Don't get me wrong, I'm a very cautious skipper and if there is something brewing out in the Gulf or the Coral Sea, we'd be battening down the hatches and heading in the opposite direction - so when we are sailing in the Far North over that period, we're certainly keeping an eye on developments and will always have a secondary port plotted. We've waited out some fierce weather anchored in the lee of Albany Passage, deep in mangroves of Escape River, Mourilyn Harbour and the creeks of the western side of Hinchinbrook Island and up into Trinity Inlet in Cairns without a problem.
Speaking of which, there are some very odd rules insurance companies have up this way relating to cyclone and marinas.
Yorkeys Knob Marina (our home base) is a designated Cyclone Protected Marina and if you leave this marina during a cyclone to head up into the mangroves, your insurance becomes null and void. The laugh is that everyone knows up here that if a cyclone hits Cairns, every vessel in Yorekys Knob will end up strewn around the 4th tee of the golf course behind, as the sea wall is not that much higher than a king tide on a storm surge.
Marlin Marina, the large, more solid marina in the heart of Cairns has to be abandoned at each cyclone event and all vessels head deep into the mangroves of Trinity Inlet. Our Ports and Harbours and local Coast Guard are excellent in assisting and directing you as you navigate up into the creeks amongst the spiderweb of bow and stern lines lacing the waterways.
When Cyclone Yassi flattened Innisfail and the marina at Cardwell down near Hinchinbrook Island, two yachts actually left the marina as the cyclone was bearing down and hid up in the mangroves behind Hinchinbrook. When Yassi hit, Cardwell Marina was flattened with yachts and motor boats piled 3 or 4 deep amongst the marina apartments or strewn across the highway behind. Total devastation.
Four days later, those two skippers came motoring back in without a scratch after weathering the full brunt of Yassi up in the mangroves.
If we are in Yorkeys Marina and a cyclone scores a direct hit, we all accept that we'll lose our vessels and be claiming insurance, but if we are anywhere else, I'll be heading for somewhere deep in the mangroves - never a marina.