Pearl Bay is 50 nM north of the marina at Rosslyn Bay (Yeppoon) or 53 nM north of Great Keppel Island. If coming from the north, Pearl Bay lies 9 nM south of Island Head Creek.
We found this anchorage to be safe and secure in SW to SE winds, and remained comfortable up to 15 knots. Once the wind gets over 15 knots some swell can be felt rolling under your keel on a flooding tide.
Before deciding on this anchorage check the QLD Notice to Mariners to make sure this anchorage is not closed for military operations.
Approach and Anchoring
If coming from the south, stay north and east of Delcomyn Island. As you approach, your line of sight might make it tempting to cut the corner. Beware! The water between Delcomyn Island north of Ranken Island is unsurveyed. We have seen boats go through here but we can only assume they have local knowledge or are foolhardy. Whatever the case little is gained by cutting this corner, so delay your turn to port until clear of Delcomyn's northern shore and fringing rocky ledge.
Entry is straightforward keeping your keel in deep water (10-20 meters) until you approach the narrow bit between the rocky island and the mainland that cradles Pearl Bay. Stay on a heading roughly bearing 220 degrees true until you've crossed into shallower (5 meters) of water.
At this juncture the tide can be quite swift so have your engine going, especially as the high peaks surrounding the bay make the wind fluky.
Once inside proceed to the anchoring position as indicated on the map taking note of the rocks and poor holding ground as noted. When we were here, a catamaran was anchored inside this space, but we saw many boats come into the anchorage and try to anchor in that space to no avail - they just couldn't get their anchors to hold.
Don't go too far west along the beach as swell tends to invade that part of Pearl Bay more so than where we anchored.
This entire area is part of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and under the control of the Australian Defence Department. Going ashore according to the rule book is not allowed, but is tolerated as long as you stick to the beach. There is a sign on the beach reminding you of such. Don't disobey this sign.
The high peaks surrounding the anchorage make a wonderful wind break and offer an amazing backdrop to your vista. Enjoy Pearl Bay for once you travel north anchorages this calm and spectacular become rarer.
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