Sunday, July 29, 2012

Whitsunday Islands

Sunday 29/07/2012
We are currently anchored at May's Bay and may stay for a few days.

Just a few more pictures taken during the last few days.
(Sawmill Beach at low tide Cid Harbour, the rocky section from the left is the main creek that comes down from Whitsunday Island Peak catchment area and flow quite well during large rains, it continues to trickle many weeks after rain. The land mass in the centre is Cid Island)

(Blast from the past - this is the creek at Whitsunday Island in flood this was taken 2 yrs ago in the month of October, I often when anchored in Cid Harbour for a lengthy period collect water from the creek as it is usually trickling and use it to wash the boat)
(Dugong Beach, this beach is in the northern end of Cid Harbour it offers basic camp ground facilities but I think you require a National Parks permit. Many small boats like tinnies come over from the mainland during holidays and weekends and camp here and then go out fishing)

(One of the common lizards seen here are the Eastern Water Skink, this one froze in this position hoping by not moving we would not see it)

(A Lace Monitor/Goanna, this one has come from the shade to warm in the sun it went towards a stone that had been warmed in the sun and just laid down and rested it's head on it)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sailing around the Whitsunday's

Tuesday 24/07/2012

We had a call from a friend Reece from the Blue Water Sailing group on Facebook the other day, he and his wife Shirley had arrived in Airlie Beach so we said we would catch up with them whilst they were here and we had made plans to see them on Wednesday but looking at the weather we changed plans and headed to Airlie today.

We left first thing this morning before the strong wind kicked in and having wind against tide through the Whitsunday Passage as it was we had a good sail across to Airlie sailing between 7 and 8 knots most of the way.

(This video is taken sailing across Whitsunday Passage, sailing at speeds between 7 and 8 knots, we had a reasonably good sail and managed to sail the rhumb line straight to Airlie Beach)

We decided we would go into the expensive Abel Point Marina for one night and give the boat a good clean do some shopping and meet Reece and Shirley. We contacted Reece and invited him to come out for a sail on Wednesday and arranged to meet them at Sorentino's for a drink at sundowners. So once all the work was done we headed for Sorentino's. We met Reece but Shirley was not feeling too well and she had stayed at their accommodation. After meeting Reece we invited he and Shirley to spend a couple of days on the water with us having an overnight stay at one of the anchorages. I think Reece was quite pleased, we took him down to see the boat so he knew where to come the next morning, he then left to tell Shirley the news.

After Reece left I asked Nancy what she had got out for dinner and we had both forgot to get something out so we went back to Sorentino's for a meal and I must say it was very nice. On Tuesdays they have an oyster special making a variety of different ways to have oysters we got a dozen of mixed with the six different varieties and the one that we had last that we initially thought was some sort of dip in small shot glasses were actually an extra and was oysters in a shot of Bloody Mary, man were they nice. The oyster specials are only on Tuesdays after 1700 hours.

Wednesday 25/07/2012 - Airlie to Tongue Bay to Macona Inlet

Reece and Shirley arrived just after 0800 hours and we were almost ready to get going Nancy and I was just finishing breakfast but the boat was ready to go we just had to return the key to the office and put the hose away, single up the lines and go.

(Reece and Shirley enjoying the sail across to Togue Bay)

We motored out of the marina and we motor sailed until we reached Pioneer Point as the wind varied until we were around the point, we unfurled the headsail and set the mainsail and with engines shut down we sailed at 8 - 8.5 knots. The plan now was to sail over to Hook Passage, passing through there and then down to Tongue Bay. When we had  passed through Hook Passage  we headed south with the wind on the nose we had to start the engines. We entered Tongue Bay and there were two public moorings vacant however, we chose to anchor, I prefer to anchor where I know it is good holding as the mooring buoys can do damage to the boat as they tend to have long tails on the float buoy and at times they rub on the antifouling and wear it away it takes some setting up to ensure this does not happen.

