The memories of our previous visits to the Whitsunday Islands had dulled after years of living away, but being back has once again blown us away by the majesty and beauty of this stunning cruising ground. A week’s visit by Tasmanian friends Richard and Samantha Trethewie, and a delightful surprise evening with Crick and Mary Anne Warner (who have been tracking us on YB Tracker) on Hamilton Island have all added to our enjoyment of being “home”. A 4 day catch up with our treasured daughter just a short flight away was the icing on the cake.
Keswick, Goldsmith, Thomas, Shaw, Hamilton, Hook, Hayman, Border and Whitsunday Islands have all provided us with walks, a somewhat chilly swim or snorkel or just a beautiful bay to anchor safely in so as to enjoy the ambience of the island group. Sadly, many of the resorts have been left devastated by Cyclone Debbie and are still in the rebuild stage so most of our non sailing entertainment was centred on Hamilton Island. Golf, go karting and a seventieth birthday party kept the Rally busy!
The freedom of sailing on our own boat has enabled us to visit the outer reef off Airlie Beach normally out of range for most bareboat charter yachts. Hook, Line and Sinker Reefs offer some anchorages, reasonable snorkelling (the coral is regenerating slowly from weather and industry assault) and at Line Reef a waterfall in the middle of the Coral Sea….extraordinary! We had fun hightailing it along its course and being catapulted into the lagoon created by the Reef.
A scenic fixed wing flight over the same area gave us a perfect view of the area of Reef below us.
Plastics have been a blight on the oceans since we started our odyssey and although we have seen much washed up on shores and beaches all over the Pacific, we were very surprised to discover a beach on Shaw Island rubbished with the plastic debris of human existence – toothbrushes, thongs (flip flops), bottles of many shapes and sizes, ropes, just to name a few. With the help of Calum, and his girlfriend Kirsty, we collected as much as we could fit in our tender, “Winkle”, and towed and deposited it in Airlie Beach. Every little bit helps!
Our sights are now set north. James and Calum kept themselves amused on our sail to Magnetic Island hoisting our spinnaker (which coincidentally is red and blue, the colours of the mighty Demons) and then the Cruising Shute – unbeknown to them at the time, our mail sail has become unusable so either or both sails will hopefully get us to Cairns to get it fixed! C’est la vie!