Sunday, June 17, 2012
Whitsunday Islands - 17/06/2012
Today was a day of chores I brought our small washing machine out and due to the bending and lifting water drums I did the washing as it would have caused problems with Nancy's back due to a past history of damage from her gym days. So I did the washing and Nancy got busy cooking bread and a cake along with some inside cleaning. Nancy has always complained about the oven in our galley after talking to Rick of 'Neriki' he said he had a similar problem and pulled the burner out and found it partially blocked so I followed suit and found a small speck of something in the small jet so now the oven is working a lot better.
Anyway I did the washing and our cockpit looked like a Chinese laundry for the day. The rest of the day was taken up with a few little chores and a quiet night.
The weather today was sunny and the wind had dropped to 5 - 10 knots so we all decided to sail the 3 NMS across to the southern end of Lindeman's Island, I got there first and dropped anchor to the east side of the public jetty. As I previously mentioned that the resort was closed down and they do have moorings out off the beach and one this side of the jetty. I did not use the mooring as I thought it would be good for 'Forever Dreaming' as they only have 30 metres of anchor chain plus additional rope if required, both 'Neriki' and I have 70 metres of chain being larger yachts.
Once we were all settled we lowered the dinghies and motored to the public jetty and climbed ashore. The first thing Nancy noticed on the jetty was about six fishing lines resting along the jetty's fence. Most of them looked new and unused one that I noticed had a hook on the line it looked very new and there was no sinker attached. We was not sure whether they had been set up to make it look like there were a few people staying here or the fisherman was a novice.
(The entrance to Lindeman Island at the end of the jetty)
The resort has tape and signs at most walkways stating authorised personnel only so we all walked past the resort and up the hill our intention was to walk the 3.6 kms to Mt Oldfield 212 metres in height. We assumed that this place had a caretaker but it was obvious that they did not do much in regard to keeping the place tidy the pathways to the resort units were full of dried leaves that had fallen from the trees.
Outside of the resort is all National Park and I would assume like most National Parks the walking tracks are their responsibility. The tracks have not been maintained since the resort has closed down this has happened at Brampton Island as well being no tourist to the resort they are taken off the maintenance list. This is different to the Newry's, but the Newry's are different because they have camping grounds so tourist may still go there. Places like Brampton and Lindeman only us grotty yachties visit and maybe very few of us do these walks.
(A Purple Swamp Hen running off as we walked past the resort)
(A Curlew in the resort grounds quite common on most islands, they can be heard in the night hours they give a mournful cry almost like a baby crying)
Michelle lead the way on the walk and grabbed a long stick and as she walked she cleared the path with the stick at the beginning of the walk there are boardwalks over swamp lands that had fallen palm leaves that had dried when she pushed these off the path it was quite noisy which stirred up the fruit bats, so if no one had seen us land they sure knew someone had now.
The tracks weren't too bad just overgrown with grass and leaves and an occasional fallen branch Michelle cleared most of it and I helped as we went along. It was a beautiful day and as were got to the top of the mountain there were great views all around. We stayed and took in the views and had a little rest before the 3.6 kms walk back.
(Looking from near the top of Mt Oldfield with the resort down below)
(Top of Mt Oldfield looking south to Shaw Island)
(Top of Mt Oldfield looking north Pentecost Island in the forefront)
(A National Parks controlled burn probably on the mainland or back of Long Island)
When we got back to the jetty we talked about what next. My suggestion was to head for Gap Bay in the north of the island, where we were anchored the swell rolled in from the SSW as was the wind so this put us on a lee shore and it was a little uncomfortable if the swell increased. Everyone agreed so we returned to our boats and weighed anchor. There was little wind to sail by and what there was would be sheltered by the island as we went north.
(Lindeman Island as we motor north on the east side)
We got to Gap Bay and dropped anchor, it was just about flat calm, just after everyone was settled Michelle came over in the dinghy and invited us all over for dinner. It was Michelle's last night before flying home for a couple of weeks for her grandchildren fix. She was flying out from Hamilton Island to go home check on the house and visit the granddaughters whilst Rick stayed with the boat.
(Lindeman Island chart showing the anchorages)
We had our showers and went over to 'Neriki' in the dinghy, we had another great night with Michelle, Rick, Gary, Mercedes and of course the love of my life Nancy. We left to go back to our boats about 2200 hours.
Today 'Neriki' was off to Hamilton Island to drop Michelle off and 'Forever Dreaming' was heading for Whitehaven Beach, we initially was going to stay where we were but then we changed our minds and thought we may go around to Boat Port on the NW corner of Lindeman Island, one of the reasons was that we wanted internet coverage to check emails and weather. However, when we got there the SSW wind was blowing and the wind waves and swell was rolling in on that bay so we changed course and thought we may try Fitzalan Beach anchorage north of Fitzalan Passage, north of Hamilton Island. We got there and anchored. After anchoring I surveyed the area and decided that I would not like to spend the evening there due to wind direction and the wind speed that tends to increase around Hamilton Island. Nancy got on the net and looked at the wind charts, it had changed since last night's predictions meaning the wind was on the increase. So we decided that we would head for Whitehaven Beach.