Once we were secure we lowered the dinghy and all went ashore to show Reece and Shirley the views from the Hill Inlet lookout, there were a few tourist maxi yachts arriving with many groups aboard and we wanted to get up to the lookout before they all arrived and crowded the place.

('Solway Lass' anchored in Tongue Bay, this ship takes tourist on overnight tours around the Whitsunday's)
(Tongue Bay anchorage, tourists waiting for the dinghy to come in to take them back to their boat)

The lookout is about a fifteen minute walk with the hardest part at the start going up the many steps  but they are not that difficult. The view was magnificent as usual from the lookout platform, the incredible blue water and white sands. The water was clear and you could see stingrays in the shallow waters. I think Reece and Shirley were impressed. We returned back on board and got underway again, unfortunately the wind had dropped so it was iron sails once again, we headed back to Hook Passage and then into Macona Inlet where we anchored for the night. We had the whole inlet to ourselves. We had a pleasant evening although it was cool outside.
(Hill Inlet 2 hours after high tide)
(Nancy, Shirley and Reece at the Hill Inlet lookout)
(Hill Inlet from the second lookout point)

Thursday 26/07/2012 - Macona Inlet to Cid Harbour to Airlie Beach

This morning the wind was still and the seas flat like glass and we were treated to the view of dolphins and turtles swimming around the boat after watching them for a while we had breakfast and when that was complete we set off for Cid Harbour unfortunately we had to motor once again. We anchored near the beach as we were going to go ashore. After anchoring we lowered the dinghy and everyone got in and just as we moved away we noticed Virginia on 'Overproof' was heading towards us so we went over to say hello. We continued ashore and Nancy and Shirley went shell hunting, Shirley stated that there are very few in WA. Reece and I went for a walk over to Dugong Beach seeing a small snake, small lizards and goannas along the way. We spent a couple of hours there before returning aboard and setting off this time under sail back to Airlie Beach via Hunt Channel  between Whitsunday  and Cid Islands, then over to South Molle Island through Unsafe Passage and then on to Airlie. We entered the Abel Point marina complex and went alongside the Public Dock to let Reece and Shirley off and whilst there we topped up with water when we finished we went out and anchored. We then had a quiet night aboard.

Friday 27/07/2012 - Airlie to Cid Harbour

Today was shopping, we walked to the Whitsunday shopping centre and did some grocery shopping caught a taxi back to the public dock where we had left the dinghy  loaded all the stores and returned on board. I did a small fuel run and as I was returning to the boat NE winds kicked in making the anchorage uncomfortable I said to Nancy that if this does not back off we might set off after seeing Reece and Shirley at Sorentino's for sundowners.

We went ashore and met Reece and Shirley on the way to Sorentino's when we got there I ordered a couple of pizzas as they have 2 for the price of 1 between 1500 and 1700 hours so it was early dinner for us. The wind and wave direction stayed the same so when we finished sundowners we headed back to the boat, Reece and Shirley walked us back to the dinghy and gave us a package which I thought was goods they had bought for their stay and was surplus to their needs, however when we returned to the boat and Nancy went to unpack it we noticed that they had purposely gone out to shop for some items for us, it was very nice of them. We weighed anchor and headed over to Cid Harbour we did not arrive until 2030 hours and there was a large number of boats already there so we slowly motored around and looked for a good spot to drop anchor. We were lucky that we had moonlight that assisted us in seeing the other boats. Just as we were anchoring the wind change came in this is also a reason for leaving Airlie Beach anchorage a strong SW wind was due to hit around midnight and would change to S by morning so it was better to get across the passages prior to the change as it turned out the SW change was very short time and swung to the south, it was a very windy night and woke me a couple of times.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

May's Bay & Bernie's Beach anchorage

Thursday 19/07/2012

We went ashore to explore Bernie's beach today and have a little exercise we had a partly sunny day which was pleasant. This anchorage is good for the current winds which are S-SE 20 - 25 knots. We do get an occasional bullet of wind but less than in Cid Harbour. We also get an occasional small swell creep around the corner but it is not uncomfortable.
(Bernie's Beach looking over May's Bay anchorage)

(East end of Bernie's Beach)

When we got back on board Nancy downloaded her photos and commenced work on them, the sun was reflecting on the computer screen so she put a shield using one of the folding cockpit cushions when the sun set and Nancy was still on the computer, I said jokingly and at the same time moved the cushion, "I don't think you need this now Nancy?" Nancy suddenly jumped, I had knocked Nancy's drink over and it went over the keyboard of the computer. We lifted the computer as to drain the liquid (soda water and lime cordial) then used the vacuum cleaner to try and pick up any remaining liquid, all appeared to be alright.

