Whitsundays (this is a long read!)

20 October: Headed out from Mackay and got a bit of a sail in up to Shaw Island. Settled in at Billbob bay for the evening, but had a bit of a rolly night.

21 October: Time for another haircut for Bob. Did a bit more styling this time with the pocket mirror. Also went for a swim and took the SUP (dinghy with deck broom as a paddle) for a spin. Cleaned some of the boat side as well.

Short trip to check out the now dilapidated resort on Lindeman Island. The facilities are all smashed up and unloved, but we found a couple of deck chairs on the beach for a sunbake.

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Popped up to Plantation Bay for the evening.

22 October: A bit of a motorsail up past Pentecost Island to Whitsunday Island. Checked in to Turtle Bay for the night. Was a bit rolly, but we did see some turtles.

Took the dingly ashore and Bob had a practice with the drone flying and landing on the beach. Started to get the hang of it.

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23 October: Got in a short downwind sail to Hamilton Island in the morning. Had to navigate the tides and large power boats and ferries around Fitzalan Island, but had enough wind for steering. Made a bit of a balls up of the marina docking, as the wind was blowing us off the dock and I didn’t go in with enough reverse momentum. Then the concierge says (after we had tied up), “sorry, there is a boat in next to you and you are too wide, you’ll have to move”. So, we did a bit better the next time in a different berth.

Enjoyed the evening, but didn’t book any restaurants and none of them have walk-ins, so ended up with a burger at the pub. Did met an interesting Canadian / Aussie family though and had a chat.

24 October: Whitehaven! Great weather for boating round the Eastern side of Whitsunday Island today and we had a not too rolly night anchored off the Southern end of Whitehaven beach. This place is all it is talked up to be including the crowds of tourists, helicopters and seaplanes, but it’s a big long beach so you can find your own space easily.

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25 October: Sailed round to Tongue Bay and picked up a mooring. Took the walk over to the lookout over Whitehaven beach with literally hundreds of other tourists. The tour companies get everyone in and out at high tide because at low tide, the beach access to the start of the track is locked in by a reef and you have to paddle or walk the dinghy in.

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We went back at low tide in the evening to have the beach all to ourselves and Bob took some drone footage (hyperlink to vimeo site for video footage).

Anchored just round the corner in Apostle Bay as it was too swelly in Tongue Bay,

26 October: Bob got the drone out for a first test flight off the boat with great success, check out this video! Managed to launch and land it onto the foredeck. Also found out the hard way that the drone blades are rather sharp – need to avoid flying it into yourself….

In the afternoon we went to Border Island for a walk to the lookout (didn’t take the camera, but a pity as the view looking down on the reef is rather nice) and a snorkel. Motored back to Macona Inlet for the night.

27 October: Sailed on a couple of tacks into the wind back to Hayman Island. Took a mooring and went ashore on Langford Island, which is quite picturesque.

Had a school of batfish take residence under the boat while we were ashore and managed to take some gopro footage underwater of them, which was quite nice.

Stayed in Nara Inlet for the evening with at lease 24 other boats. Must be a popular spot for weekenders to go from Airlie Beach. Quite a few large power boats, including “Vegas”, the 4 story behemoth we had previously seen in Hamilton Island. Many vessels with blue underwater lights and party music galore….

28 October:

Arose late, with the most of the rest of the party boaters. Took the dinghy a rather long way up to see the aboriginal cave paintings. Ran out of fuel on the way back and rowed about 1.5 km. Pity the hoons on the jetskis from “Vegas” didn’t care to notice that we would have appreciated a tow back to the boat.

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Took a sail down to Cid Harbour (aka Shark Attack Harbour) and anchored the boat off Sawmill Beach with the intention to do the walk up Whitehaven peak. But, it got a bit too late and hot, so we instead took the nice walk to Dugong beach and back. We also did this walk when here in March this year and it was good to see the rainforest growing back after the cyclone in March 2017. Was a bit too rough and not enough depth for us to anchor nearby so we went back up into Macona Inlet for the night.

