A kayak appears from behind Shute Island, paddling towards Long Island. Another kayak appears. Then another two. Soon there is a fleet of them, like tiny coloured beetles crawling across the water in the distance. They are 'Paddling Through History,' part of a marine and cultural festival celebrating the traditional culture of the Ngaro people who have been traversing these waters in bark canoes for thousands of years. The kayaks are our signal to get under sail. They are paddling mighty fast and if we don't shake Duyfken's tail feathers they will get away from us. We set all sail except the mizzen and scud off in pursuit before the fresh northerly wind. By the time we catch up with the kayaks a fleet of outrigger canoes has emerged from behind the island to join them. There is something fearsome about the sight of these boats, with their palm-fronds at the stern bowing in the wind and their rows of paddles flashing rhythmically in the morning sun. Duyfken is relishing the tail wind and we are making about six knots (11kph), but we are no match for the canoes. One by one they come past us calling greetings and compliments about the ship before streaking off in pursuit of the others. They are a fit looking bunch of women and men paddling these graceful craft. Skirmishes are erupting between canoe crews. From time to time one of the paddlers lays down her paddle and fills a bailer with water to hurl across at another crew. They are a pretty good aim. Well practised I should think. Sailing Duyfken in company with these paddlers reminds me of that memorable day in Banda when we were accompanied by two Kora Kora canoes filled with Bandanese warriors (day 78). Then, as now, I was struck by the efficiency of these boats that can easily outrun an ocean voyager like Duyfken over a short distance. Then, as now, I was glad the only weapon to hand was water, and that every paddler wore a big friendly smile. It is all over too soon. In no time we are approaching the resort on Long Island where the paddlers are stopping for more events in the festival. This is where we must leave them. Duyfken takes a broad sweep into the bay to give the resorters a good look at her. She must be a fine sight flying along with the wind behind her like this. We give a few blasts on the whistle, brace in a little, and sail out of the bay. We are on our own again. Though the tide is against us and ripping out through the narrows, Duyfken is charging along so well that the steep, rainforest-covered slopes slip rapidly by, close aboard on each side. Once clear of Long Island we sail into the Hillsborough Channel, the wide stretch of water between the mainland and the Cumberland Group. In the clear wind unobstructed by land Duyfken builds up to seven knots (13kph). I don't think she has sailed as fast as this since Geraldton. Duyfken is loving it. So are the crew. Someone comments on the novelty of travelling so swiftly, and in exactly the direction of our destination as well. We stand around on deck admiring the islands slipping astern, watching the sparkling blue water stream past our heeling hull, and just feeling lucky to be alive. The dream run ends just after dark when a thunderstorm looms ahead. It is right on dinner time when the wind dies out and the ship is surrounded by lightning. Distant thunderclaps interrupt the eerie silence. We leave our bowls of curry in the cabin and take down the topsails in case we get a sudden squall of wind out of one of the big thunderheads that are now surrounding us. It is clear we are not going to get any steady breeze for a while so we clew up the sails and motor the last few miles into Mackay, slipping into the marina a few minutes before midnight. We are all tired, but nobody seems to want to go to bed. It has been one of those days that nobody wants to end. But we can't just stand about looking at each other. I think there's a bottle of port here somewhere...