We had dinner and a quiet night.

Friday 20/07/2012

(Twilight at May's Bay)

Nancy started her computer up this morning but could not sign in as half the keys on the key board are not working. Bugger!!!! I tried a few things but with no result. I was going to replace this computer at Christmas, it looks like I have to do something a little sooner. Another major point is if Nancy is out here all weekend not being able to work on her photography I don't think it would be a good place to be, so for self preservation I had better buy her a knew computer.

We chose this anchorage for the protection against the predicted winds and today the winds predicted are 20 -25 knots and the tide is coming in so the waves in the Whitsunday Passage will be standing up. I said to Nancy we had better sail back to Airlie and get you that new computer. So we got ready to sail, we secured everything as we will rock a little with a beam on sea as we cross the passage.

We weighed anchor and headed out  under headsail as the wind will be slightly after on the port side and with the beam on standing sea it will cause the boom to slap and shake wind out of the mainsail if we used that.
(This video was the result of Nancy using my little Olympus camera, she took lots of small vids and I have produced it by rearranging all the clips and joining them. The video does not identify the roughness of the sea what was in our favour was that we angled slightly so the sea was not on full beam.)

As soon as it turned 0900 hours I phoned Harvey Norman Store, I had already checked around for a suitable computer on the net and they had a good one on special, fortunately for me they had one left in stock and Mark the manager put it away for me. We dropped anchor outside the north wall of Abel Point Marina for a short dinghy ride into 'A' dock secure the dinghy and walk to town to catch the bus to Centro Shopping Centre. We arrived at the shop and met Mark the manager and Jason the computer technician. Jason used a program to delete the password so Nancy could get into the computer to check she had everything backed up on her external hard drives, we also purchased a cheap key board so that the computer may still be used.

We then had a bite of lunch before catching the bus back to Airlie and return to the boat, as soon as we returned we hoisted the dinghy and got ready to sail back to May's Bay. The wind had dropped down to around 15 knots so we hoisted the mainsail and then unfurled the headsail and shut down the engines. The chill factor with this wind from the SE was not good, the sun was shiningbut the wind went right through you.
(Sunsets over the mainland from May's Bay)

We got back to the anchorage to find more yachts and power boats anchored so we had to anchor out a little further than before. We had a nice dinner watched a video before going to bed.

Saturday - 21/07/2012

Nancy got breakfast before starting the day of setting up the new computer which will take some time so it looks like the little generator will be working today.

Two of the other yachts left this morning so we moved closer into the shore and re-anchored. The winds have kicked in again so we will be staying here for a few days.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Whitsunday's or Windysunday's

Monday - 16/07/2012

Well at least we have the sun trying to shine through the clouds but the wind is howling, through the night and this morning we had winds of 32 - 34 knots and now it has settled to 15 - 20 knots with the occasional higher wind gusts and the wind is rather chilly. I don't think we will be doing much outside today.

Tuesday - 17/07/2012

The rain had stopped today other than the occasional drizzle but still a wind chill factor. We stepped ashore for a walk and met up with Ken and Rhonda the founder and workers of the SICYC and had a coffee with them before walking into town. I think Nancy is very cunning like most wives she always suggests we go ashore just before lunch so I can buy her lunch whilst we are there. So we had lunch at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, the meals are always nice there and you have great views over the water.
(The view from the Whitsunday Sailing Club)

For those members of the SICYC the Whitsunday Sailing Club is offering our members free membership to their club for a period of August (1 month) this year as they know we are all heading towards our club weekend at Gloucester Passage during that month. They would also like us to join in on their fun day race on the 18 August 2012.