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29 October: Off to Airlie Beach. Called in to Abell Point after lunch. Saw a boat towing a unicorn.

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Did some fluffing around and some washing, then met Tom the shipwright to look at the cracks we had discovered in the forehead locker. He was not too worried about it and said he wouldn’t bother patching them if we were just coastal cruising. But we thought it best to have some glass put over it and the sharp edges coved so it won’t crack again. Booked in the work to be done at Hamilton Island Thursday and Friday so they can fit us in with a job already ongoing with the labour available over there. Walked into town for dinner past the beach side lagoon. Very sadly, it was closed because there had been a double drowning (father and son) there the day before. Still not entirely sure of the circumstances, but very sad to hear.

30 October: Still in Airlie Beach. Took a long shower at the “Ocean Club”. It is one of the pontoon from out at the reef that was brought in before the cyclone and refurbished as a Qantas club style shower bay and outdoor BBQ area with free coffee making facilities. It is hardly used and is a bit of a walk from the Northern piers, but worth it. While waiting in the reception for Emily, I also managed to learn about the first aid course that the receptionist was taking online on the computer!

Took the courtesy car (free!), hilux ute, into Cannonvale to do the supermarket shopping and get another fan for the boat. The weather is definitely warming up and we need more cooling devices. How long until we need an air conditioner????

Walked into town again for some clothes shopping / browsing and had a cheap dinner at “Boatys”. All meals $12 and happy hour drinks 4-6pm. Highly recommended! Did I mention it was hot? 32 today (35 yesterday) and humid.

31 October:

Left Airlie in the morning after refuelling and had a good sail in 12-15 kts across to Hamilton Island. We hit 9 kts s.o.g. on a reach 110 degrees off the wind. This is still with the 110% jib, as we haven’t yet fitted the 140% genoa. That should give us even more boat speed. I logged the sail with my Rip Curl Search GPS watch. Was a NNE and you can see where we changed from a reach to downwind gybing.

Capture

Took a mooring at Henning Island for an afternoon stroll, then went to find anchorage. Should have used Gulnare, in the front of the inlet where the tide allowed, or next to Fitzalan passage, but instead we went round to Turtle bay.

1 November: After a rather unpleasant night rolling in the swell at Turtle Bay, we headed into Hamilton Island early. Had arranged for the workers to patch the cracks in the forehead locker and they started at 09:30. We think that the motoring into 22kts wind out of Yeppoon had re-opened the cracks that were previously patched in Sydney before we bought the boat. Better to get it fixed properly now rather than in Asia.

Had for a nice lunch at one of the cafe’s and in the afternoon, went for a swim in the pool and relaxed in the evening on the boat in the fiberglass resin smell – mmmmm! (wasn’t too bad as there was a breeze to clear it). Also found out that the rainbow lorekeets like boysenberry ice cream

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2 November (day 90!): In Hamilton Marina again. The works were completed up in the front locker by midday.

Bob did some tinkering and mounted the Iridium Go! unit, but the hard job of running the aerial cable from the chart table out to the back of the boat remains undone. Rang to activate the SIM for the Iridium and got the app working for the phone. Tested it out with some text messages and they work OK. Sadly, It cost me about $12 of data calls testing the weather app for data, which didn’t work 😦

Our number is +8816 3265 1555 if you want (need) to call or text us. Text is better. For a free message, send an email with just text in the body to “881632651555@msg.iridium.com” and it will come through to us for collection when we turn the unit on next.

There were a couple of big cranes that came over on the ferry to lift a walkway for some maintenance. Things must cost a lot here to get done…..

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Went for another swim in the afternoon and have made a booking to actually be able to have a meal at a restaurant tonight. In fact, we had to book 2 days in advance to get in at all – seems like the restaurant market is demand driven here!

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