The slow passage continued. Not only did we not get much assistance from the ebb tide through the Whitsundays on Thursday evening, we lost the breeze entirely as we slowly approached Hayman Island from the east and the south going flood tide began to carry us south again. Once more we hand sail and soon after 2100 we are under power again, motoring to the NW. If nothing else the crew are getting plenty of sail drill, although the calm conditions make it all supremely easy compared to some of the sail handling that took place in the southern ocean, what seems like a lifetime ago. We continued under power all through the night, passing well offshore of the ports of Bowen and Abbot Point and at first light on Friday we had Holbourne Island under the port quarter. This island was named after Admiral Francis Holbourne, who commanded the fleet in North America in which Cook served in 1757. Just before breakfast, the wind appeared to be filling in out of the north, and with sea room we again got under sail, setting everything and standing off on the starboard tack. The wind remained flukey however and we did little more than drift along to the west through that day, the prominent Cape Upstart ("being surrounded with low land it starts or rises up singly at the first making of it" - Cook 1770) seemingly not moving its relative position at all. A hot day, I expected a sea breeze to fill in but the wind remained firmly obstinate this passage and we had a day of drifting and ship watching. Close to the recommended track through this part of the inshore passage, we watched the Australian coal fired bulk carrier "River Boyne" go past north bound for Weipa for another load of bauxite. A little later, the neat little Panamanian tanker "Golden Lucy 1" passed us going south. The last few days I have been practising with the 16th century astrolabe to obtain our latitude at noon. Yesterday I achieved a result that put us only about 12 miles S of of the latitude achieved by the more modern sextant and confirmed with our horribly modern hand held GPS. I like to think that this sort of thing sets us apart from other "museum" replicas. We try and use as much as the traditional gear as possible - it is not just there for display. Not just the traditional rig and sails - we wash our dishes by hand in a wooden tub on deck, washing is done in wooden stave buckets, I use a tin plate that is part of the Masters museum implements, some of the crew use wooden bowls, the traditional cook box for'd gets used for BBQ's in port (using firewood.) The stave and leather beer mugs have been used during functions and the crew seem to get a little anxious when I get grumpy and the sword is close to hand. By 1600 there was still no sign of any breeze, and pleasant though it was to sit there in the sun, we had a city waiting to see the ship. Again the sails are handed and again we motor to the north. As we stand NW past Cape Bowling Green, a single isloted danger buoy marks the scene of a tragedy. It is hard to imagine that in these calm, pleasant conditions, 95 years ago a vessel was fighting for her life. The passenger steamer "Yongala", was lost in a cyclone in 1911, the wreck now being home to much sea life. The following notes have been taken from the web site of the Townsville maritime Museum, www.townsvillemaritimemuseum.org.au The tragedy of SS Yongala A luxuriously appointed passenger and freight ship, SS Yongala sailed into the eye of a cyclone on the 23 March 1911. It was not identified until 1958, having lain undisturbed for nearly 50 years. On board had been 122 people, a racehorse called Moonshine, a red Lincolnshire bull, and cargo for northern ports. The loss of the vessel had a tremendous impact on Townsville and Cairns, with most passengers returning to their homes and loved ones. Yongala was a steel passenger and freight steamer, owned by the Adelaide Steamship Company. At the time of the wrecking, it was engaged on the east coast run from Melbourne to Cairns. The length of the wreck is 109 meters. The bow points in a northerly direction (350º), and lies listing to starboard at an angle of between 60º - 70º. The depth of water to the sea floor is approximately 30 meters, with the upper sections of the wreck 16 meters below the surface. Although the superstructure remains intact, the poop, promenade and winch decks have slipped off the main deck and have been scattered on the seafloor, disbursed by currents. The ventilators and railings have also collapsed. Over time, the wreck has become a magnificent artificial reef, providing a haven for a colourful and diverse range of marine life. The seafloor surrounding the wreck is open and sandy. Yongala lies within the Central Section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It is approximately 48 nautical miles south east of Townsville and 12 nautical miles east of Cape Bowling Green. The site is protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 and managed through the Museum of Tropical Queensland, Townsville. Access is through permit only, obtained on application through the Museum of Tropical Queensland. Access conditions apply. In 1943, a Royal Australian Navy minesweeper corvette, on a passage from