(The 'Young Endeavour' this is a training ship which is crewed by the Royal Australian Navy)

(The Australian Bush Turkey, they say the best way to cook these is to place it in a camp over, placing a large stone of similar size mix with vegetables and cook for three hours on an open fire, when cooked throw the turkey away and eat the stone it will taste a lot better and be more tender)

After lunch we finished our walk and returned on board for a short time before going over to Ken and Millie's Leopard 46, 'Rhiannon', they had invited us over for sundowners another very nice couple and we had a very pleasant time.

Wednesday - 18/07/2012

Time to move we needed to get out of the anchorage and we are hoping the weather is on the improve. The weather forecast last night indicated that today we had around 10-15 knots of wind but I think it is a little higher than that.

After breakfast we weighed anchor , motored away from the anchorage and moored boats before hoisting the mainsail as soon as that was up we set the course and then unfurled the headsail and shut the engines down. Sailing between Airlie and Pioneer Point can always be a little testing as the wind changes due to the different landforms you can experience bullets of wind to no wind and then when you near Pioneer Rocks the wind bends around the corner of Pioneer Point bringing the wind on the nose. At this point I usually start one of the engines and let the sails flap for the short distance.
(Our track across from Airlie to May's Bay)

(Short video of the sailing across Whitsunday Passage to May's Bay, the waves do not show up on film but the boat movement indicates what waves are there, we are sailing at 7.5 to 8.5 knots in this video)

Today we did quite well in this area but as soon as we entered Molle Channel the wind was around 18 - 21 knots from SSE, this was the start of an invigorating sail as soon as the wind filled the sails we were off at 7.5 to 8.5 knots on a very close reach with an apparent wind of 23 - 28 knots, seas were not bad waves of around one metre. Again we had picked the time where the wind was going with the tide although the tide of around 2 knots was against us. The course we chose would take us close to the northern tip of North Molle Island and after this I was hopeful that we could creep the course a little deeper south to head for May Bay and anchor off Bernie's Beach and fortunately we were able to do this. This anchorage is not a large anchorage but offers good protection from S - SE winds. When we arrived there was only one yacht there and a little later a motor boat arrived and that was all. The anchorage is quite nice and we have had some resident turtles around the boat which is good to see.
(May's Bay anchorage)
(Anchorage - 20* 13.473 S 148* 56.584 E)

According to the guide book '100 Magic Miles', Bernie's Beach was named after Bernie Katchor, as it was his favourite spot when he started a crewed charter boat operation in the early 70's. May's Bay was named after Lindsay Heiser's wife, she and her husband were partners in the underway observatory (no longer in operation), before their accommodation was finished they lived on their boat and when strong S/SE winds would occur they would anchor in this bay.

This anchorage is good for S to SE winds of 25 knots and E winds of 15 knots although with easterlies it can become uncomfortable with the swell. Coming into the anchorage there is a shallower area that you cross before going into a little deeper, 1.5 metres difference. Last night winds outside the anchorage was SE 18 - 21 knots and this anchorage was calm.  We may stay here for a couple or more days.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Airlie Beach - Taking cover

This morning we left Hamilton Island and after looking at the weather and wind predictions we decided the mainland would be the better place to be so we sailed back to Airlie Beach.

Friday - 13/07/2012

The boats a bit of a mess which is due to the weather more than anything, everything is damp from the rainy weather. Nancy wanted to get it all cleaned up so I volunteered to do the laundry, so being a smart person I am I grabbed our dirty clothes washing and got out of the place. Fortunately I got up there early because everyone had the same idea they were all having the same problems of not being able to get things dry with the weather  the way it has been.

