Review: Going Troppo

GoingtroppoWritten by Townsville couple David Haynes and Sue Mulvaney, Going Troppo starts at Bowen, conveniently taking up where the Whitsunday’s ‘Bible’ 100 Magic Miles finishes. It covers mainland and island anchorages all the way north on the inner reef route to Lizard Island, which is the traditional most northerly anchorage for coastal cruisers who aren’t going over the top to Darwin and beyond.

Providing detailed sketch maps for 77 anchorages, accompanied by 37 aerial photographs, Going Troppo sets out cruising notes in a logical, easily read format. The anchorage sketch maps are smartly illustrated, with good use of colour and graphics to distinguish coastal features. Advice is offered on alternative anchorages wherever appropriate. Concise information is given on regional cruising areas, with comprehensive detail on towns along the way as well as the essential facilities available, including marinas, ports and harbours. Coastguard contact phone and VHF details are noted.

For the non-navigators onboard, there’s a good dose of fascinating history, creating an interesting book to peruse for pure pleasure. In fact, the early pages are an intriguing romp through indigenous and European history, following the original chart makers along the north Queensland coast. The authors also touch on some of the colourful convict era characters in the region in the late 1700’s.

More pertinent to cruisers, however is comprehensive coverage of nasties that apply to this particular region, providing invaluable advice on the hazards of northern Queensland. Jellyfish, crocodiles and cyclones are just some of the hazards discussed, with sensible precautions offered to lessen the risk of encountering danger.

But not all the wildlife is quite so threatening, and the authors allow plenty of space and illustrations to inform readers of bird and wildlife likely to be encountered. There’s also a summary of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zones, an easy ‘ready reckoner’ for cruisers unsure about what activities are permitted, and where.

Going Troppo is clearly written by authors who have an intimate knowledge of the cruising area, but who also seem to enjoy the delights of the region beyond the actual cruising part of voyaging. David was introduced to sailing in Melbourne, crewing regularly on a yacht from the Sandringham Yacht Club. David is a Marine Biologist while Sue is a Science Teacher, they moved their family northwards from Victoria in 1995. They quickly joined the Townsville Sailing Club, and began exploring the Great Barrier Reef in their 43ft steel cutter Janis. David’s field work takes him regularly into the islands and reef, while Sue is most happy exploring the coast in a canoe or kayak.

Verdict: Highly recommended