Goldsmith – Blacksmith Island

by Rod

in Sea Kayaking

Just a bit of history

In July 1820 Lieutenant Phillip Parker King RN a naval officer and hydrographer on the HM Colonial Cutter Mermaid named the group of islands after Sir James Edward Smith (1759 – 1828) a noted English botanist. Sir James Edward Smith in 1783 purchased the library, manuscripts, herbarium, and natural history collections made byu Linnaeus and his farther. He devoted his studies to natural history and mainly botany.  Then in 1879 Staff Commander E.P. Bedwell RN,SS Llewellyn must have thought the name “Smith” would be a good play on words and named the islands in the group after the smth’s trade of metal working. So the islands in the group are named Anchorsmith, Anvil, Bellows, Blacksmith, Bullion, Cash ( now Farrier), Forge, Goldsmith, Hammer, Ingot, Silversmith, Specie, Tinsmith, and Ladysmith Islands. Bedwell named many of the islands through the Whitsunday group.

Day 3 Goldsmith - Blacksmith Island

Day 1 Link

Day 2 Link

Day 3 of our Cumberland Island Adventure

Goldsmith Island put on a beautiful start to the third day of our sea kayaking adventure. The National Park beach for our camp over night was well protected from the southerly breezes which were still blowing. Again this camp site didn’t look like it had seen any maintenance in a long time. The only facility was a toilet behind the Goldsmith Island National Parks sign, but it was a great spot to camp. There wasn’t a lot of beach left because the tide was nearly full and that meant we only had a couple of meters to carry the kayaks to the water.

Leaving Goldsmith Island

Our goal for the day was to paddle along the western side of Goldsmith Island, between Goldsmith and Farrier Islands. Farrier Island has a house on it and is the only island in the group which is not National Park. When we reached the western end and then we were back out in the open with a 20km/hr southerly wind to blow us north to Ladysmith Island.  This small group of islands is a sub group of the Sir James Smith Group. They include Anchorsmith, Anvil, Blacksmith, Hammer, Bellows, Ladysmith, Forge Rocks, And Pincer Islands and the group is called Anchor Islands. With this wind coming almost directly from the south and the tide pushing us north we had to point our kayaks almost west to maintain the direction we wanted to travel. Again we made good time in the crossing. Dav had his GPS working and at some stages we were travelling at up to 10kms/hr.

Col & Farrier Island

Ladysmith and Blacksmith Islands are connected with a very rough and rocky causeway and would only be separate islands on a very high tide. This turned out to be our shortest day’s paddle covering only 11.3 kms. The beach we decided to camp on was a coral rubble beach and even in amongst the trees it was all coral rubble and rocks. Because of the direction of the wind and the shape of Ladysmith and Blacksmith Islands there was almost no protection in the bays. This sort of camp builds character. Col was glad he had a hammock and didn’t have to find a smooth piece of ground for a tent. The rest of us were spread out along the beach, just to find a 2 x 1 meter piece of flat ground to set up our tent. Our camp site was on a narrow neck of the island and was only about 40meters across to the other beach. We built a table out of driftwood and we were set.

Dav & the rocky beach on Blacksmith Island

It is great to lie in your tent at night and watch the moonlight shining on the water, the silhouette of the islands in the distance and listen to the waves wash up on the beach. That is sea kayak camping.

Rough camp on Blacksmith Island

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