Middle Percy


After a bit of a sleep in and a hearty breakfast we radioed the homestead to see it Cate was taking visitors. She was so we headed into the beach. Greg and Lindy had their first tour of the famous A-frame. I went in search of the Wine-Dark Sea mug that Sarah and I had left in previous visits. I couldn’t find it, which was disappointing in my circumstances, but I couldn’t recall where we left it or whether we just left it for generally use in the kitchen.

We struck off up the hill via the longer easier road. We had a brief stop to pick up email and weather as we headed up the hill. It still looked like the front was going to get up to us and a strong wind warning had been issued. We had had a chat to “Le Mistral” on our way to the beach. They had informed us they were planning on relocating to South Percy to shelter from the incoming front. We decided this was a good idea and made a general plan to wait the night out and head up the coast once things had settled down in the morning.

We carried on up to the homestead where Cate was a welcoming as I remember. We were welcomed with cordial, made from island honey and island citrus. Cate then launched into her usual spiel and she produced the visitors book for us to fill out. I saw that she had christened a new book since Sarah and I visited in 2017 so I asked, with tears welling, if I could see the previous book. She obligingly went off to find the previous visitor’s book. By the time she returned my tears were in full flow and struggling to put words together. Lindy explained the situation, which Cate took on board, as I found Sarah’s previous entry. Cate’s response and understanding was amazing for a lady that had only met Sarah once and most probably didn’t remember her amongst the steady flow of one time visitors. Cate is rarely one to hurry visitors away from her house and after hearing the story even less so. She carried on about her endless chores. This included picking the star fruit outside her kitchen window which we sampled as we continued swapping stories. One of our stories was how we had left Sydney without any of our cruising guides. Cate produced two very old versions of Alan Lucas’ Cruising the Coral coast and offered them to us. I said I couldn’t possibly take them from her and I didn’t think I’d need them as we were planning to go to anchorages I had been to before and remembered well.

Sarah’s previous entry in the visitor’s book

Ernst, one of the other island inhabitants, arrived during this interchange advising us of some handy but frustrating work carried out by some other visitors to the island. They had cleaned up some rubbish on one of the windward beaches of the island but left it all on the beach, albeit in nice neat piles. He had some photos of his morning explorations he wanted to share with Cate but he didn’t know how to get them to Cate’s phone. As tech saavy mainlanders we noted that both were iPhones and it should be a simple task of doing an AirDrop. We struggled with this a bit as it would appear Cate was still running on an iPhone 4 which didn’t have AirDrop.

The day was getting on and Cate had things to do. She suggested we take the walk with her to Rondaval, one of the other dwellings on the island, and take the short route back to West Bay. It was my first trip to Rondaval and it was great to get a tour with the custodian of the island. We headed down the hill, back to West Bay where we had a quick swim before heading out to a lunch of Joce pies and salad. Lindy and I had a relaxing afternoon of life admin and blogging. Greg went back to shore for some more exploring and a run.

Whilst ashore Greg ran into Ernst. Ernst had one of the copies of Cruising the Coral Coast, in a zip lock bag and addressed to me. Ernst had been told by Cate to give me the book, and Cate was not one to be argued with. Inside was a note from Cate saying that she had gone and read our blog from our previous adventures to get know Sarah and remember her picture. She had also written a note for me in the book wishing me safe travels. As it turned out it was the 1976 edition of the book, the year I was born. It was such a thoughtful gesture it still brings a tear to my eye as I write this. I have resolved to return to Middle Percy on the way home and every time I traverse this section of coast. When I return I will leave Sarah’s old iPhone so that Cate can update and AirDrop. It seems a trivial gesture to me but will save Cate both money and a trip to the mainland to update something she doesn’t really need to update. The cruising guide I intend to cherish for a long time to come. It will remind me that it the actions of those that appear to have the least possessions to give that show us how beautiful the human spirit can be.

With this little treasure on board we relocated to South Percy where I cooked up a metric ton of lamb chops and we polished off the remaining coleslaw from lunch before retiring to bed. Sure enough the southerly hit around 0200 but the anchorage was sound and comfortable.

8 thoughts on “Middle Percy

  1. Hey – we met you and Sarah when we were at Middle Percy, just for a night over a goat curry, but so enjoyed our conversations and have followed your blog since around that time. I remember your tales of having two Cornish Rex cats onboard… Condolences won’t be much help, but I send them through the ether to you anyway xxx


      1. We’re on Bella Luna – a catamaran. I had dreams of having a boat cat that probably dominated my side of conversation. I think at that point we’d anchored in the lagoon. Which was all fine until… SANDFLIES.


  2. Dear Pete and cruising pals
    Yes Middle Percy Island is a special place and hopefully all the Blog readers will visit one day . Sand flies the only problem so long sleeved clothes and leggings important. Stoke up on Vitamin B apparently helps and eat garlic; not nice but useful is burning mozzy coils or coconut husks The lagoon is handy in a blow if your boat can dry out as the lagoon is tidal 💨
    It was a pleasure to meet such a great group of friends off Wine-Dark Sea during Petes trip north and now off south to complete his momentous mission . I’m so glad you make use of the Lucas Cruising Guide , the older informative versions are best (and that has been handled by many a mariner I guess!) I was so thrilled to hear of the win at Magnetic (specially after being second prior races !) What a lovely surprise being able to display a Maggy Island Race trophy and also achieving the memorial trophy you created for your Sarah 💖 extraordinary . I can’t thank you enough Peter for your thoughtful generosity in giving me Sarah’s super duper iPhone . It is the bestest ever and I love it . So I have already set up the DropBox and simply awaiting an opportunity to use it with visitors for some pics . May the weather be fair to allow the trip to NorthWest Island for a special Occassion on Sarah’s birthday 24September. It is fortuitous that you both made this blog to share and have as a diary 💝⛵️🏝🌺 Cate


  3. It was so nice to meet you Cate and our conversation and cordial on your homestead verandah was one of the highlights of our trip north. Middle Percy is a special place, thank you for your hospitality and kind words. I loved eating the star fruit with you and following your lead, throwing the core out the kitchen window for the goats 🐐. Simple life, great pleasures. Thank you and good luck with that iPhone and airdropping pictures. Lindy


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