Townsville to Brisbane clearing the shipping lanes off the Queensland coast mined at the beginning of the Second World War, fouled on an obstruction believed to be a shoal, but which was not investigated at this time. In 1947, the Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic vessel HMAS Lachlan, while heading north to king Sound via Darwin with the tender Brolga. Lachlan stopped to examine the obstruction using anti-submarine equipment and an echo sounder. The obstruction was reported to appear to be a sunken ship, and presumed to be that of SS Yongala. Lachlan then continued northwards. No further action was taken, leaving Yongala in peace for another eleven years. In 1958, the wreck was found once more. George Konrat, a salvage and construction diver from Cairns, and one of the self-styled 'finders', described the first recorded dive made on the site. He identified the wreck as that of the Yongala by the lettering of the name on the bow. Konrat's salvage partner, and the other 'finder' of the wreck, was Bill Kirkpatrick, the skipper of the dive boat from which Konrat was working. On their return to land however, neither could substantiate that the wreck they had dived was the Yongala although Konrat's further description of an animal cage on the deck left little doubt. Kirkpatrick continued to dive on the wreck with members of the Queensland Underwater Research Group (QURG), although positive identification remained elusive as subsequently they were not able to find the name on the bow. They raised several artefacts, including a safe found in the purser's cabin, and it was anticipated that any papers remaining inside would prove the wreck's identity. The following day and in the presence of customs officers, the safe was 'smashed open' but contained nothing but sludge. The photograph of the safe published on 7 October 1958 in the Townsville Daily Bulletin was seen by the manager of Chubb's safes in Queensland. He believed it to be a Chubb's safe by the way the door was 'hung on the left', and sent the details of a partial serial number found on the door tongue to England for identification. The makers' serial number eventually confirmed it as the Chubb safe that had been supplied to Armstrong, Whitworth and Company for Yongala, and which had been installed in the purser's cabin. Scuba Divers since established that both anchors are housed on the wreck. Subsequent investigation of the hull showed the hull intact, little ballast in the hull and some of the portholes were in the open position. The theories of a collision as well as the anchors being laid to ride out the storm were now discounted. Evidence indicated that Captain Knight was steaming ... probably towards Townsville, his intended destination. The portholes were probably open to provide the only ventilation to the cabins below decks in the heavy weather. The cyclonic weather was reported as coming from the North West and taking into account the wreck location off Cape Bowling Green, the reach was unhindered across 25 nautical miles of open water. The depth in this area is relatively shallow at 20 to 30 mtrs and combined with tidal run would heighten the wave peaks and troughs in gale force conditions. In continuing towards Townsville and safe haven, heading into monumental seas, the Yongala began to take solid water over the bows and onto the foredecks. From this point on it is purely supposition based on experienced coastal Captains' observations - these men were familiar with the area around Cape Bowling Green.: a.) The Yongala continued to steam into the weather, floundered by the bow, after taking water through the forward hatch and sunk b.) The Yongala decided to run with the weather, broached because of her narrow beam and lack of ballast and capsized c.) Any manoeuvre by the Yongala away from the bow quarter resulting in a beam on situation in these conditions would heighten the risk of a capsize. The fact that no life rafts or life saving equipment were found indicated the fate of the Yongala was sudden and fatal. Leaving behind the wreck site, we continued to motor to the NW. Rounding Cape Cleveland at 0500 this morning we stood down into Cleveland Bay, both named after John Cleveland, secretary to the Admiralty, 1751-1763. Waiting for the tide, we had to heave to for a while, giving the crew a chance to prepare the vessel for arrival. Getting underway again at 0700, we entered the approach channel at 0800 and into the Breakwater Marina soon after, to tie up at a pontoon on the casino side of the basin. A fairly unsatisfactory passage as the statistics will show: Distance 289 miles, Average speed 3.5 knots. Time under sail 44h55m, time under power 37h55m Not great numbers for a supposed trade wind passage. As ever though the crew enthusiastically throw themselves into getting the ship ready and opening up to the public. On a hot afternoon, we have 791 visitors through the ship which means we have cracked the 50000 visitor milestone, a tremendous achievement so far on this voyage by all concerned - we are certainly getting our messages to a lot of people. We will remain here in Townsville until Wednesday, hopefully the trades will re-appear for the run north to Cairns.