The Island that Time Forgot | Giant Fish, Epic Coral, A Slice of Paradise

I really don’t know many people who would have heard of Keswick or St Bees Islands before… They are under 35 km from Mackay but oh man they could be on a different planet. We were a bit hesitant to make this our first stop after leaving the marina but boy oh boy did we hit the jackpot.

Buckle in for some gorgeous beaches, knock-your-socks-off hikes and epic reef expeditions.

During our stay we had some bloody horrific weather. We dropped the hook at the one half decent anchorage between Keswick and St Bees and were there for what literally felt like rain, hail and shine. There were days with 30 knots of wind and then there were glorious tropical days.

Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.

So the beginning of our stay wasn’t the greatest. We felt a bit cooped up but were trying to make the best of the miserable weather. The place is still beautiful under all the cloud and mist so we managed to have a poke around in between the rain.

At least the fishing already looked like it was going to be off the hook. Ha get it?? Off the hook….. On the first afternoon Nathan pulled in a decent trout and a couple of railway. I think he is a fan of this place already.

Obviously fish tacos and pineapple rumbos were in order. Gotta keep crew moral high!

This was followed by some more cloudy days, a MONSTER queenfish and LOTS of wind. I know we like sailing or whatever but a break in the gale would be much appreciated.

And then it happened. Oh my god. The sun.

Sunny days are terribly under rated for one’s happiness. And we thought this place was beautiful before… we hadn’t seen the half of it.

Wetsuits on, it was time to see what these islands were famous for. The underwater world. Luckily for us the visibility wasn’t terrible considering all the wind and swell that had hung around.

Between the two islands is a passage with fringing reef on either side. Drifting along the drop-off with the current we barely had to do any work, it was just like watching a movie!

There is another place called the Coral Gardens which I was super keen to visit. Again, it had been on the exposed side to all the weather but we managed to score good enough visibility to see how insane this place really is.

And Wow.

We were blown away. I just don’t expect somewhere this close to mainland to have reef like this. I wish all the colours showed up through our little GoPro.

This was the only day we got to snorkel and dive so I am sooooo glad we made it here. Plus there weren’t any other tourists to dodge. We had it all to ourselves. Well.. except for all our fishy friends.

We were seriously blissed out after our time underwater and the glorious sunshine.

What a cracker of a place!

We felt like a couple of honey baked hams from our wonderful day in the sunshine.

The south easterlies returned as quickly as they went but the sun decided to hang around a little longer. Woohoo!!

Now we were back doing what we do best. Beach exploring, rock climbing and swimming in crystal clear water.

There are only a few locals on the island and they are just amazing! If I lived somewhere like this, I would be excited to share it with visitors too but we certainly weren’t expecting this level of hospitality. They were so welcoming and generous to a couple of smelly sailors.

Tearing around the island in golf carts to reach views that could be of Fiji. Talk about dinner with a view! We ate and drank like Kings while watching dolphins play in the anchorage.

I mean…come on!!! I can’t believe people live here!

Not bad for a couple of jobless, grotty yachties.


Unknown location: check

Good fishing : check

Epic diving: check

Beautiful beaches: check

Friendly locals: check

In case you can’t tell, we are kinda fans of this place but it still had one more surprise up it’s sleeve. I don’t really need to explain this one… so just check it out. And yes I know there a few photos but I couldn’t narrow it down.

So in summary, Keswick and St Bees Islands: Absolutely AWESOME.

Until next time.



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