Triangle Cliffs, Fraser Island
It's midnight and we have closed the coast again. The scene ahead looks awfully familiar, with the lights of Bundaberg and Bargara exactly where they were earlier in the day. For the last nine hours of sailing we have made no progress at all. We gave it our best shot, but now it's time to start the cursed engines so we stand a chance of making Urangan by tomorrow. We spend an uncomfortable morning motoring into a short, choppy sea, but we get our reward. By lunchtime we are anchored in calm waters under Triangle Cliffs on Fraser Island. It is a magnificent anchorage, sheltered from the wind by rolling wooded sand-hills edged by steep sand-cliffs, with a gleaming white beach that stretches into the distance north and south as far as we can see. The sun has come out at last, and the sea sparkles pale blue to the horizon behind us. In moments like this I feel that engines are, at times, unjustly maligned. The beach beckons. The voyage crew, and those of the permanent crew who have finished their jobs to the satisfaction of Gary, climb in the boat and head for the shore. Most of them have their swimming gear, and Trevor takes his fishing rod. Here is the story as I understand it from eyewitnesses and from Trev's own excited gibbering on returning on board. He had not been fishing for long when Trev got a strike. He started reeling in and saw he had hooked a good sized flathead. Without a net at his disposal he decided to 'skull-drag' the fish up the beach. Once it was well clear of the water he stabbed it through the head with his knife so it couldn't flip its way back down the sand and went back to retrieve his gear. While his back was turned a huge sea-eagle soared out of the sky, swooped low over the beach and seized the flathead with the knife still lodged in its head. The bird lumbered off, struggling to gain altitude with such a heavy cargo. Trev turned to see his prize, not to mention his favourite knife, slowly receding into the distance in the claws of a thief. He took off in pursuit. Now Trev is not a taciturn man even in his quiet moments and I'm told that in the excitement his lips were moving faster than his legs. Witnesses report that as Trev followed it down the beach he made several attempts to ascertain the bird's genus and species, at one stage erroneously identifying it as a 'Great Copulating Bustard'. Something like that. Eventually the knife fell out of the fish and the slight reduction in load allowed the sea-eagle to lift the fish slowly over the cliffs and out of sight. No doubt the eagle's family were impressed as the hunter returned with a bottom-dwelling fish and dry feathers. Needless to say that by the time he returned back on board Trev's estimation of the size of his stolen fish was a good arm-span.