|Leaving Jonah-photos never depict sea conditions!|
As it was dusk it was full steam ahead to find an anchorage prior to darkness. The passage was well marked with beacons although very shallow in parts.
|Leaving Jonah-photos never depict sea conditions!|
|heading toward the passage, Gloucester Island on foreground right|
It was a surprise to come out the other end as our intended anchorage was chockers with yachts. A little strange we thought. With very little room we headed around Shag Islet to the next anchorage, passing a cruising shark as we left the passage. This anchorage was also pretty full but had room for us, so as the showers commenced we dropped our anchor in the bay outside Cape Gloucester Eco resort. Once settled we noticed an array of dressed yachts, many flying a pirates flag. A little strange we thought.
The next morning we dinghied to the nearest beach where non-boating locals informed us it was "that yearly gathering of grubby yachts". Further inquires - Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club annual meeting. Our friend Sue who had been a member for a few years had told us about the club- everyone becomes vice commodore of a location which gives reciprocating rights at any yacht club. They have thousands of members and the annual meeting has become a mecca for some. You don't need to sail to become a member, it appears to be a finger salute to snotty yacht clubs. We met some friendly people over the weekend, attending a few functions, which was centered around Monte's Reef Resort and featured drinking and music. Unfortunately some members take their pirate image too seriously, with some of our clothing stolen. The girls had a great time romping on the dog friendly beach and partaking in some serious swimming. It was a beautiful location so after the majority of yachts left we stayed an additional week, soaking up the vista and enjoying coffee stops at Montes and indulging in dinner at the Eco Resort.
the perfect sunset with Shag Islet in the background
Ahh peace at last
AK checking out the view with the skipper of SY Prudence at Montes
AK was due to return to Mackay for TAFE so Bowen was our next stop. Townsville Hospital was offered as clinical placement so our plan for cruising to Cairns was altered. Plan V in our cruising life!
|just a few crew to keep it running!|
|Beautiful Driftwood Bay|
Marg helmed while AK stood on the back deck trying to find mobile range as the colour of the races materialised.
Anni, noticed on your blog you where up for race week, would have loved to have caught up with you. Next time!
|Why can't I go too?|
100 Magic Miles states "Whitehaven is an incredible expanse of pure white sand, the legacy of a geologic era when the sea level was lower. It is a magnificent beach, and one that is understandably popular with all and sundry.."
On our walk back to our anchorage it was duck for cover as numerous helicopters landed on the beach to spew their groups of picnickers onto the sand. The tourist cats had also landed and the beach was busy with groups swimming, playing ball games and lunching. A seaplane also made frequent stops, landing amongst the busy anchorage. But of course no dogs allowed! Jacki was keen to catch a helicopter. The smell of avgas and suntan lotion was in the air.
We spent another very rolly night before leaving for Gulnare Inlet the next afternoon. We spent the following day exploring the inlet.
"There are endless opportunities for exploring in the dinghy. It is possible at high tide to go for miles up the estuary through mangroves....about half a mile from the anchorage on the right there is a mangrove creek that turns back to the south. Around the turn of the 20th century Martin Cunningham built a tramway to move timber from the surrounding hills along the flat and into the inlet, from where it was towed back to the sawmill at Cid Harbour (Sawmill Beach)....A cruise ship anchorage has been established (just outside the inlet). Keep well clear of any ship in this area, as it will have its hands full just manoeuvring in this current swept area."
Next stop Hamilton Island.
|Anchorage at Cid Harbour|
|View from Whitsunday Island|
|spot the goanna|
|Airlie main beach|
|dugong on Cannonvale walk|
|the uninsured on the beach at Muddy bay|
|Boat maintenance for dummies|
The great thing about cruising the Whitsundays is that there are plenty of anchorages not too far apart. Unfortunately on this day most of them were very smokey! We headed off to Long Island anticipating that if we anchored on the western side the island would absorb some of the smoke. We were doing 6kts under mainsail so entered Long Island Sound (waterway between Long Island and the mainland) where the eddies reduced our speed to less than 2kts. We were very pleased to find Happy Bay where we anchored at 1730hrs.
There were three resorts on Long Island when tourism was big business, the first called Paradise Bay on the southern end of the island appeared to be shut, The second, Palm Bay had pretty much closed until a caretaker opened it to yachties on a BYO basis. We later met crews who visited regularly. The third resort in Happy Bay appeared to be functioning, with a seaplane dropping visitors off at the jetty which kept us entertained the next morning.
100 Magic Miles states "Happy Bay...opened in the 1930's and it went on in a homely style for many years. Happy Bay has a sense of history about it, cannonballs and old wrecks having been found on the beach, testimony that the island and Port Molle used to be a favoured stopover for early ships - including beche-de-mer fishermen and survey ships, some of the latter probably having some gunnery practice while at anchor."
The next morning was bright and sunny and Ruby alerted us to dolphins around Manatee. Happy, happy day!
We left after lunch to have a gander at Shute Harbour and Daydream Island (actually called West Molle- but not sure that name would entice visitors!)
Once we left the protection of Long Island, our fabulous sunny day became hazy with smoke. We headed north until the air was clear, anchoring at Airlie Beach at 1500hrs.
|Finger and Thumb rocks|
|Manatee at anchor Minnie Hall Bay|
The next day the weather did turn, so the day was spent on Manatee. Our time here will be fondly remembered as a real estate agent from Southport rang and asked if we were interested in selling our unit. Are we what! Yep he had a buyer interested. Hallelujah.
|The closed resort on Brampton Island|
|Runway at sunset|
|Carlisle Island campsite beach|
|Is this beautiful or what?|
The next day we all explored in the dinghy, finding Turtle Bay on the south eastern side of Brampton. Our log reads "swam and Marg snorkelled. Lots of small turtles and one massive girl who at first glance appeared to be a rock-on close inspection she was 1/2 dinghy size."
|Life guards watching snorkelling activity|
|Locals playing on the golf course|
|Main resort pool, now home to fish!|
|More locals enjoying resort living!|
We left 5 days later-very happy and very relaxed!
|Egremont Pass visible after front passes over|
|Keswick Island general store passing in a blur|
|Aircraft on late finals at Keswick|
|Leaving St Bees/ Keswick on a clear day|