The weather was still wet with light rain showers and low drizzle clouds so this day was spent just doing chores. Although on the bright side we met some very nice people off other yachts.
(Southern end of the marina)
('Reflections' Southern end of marina at night)

(The cooks in the galley and foul weather gear hung out to dry)
(There's always a bright side to cold raining weather)

Saturday - 14/07/2012

I woke during the early hours for the usual call of nature and when I looked out the hatch I noticed we were fog bound so I went topside to see what it was like, the moisture from the fog had floated in under the covers of the cockpit and everything was wet and when I got up in the morning the fog was still there and I thought of our neighbours on yacht 'Phantom' who were flying to Sydney hoping the fog would lift so the airways could operate.
(A foggy morning looking at the southern side of the marina and airport)
(As we had both been busy I bought Nancy and I an iced coffee and an apple danish, Nancy sat on the transom step to eat hers and as soon as she did a friend arrived, the cockatoo)

I gathered more washing, all the mats and sheets a got up to the laundry very early filling all four washing machines whilst Nancy cooked breakfast, it took most of the morning to finish it all as drying everything took a long time. We then got changed to go for a walk the weather had brightened and the fog had lifted which pleased the people flying out. We had a good walk and a good look around the place, we had lunch at a cafe before continuing our walk in another direction.
(The northern side of the marina, look at that motor yacht infront of our 'Alana Rose' it is worth a cool $15m, note the magnificent building of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club in the background which I believe cost $35m to build)
(More cockatoos waiting for a chance to get a feed)

Later in the afternoon we went for our showers then went to the yacht club for sundowners and yes today the sun was there. After we had a drink and took some photos we headed for Manta Ray's Cafe for dinner, we had a very pleasant night.
(Sunset taken from the Bowsprint of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club)
(What a glorious sundowners it was, until today I don't think we had seen the sun all week)

Sunday - 15/07/2012

Our initial plan was to sail up to Cid Harbour after looking at the wind charts last night as the stronger winds are returning at midday today according to the forecast. However, after rechecking the wind charts this morning I suggested to Nancy that we go back towards the mainland as the weather as far as wind would be better on the coastline. Predictions indicate 25 - 30 knot winds for later today and all day tomorrow. So the plan now was to have breakfast fill the water tanks and set off around 1000 - 1100 hours. As we sat having our first morning cup of tea just after daylight the boat started to swing on the dock a bit. Then we realised the wind had already kicked in, looking on the net Hamilton Island real time wind indicator was indicating winds of SSE 27 knots gusting to 34 knots. Our plans changed quickly, I suggested we get ready and go as soon as we can before the seas pick up too much.

We went to the bakery to get fresh bread and bought breakfast, ham, cheese and tomato croissants and had that with another cup of tea.  Whilst having breakfast I topped up the water tanks and then got everything ready to head off.

One problem we had was that the strong wind was blowing and holding me on the dock  and just ahead of us on the next finger there was this $15m motor yacht and the wind would push us in that direction. We waited until 0800 hours when the marina staff are available and asked them to assist which they did promptly. They took a line off the port bow and towed the bows away from the dock which then made it easy for us to exit, we thanked the staff for their assistance and headed out of the marina.
(The friendly staff that meet you at the orange buoy to take you to the berth and assist in docking you)

Once out of the marina we unfurled the headsail I figured with the wind direction and it's strength that's all we would need and sure enough we sailed along at 7 - 7.5 knots. The wind was cold and the light drizzling rain returned as we entered Whitsunday Passage. It was a good sail but it was wet and cold. As we neared South Molle Island I turned the navigation lights on because the drizzle was causing poor visibility.
(Sailing up Whitsunday Passage)
(During strong winds it pays to sail this passage wind going with the tide, these waves would really stand up if it was wind against tide, we had 20 plus knots of wind today)
(A tug towing a dredge platform today going the opposite way to us, imagine it is going against wind and tide but it would be worse if the tide was going with him and the wind was against him)

We anchored outside the marina wall at Airlie a little further out as someone is anchored in our favourite position.