We hoisted the mainsail before pulling the anchor as we were facing the wind head on, after we left the anchorage we unfurled the headsail and shut the engines down and we had a fine sail of around 8.5 knots we sailed across to Solway Pass and had the wind and tide in favour to sail through Solway Pass. Solway Pass can be quite turbulent and has been known to throw yachts about which can prove very dangerous. As we got to Whitehaven we dropped sails and motored into an anchorage, I anchored a little further north than most yachts as I have been here times before and everyone including the big tourist boats want to anchor in the area where the walks are at the southern end of the beach, it also gives greater wind protection there.
(Chart showing our track for the two days from the Shaw Island anchorage through to Whitehaven Beach)
(Anchorages near Fitzalan Passage, they are good in NW to SE winds)
About mid afternoon Mercedes called us on the radio and asked if we would like to join them for an early sundowners before the sun lost its heat. How could we refuse, so we grabbed some nibbles a few drinks and ashore to the beach we went. We sat and enjoyed the sun but as soon as it was going behind the hill we all took off in our dinghies before the evening chill.
(Whitehaven Beach and anchorage)
(Whitehaven Beach anchorage, Solway Pass can be very turbulent in full tide flow and strong winds, can be very dangerous)
Nancy started to prepare the evening meal and said we had fish or was that chicken? I have to write this as I found it to be funny, Nancy will probably kill me but I had to laugh.
Nancy said she got fish out for dinner that I would cook on the BBQ which is normal I cook most nights the meat on the barbie. Maybe I should tell the whole story first. A few weeks ago Nancy pulled a pack out of the freezer to thaw for dinner that night she told me she had got some chicken pieces out. After it had thawed and it was time to cook I took the meat out to the barbie and looking at it I thought this is not chicken and when I took it out of the gladwrap it was pork. So we had a bit of a laugh about it.
Last night she said we had fish and before I got up to get it to cook, she said I am sure this time it is fish because I smelt it and it smelt of fish. I sat there waiting for her to get things ready and she opened the gladwrap and it turned out to be chicken. So again we had a bit of a laugh about it. I got up and started the gas barbie then started to cook the chicken. Whilst doing this Nancy was in the galley getting the vegetables organised and I casually said to her, "When we go into Airlie Beach I must make a doctor's appointment to get scanned as part of my check-up for the melanoma I had removed and whilst we there we may get your nose fixed. At first she looked at me questioning and asked "my nose"? Then she realised that I was having a go at her about the chicken smelling like fish. She just laughed and said "I walked into that one didn't I". That's what I love about her she can put up with my terrible sense of humour.
This morning we decided to head into Tongue Bay so after sunrise and a cup of tea we motored north to Tongue Bay and dropped anchor once settled we sat down and had a nice breakfast. Our plan for the morning was to do a few chores, I dragged the washing machine out again and washed the towels and sheets whilst Nancy cooked bread and cake and cleaned inside. Being all finished by lunch time, we had lunch and had a read of our books then at 1400 hours we picked up Gary and Mercedes off 'Forever Dreaming' and took them ashore for the walk to the lookout at low tide. They had done the morning walk at high tide and we had suggested to see it at low tide to see the difference.
(Tongue Bay anchorage, you can go quite deep into the bay without much trouble although chart plotters indicate a little different.)
When we got around to the beach around Whitehaven side in the dinghy the seas had picked up and the wind was blowing which we could not feel in Tongue Bay. I suggested that I drop the three of them off at the beach and then I would go around the Tongue Bay side and walk the dinghy through the shallow water through the coral and meet them at the lookout.
When I got back to the Tongue Bay side I cut the outboard as I neared the reef and lifted it out of the water, I stood facing the bow and rowed from this standing position so I could see and make sure I did not hit any coral, I went as far as I could then got out of the dinghy and walked the dinghy as close to shore as possible. I had to walk a crooked path to ensure no damage to any of the live coral which was very attractive. I also saw stingrays darting off as I neared them plus turtles and fish. I got as close to shore as possible then put the dinghy in a clearing and secured it there before heading ashore and of up the walk to the lookout. It was quite a low tide today and Hill Inlet was almost all sand, the unfortunate part was the clouds had moved in and the sun was behind them, it is an incredible view when lit by the sun.
When we got back to where the dinghy was the tide had started to come in but we had to wait for more depth before we could put everyone in the dinghy and not hit bottom. Gary opened up a coconut that he had for Mercedes but it had already started regrowth and when he opened it there was a seed inside.
(Hill Inlet at low tide)
(Tongue Bay anchorage, probably not showing its normal beauty with overcast skies and a very low tide showing the mud and dead coral)
(Mercedes with the split coconut with the seed inside)
We eventually had enough depth to get the dinghy out and return on board and after showers Gary and Mercedes came over for sundowners. Whilst we had sundowners we sat and watched a dugong swimming and diving between our boats and like most magical moments when we got the cameras ready he/she did not surface as soon as the cameras were put down up it came again, so you will have to take my word for it, it was magical. Another splendid day.