Whitsunday dreaming…

 

Welcoming party

Two long days of sailing found us back at the Whitsundays. Our first day of sailing had us on the go from 0730hrs. We left Townsville behind us and rounded Cape Cleveland, aiming on an anchorage off Cape Bowling Green by early afternoon.

Typically, Cape Bowling Green was it’s usual unwelcoming self in the afternoon seabreeze, so we sallied forth to Cape Upstart another thirty or so nautical miles along. The water’s fairly shallow here, so when a sea breeze blows against a tidal push it can get a bit unpleasant. Which it did.

We arrived at Cape Upstart at 2030 hrs, anchored in the dark and fell into a deeply needed sleep.

Off the next day to Montes at Gloucester Passage and we were happy to arrive in time to pump up the dinghy and venture ashore for another great meal. There are few places on the east coast of Australia as welcoming and relaxed as Montes. The food is always good and the relaxation factor of eating right on the beach at sunset is magical! The following morning we made our passage down through the northernmost Islands of the Whitsundays. These, we feel are the unknown gems of the Whitsundays. Quietly isolated from charter yachts, they sport beautiful beaches and are set in clear turquoise water. The Mainland offers several large deep bays giving great protection from the SE trade winds.

We sailed on, heading for Airlie Beach and seeking shelter from the next week of strong South Easterly winds,arriving on Friday afternoon.

Sunday provided a weather window to escape from the marina for a day. We headed out into the oily eerie calm which we have noticed usually descends on the Whitsundays the day before a well established SE blow. We motored across the passage to Bali Hai island, also known as Black Island. It’s just off Hayman Island and opposite the Stonehaven anchorage. Even before we picked up the mooring line a school of large batfish buzzed us. The water, thanks to the recent northerly winds was flat and clear. The snorkelling was fantastic, great coral and lots of fish. A turtle circled our boat at a safe distance. We hand fed the batfish, who were mostly polite, just occasionally mistaking our fingers for food! At two pm we noted the cold air clouds high in the sky and headed back to the marina. A gift of a day in what will be a week of marina locked life! Today the forecast wind has filled in and we have kept ourselves busy with boat tasks. Our topsides are now gleaming and varnishing the navigation desk and oiling the teak is on the to do list for the rest of the week. No good weather for sailing south until Saturday at the least!

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