Hopefully the weather will get better during the week and we can get out to the islands.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hamilton Island Marina -

Thursday - 12/07/2012

I am very pleased we made the trip over yesterday as today's weather has been awful. As we anchored at Beach 25 just on dark last night it started to rain albeit only drizzle and that continued through the night. As it got light this morning the rain started to come down a little heavier and visibility was very poor. The winds predicted from the east only lasted until about 2200 hours last night then it change to a southerly, fortunately the anchorage was good and the only annoyance we had was wind waves slapping on the hulls which can make it hard to sleep for anyone that has not experienced it before but we slept through it.

We had booked into the marina at Hamilton Island and we can enter there at 1100 hours so I again kept an eye on the weather hoping there would be a break in it around that time or a bit later so we can go in without getting drowned. Unfortunately looking at the weather radar on the net there was no relief in sight. Nancy phoned the marina to get a berth allocation so we knew prior to getting there where we would be going, Nancy has a book with all the marinas layouts that we go to which she has got off the internet or got the marina to email a copy to us. This makes life easy when one enters a marina you don't go in blind. We was allocated an end of finger berth so at was our choice which side we wished to tie up, we always prefer starboard to as this is the same side as the helm on the boat.

We donned our offshore foul weather gear, the rain was steady not really heavy but the wind was around 20 -25 knots driving the rain right into you. We rigged the fenders and docking lines ready then we started engines rolled all the covers up around the cockpit and weighed anchor. I had the navigation lights switched on due to poor visibility, whether they are necessary or not I rather have the lights burning as many yachts/boats like us are hiding behind the clears (plastic screen), to keep dry and these clears also reduce visibility under rain conditions. I did notice some others with their lights on but others did not.
(Nice day)
(This is the visibility from outside the clears, the clears reduce this visibilty slightly)

As we got outside the marina we called on the radio and was told to enter and wait at the orange buoy just inside the harbour where we would be met by a staff member and taken to the berth. This is the normal routine a guy or girl comes out on a boat and guides you to the berth and normally will go ahead and be on the dock to tie you up, however, today we could see that he was busy in the pouring rain and he had to take a yacht that was in front of us first and the radio was going with more customers for him some leaving wanting his assistance as well as others coming in. I asked Nancy to radio him and ask if we could go to the berth as it was close by and the wind was blowing me in that direction, by the time he answered I was about 10 metres away from the dock I just moved forward about 3 metres and let the wind blow me straight onto the dock, the boat just drifted right into position all we had to do was tie the docking lines and shut the engines down.
(Concentration, holding the boat near the orange buoy with other boats around)
(Photos taken by Nancy today)

The young bloke came over in the boat to book us in, it is all done on the dock as he has a portable EFPOS machine, he asked if we were alright and thanked us for freeing him up and looking after ourselves. That is one thing I like about this marina is the service, it is still an expensive marina to be in but a lot cheaper than Airlie's Abel Point Marina, but you get service here and the use of the facilities on the island such as the swimming pools the free bus service to take you around the different places on the island. As he was booking us in he asked the size of the boat we said 42 foot, he looked at me and said 40 foot, 12 metres? I said that will do. That saved us $15 per night. They did the same with us last year on each occasion we visited, although I must say the prices have increased by $5 per night since last year. Last year we paid $100 per night and for our size boat it should have been $115. Abel Point Marina is $128 per night and you do not get the same service, most other marinas charge around $60 per night for a boat our size.

Well we have been in the marina all day so far and the only time we have been off the boat was to tie up and hook up the electricity. Let's hope for a better day tomorrow.


Airlie Beach - Still at anchor

Tuesday - 10/07/2012

Not much to report on today other than the weather is lousy it has been very windy and raining all night and day. We just stayed inside and played on the computers with photo and sorting out files .
(This photo is of the moon rising directly above the lit up mast of that luxury sailing vessel I posted the other day)

Wednesday - 11/07/2012

Last night we were blasted with winds of 35 plus knots. The winds swung the boat around violently but we had little waves being just outside the marina wall with the wind direction coming from that direction with the ESE winds. However, it was a restless night with the first gusts around midnight then it settled to a steady 20 knots for two hours before kicking into the 30 plus knots again and this repeated itself four times through the night. Each time the wind increased I got up to check all was good. I have a feeling our Rocna anchor is going to be buried very deep in this sand/mud seabed and will take some driving out and cleaning when we leave tomorrow weather permitting.

