the north end is covered, the main creek will rock and roll. The anchorage just off the south entrance channel is good to nip into from a south east wind but it's a shame to just nip in for a “quickie.”