A lone fisherman motors into the bay at around 5.30am and casts his rod. I climb up the companionway out of curiosity, not about the fisherman, but to see what the bay looks like. It is nothing like I expected, strange how a mosquito factory can be so beautiful. Mosquitos are not mentioned in any of the tourism information advertising the Bay of Fires. Tobias Ferneaux, the first man to circumnavigate the world in both directions named the bay in 1773 after sighting Aboriginal fires on the shore. I would have called it The Mosquito Coast. But how beautiful it is.
Skeleton Bay is rimmed by granite boulders and tall eucalyptus trees. Escapade has been rolling on a swell all night, and the sea is now glassy calm. A giant in a wetsuit zooms in to the bay on a jet ski as a pelican floats across to inspect the possibility of a meal, but soon looses interest. At around midday we are ready to leave. Its my turn to be skipper again today, and we motor out of the bay into perfect cruising conditions. A gently 12 knot breeze off the starboard beam, blue sky, sunshine and a smooth sea. We soon have the main up and the headsail trimmed. Doesn’t get much better than this. The Bay of Fires unfolds before us, long beaches of pure white sand punctuated with headlands of granite boulders stained red with lichen. The hinterland is changing. The high mountains are receding and the land is becoming flat. In the distance we can see Cape Eddystone, and can just make out the lighthouse on the point.
Just as we settle in for the day, the wind swings on to our nose, forcing us to fire up the diesel. Dark clouds are chasing us from the south, and the wind quickens, lifting the sea with it. At around five o’clock we round Eddystone Point. The lighthouse looms above us. It was built in 1888 out of local pink granite. It was so remote then that access was only by sea. We pull into the shelter of a small bay of pure white sand just behind the point and drop the anchor in 15 meters of water. I cook porterhouse steak, cajun wedges and a salad for dinner.