It is 0800 hours at the moment and we have winds in the 20 - 25 knots from the ESE.

Nancy went by herself to do the shopping as I did not want to leave the boat for too long in the current conditions, I continuously kept my eye on the weather there was supposed to be a lull around midday and if all was well we might make a move over to the islands so that we will be closer to Hamilton Island Marina.


After Nancy had returned with the shopping and unpacked everything we had lunch, the weather had not changed other than we had some sun shining through. After lunch I went into Airlie to pick up the essentials, beer and wine. As I was returning the wind steadied so as soon as I returned on board we got ready to weigh anchor. I did not bother to open the mainsail bag as we would be having the wind on the nose all the way and knew it would be an iron sail job, it wasn't going to hurt giving the engines a run it would charge the batteries for the night and give us plenty of hot water.

We weighed anchor and headed off we weren't sure what the Whitsunday Passage was going to be like it is possible it could be stirred up from the heavy winds, my thoughts were that now we have a wind change to an easterly there would be little wind waves as the Molle Islands and the Whitsunday Island would offer protection across both passages, as it turned out that is the way it was, we also had the advantage of crossing the Whitsunday Passage at still tide so there was no wind/tide effect. As the conditions were good we decided to anchor off Beach 25 just north of Hamilton Island on the southern end of Whitsunday Island, we arrived at last light in very calm conditions with light rain starting again.
(Chart showing our track from Airlie to Beach 25, southern end of Whitsunday Island)
(Beach 25 anchorage near Gulnare Inlet in the Fitzalan Passage)

We had good hot showers before dinner and red wine and had a quiet night watching a movie.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Airlie Beach - Whitsundays

Saturday 07/07/2012

The weather is not the best at the moment last night and most of the morning we have had high winds and drizzle rainfalls. Wind speeds at Hamilton Island are around 30 to 34 knots SSE to SE. I feel sorry for the people that are here for the school holidays as the winds have been strong all week which really whips up the seas in Whitsunday Passage and restricts the amount of anchorages that you can safely go.

I must say that where we are offers the best protection during these winds as the mainland gives protection, we are not experiencing the winds that Hamilton Island are getting, we still get bullets of wind from time to time but probably not what we would be getting in places like Cid Harbour.

These winds will remain until around the middle of next week and before then they are turning easterly so we may have to look elsewhere for cover.

Needless to say we are not doing much. Thursday I went to the doctors to get checked for sun spots as part of the melanoma problem I had and had a few sun spots hit with the nitrogen spray, the one in the middle of my back felt like a hot knife going in. This doctor when she uses that stuff makes sure she does a good job. I had one on the back, one on the hand and three on the face.

Yesterday when the wind took a short break we went ashore for a walk to the Whitsunday Shopping Centre to pay my RANSA (Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association) membership. RANSA accepts membership of any service, Navy, Army and Air Force  service personnel or ex-service personnel. The club is actually situated in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney Harbour.

When we returned I had a couple of repair jobs to do as you do when you own a boat.


Tuesday - 10/07/2012

(Sunset from our anchorage outside of the Abel Point Marina)

There is little to scribble about the weather has been lousy it has been constantly windy and the last couple of days we have had rain so we have done very little other than go ashore during breaks in the weather for a walk to get some exercise. The rain is here for a few days but the wind starts to drop off tomorrow. We are thinking of going over to Hamilton Island Marina around Friday for a few days to give the boat a wash and have a look around the island. Hopefully we may get something to write about then.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Airlie Beach - 04/07/2012

Monday - 02/07/2012

This morning at around 0300 hours the wind hit around 25 -30 knots and as we are in a new anchorage from when we moved yesterday I had to get up and check all was alright. Although we have a GPS on anchor watch I still prefer to see our track and make sure we are not dragging anchor and we are secure. The other thing that got me up was the headsail sheets were banging on the deck  due to the strong wind stretching things out so by the time I got some clothes on and went out in the cool wind I was wide awake and no chance of getting back to sleep so as I said yesterday I stayed up and did my scribbles for the blog.

