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.


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