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 Port Newry and Victor creek

From TCP # 7

By Bob Norson

Just off the path most travelled, hidden on a piece of coastline that seems relatively featureless compared to the islands across the channel or the drama of nearby Cape Hillsborough lies a bit of boatie heaven.

The entrance on the north side of Outer Newry Island is perfectly navigable though the water is shallower. Just keep an eye on the rocks at the east side. The 'main' entrance at the south end is more popular. A blind man driving the QE 2 could get in there. . As you approach the port from the east, the ends of Outer Newry Island are oh so clearly marked by very distinctive rock formations, The 'Wedding Cake' on the north and ‘Concertina Rock’ on the south.

Around Outer Newry Island, the shore falls away steeply, not shoaling until well around the west side where the southerly anchorage is. If it's a northerly, best anchorage is to the south of Newry Island. Even if it seems OK at the time, a northerly can develop an ugly roll in the anchorage by Outer Newry, usually in the middle of the night at the change of tide.

Outer Newry has a camp area and toilet block but not much for access except in the mud and mangroves. Newry, on the other hand, has a beautiful beach that is obvious from the main anchorage. There was a resort on the island but gone now. It was taken over by “Parks” which has done some very amusing things in it's attempt to…. well, I'm not sure! For example, east of the beach there is a clearing that was planted with a surprising variety of trees on a grid with in ground irrigation no less! While I admit I am not expert in such things, the types of trees planted and the grid pattern seems strange for the location and conditions. Perhaps I'm right because many of them are dead now despite apparently expensive attention.

Scattered around the island are a number of stone structures erected by the old resort. These were partially torn down a couple years ago. I assumed at the hands of “Parks.” Now there are very nice low fences surrounding them with shiny great padlocks on the gates of the fences that a child could jump over. I'm sure there is a very amusing reason for all that but it escapes me. Right in front, above the beach, there is a thing that was almost gotten right. A building that had been a bar/food service area was converted from a mostly enclosed hall to a roofed shelter by knocking down the walls and replacing with pillars. The wind can now go through the place but the view is lovely. The problem is the lack of cooking facility. NO FIRES!! The sign says. It seems that many who visit the island regard the rule as unreasonable. There were recent remains of three fires behind the shelter when I was last there in January. I think it would be possible to provide a facility for camp fires there that would not be unnecessarily risky. A suggestion for “Parks,” If there isn't one made people will make there own anyway. While I'm on suggestions, I heard that Parks requires permits for camping there…WHY??

Around the corner on Rabbit Island is the dumbest thing "Parks" has done. On the southern tip is a flat spot with a shore covered in rocks and oysters. Damaging to boats and dangerous to walk on. That is where they have erected a pavillion and a BBQ! Are they that stupid or do they just hate boaties?

VICTOR CREEK has got to be as close to trailer boat heaven as you can get without resorting to religion. There will be a few who will be irritated that their little secret is being published! To compound the irritation of the locals, I'll also say that the creek appears to be an excellent cyclone hole! There… I said it! But I digress.

Accessed via Seaforth road, the boat ramp in the creek is already known and popular to locals. Even in average weather the possibilities are numerous. There is a large body of water sheltered behind the islands and mangroves. Fish abound, or so I'm told. Me being the worlds worst fisherman, I'll have to take the word of others on this. If the weather opens up, the possibilities are endless.

The large bay behind Cape Hillsborough provides a little shelter from the soueasters but when it flattens out altogether there is no reason why even a small boat can not safely make it out to Brampton or Carlisle islands, have a fish and a walkabout and make it back for lunch.

Coming in from the port the channel is very well marked. For the tinnies the entry is most anytime and anywhere but deep draught vessels work the tides, which are substantial on this part of the coast. Mooring room has pretty much been filled except at the far end of the creek where there isn't much water at low tide..if any. There is a spot to anchor near the boat ramp but swinging room is only just. An arm of the creek just past the ramp would make storm shelter for several boats. I've seen a 44 ft boat up there before. Other joining creeks have enough water that years ago they were shelter for the “Fairmiles” that were used as island ferries. If I say much more I will probably get a rock through my window but suffice to say that the area warrants having a look.

It's a long walk from the boat ramp but there is a store up the road. A pushy would make short work of it if you have one. There is water by the boat ramp at the toilet block but you have to work for it. There is no outside tap so you have to work out how to get it out of the sink or shower. It tasted like hell but it didn’t kill me.

ATTENTION TRAILER BOATS!! The Seaforth Boating Club operates yard close to the boat ramp and it's own radio station which is happy to log on boats from Prudhoe Island to Shaw. The station is on the air from 0700 to 1800, 7 days and is known to be helpful whenever they can, even for non members. Mike Jennings, current care taker and radio operator told me of a recent call for help from a large boat anchored at the port. The Boat was stuck there in a 40 knot blow with no dinghy. A crew was desperate to get to the airport in Mackay so he went out and got him in the club boat and arranged transport for him from there. “We try to help people when we can,” he said.

The call sign is VKQ 815 and Mike says they could sure use some volunteer help on the radio. If you want to join, you can contact The Seaforth Boating Club, P.O. Box 4, Seaforth Q. 4741.

For more detailed navigational information, see page 151-2-3 of the new “Cruising the Coral Coast.” You DO have the new one don’t you?!

 The beautiful sandy beach where the resort once was. The unique thing about this resort was that it catered to families, not high buck tourists. We can't have that now can we?

 The view up Victor Creek.