I expected the wind to howl all day by the weather forecasts however, the early wind came from S/SW which produced a few bullets of wind around the hills but after the sun was up the wind went around to the S/SE and the wind dropped at our location being protected from the mainland, the wind at Hamilton Island was around 25-29 knots. Hamilton can read a little higher by 3 to 5 knots to what is actually happening in the waterways I think they have the sensors at the airport and the wind accelerates around the hills nearby.

After the wind dropped we went ashore to do a little shopping and to go for a walk, walking back was a little harder being loaded down with our shopping but it gives us both good exercise. Needless to say during the afternoon we relaxed having a read.
(Airlie Bay Beach with the lagoon to the right)

(Part of Airlie Lagoon for safe swimming)
(Pioneer Bay from Abel Point)

Late in the afternoon Rick off 'Neriki' called by he said his sails were ready and he was going to pick them up on his way back I asked if he wanted to get the sails back up now. I suggested it would be a good time to start getting the sails back in place before the winds pick up again. It takes a little longer to get the sails back in place especially the huge mainsail. I got my tools and followed him over to his boat, Garry and Mercedes off 'Forever Dreaming' came over to help . I was leading the group basically because this is the first time Rick has removed and replaced sails and although Garry has done it on the catamaran he built this cat is a lot larger and has a different setup. Unfortunately I could not spend the time to take things slow to show Rick every detail because we was trying to beat the wind and also sunset before it got dark. However, I am sure Rick watched everything I did.

We first got the mainsail bag in place and attached the lazy jacks to the starboard side and lifted that side of the bag to prevent the mainsail falling over that side of the boom when we haul it in place using the outhaul and the winch, this drags the heavy sail aft to the end of the boom. Normally we would have fitted the batons before doing this but all the old batons had delaminated and Rick had to get new ones but unfortunately the batons have come in two lengths and have to be cut to size this may have to be done at leisure once the winds settle. We then started to hoist the mainsail sliding the cars on the track. (The cars are units that are bolted via a bracket on the sail and the cars slide up and down the track attached to the mast). The wind kicked in a little bit but we managed to get the mainsail on and secured.

When the mainsail was secured and lowered into the sail bag we started on the genoa (Headsail), this was a lot easier although we had a small problem which turned out to be a small piece of securing wire that had broken off at sometime and had got caught in the slide. We just beat last light in finishing the job. I had a quick beer before returning to 'Alana Rose' for a quiet night inside out of this bloody cold weather.

Tuesday - 03/07/2012

Today we caught a bus to Centro Shopping Centre, a little too far for me to walk and get there and back before dark. Centro has a larger shopping complex with a larger arrange of shops, we did a bit of clothes shopping to start with and into BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store), then could not find the all the items we wanted so we headed for the bus and went back towards Airlie and stopped at the Chandlery/Home Hardware store and got a few other items. We walked back from there via the Whitsunday Shopping Centre where we normally do the shopping, we had lunch bought a few other items before walking back to the public dock loaded up.

That's the trouble coming to a civilised centre you tend to spend money, you can't do this out at anchor in the islands where there are no shops.
(The view at 0330 hours in the morning when the wind was howling the moon shining across the bay))
(A yacht from Guernsey in the marina, it is some yacht luxury plus)

We may stay here for a few more days looking at the weather, the winds are going to get stronger over the next few days and I think we will be more comfortable here. Looking at the observations today Hamilton Island had winds between 23 and 27 knots which is alright if we were heading north at this point but whilst we are in the Whitsunday's you look for the best sheltered anchorages and with the current conditions we are better off staying here so there may be little to scribble about for a while.
(This section of the Abel Point Marina, south end 'P' finger at low tide, these boats would not be able to get out in an emergency and the bay with the large hump is never used, wonder if they have ever heard of a dredge? Not bad for the most expensive marina)