|This morning's start to the Outriggers' six-man team final.|
Having biked and walked around the place for a few days, I can happily report that the architecture since those times has improved enormously. There are some stunning homes here that fit the landscape beautifully. Hopefully one day the high rises will come down and be replaced by structures that tie in with the tropical surrounds.
The island is amazingly well cared for with lots of walking tracks scattered with picnic tables and seating. Free buses run clockwise and anti-clockwise but golf buggies are the main means of transport - and there are hundreds of them.
We appear to be the only cyclists on the island - and I know why. I've walked up and down more hills than I have ridden as they are so steep.
For the past few days the annual outriggers' (canoes) carnival has been in progress, today being the final day. Crews come from up and down the east coast (could be further for all I know) to compete. The practice days were held in perfect weather but the wind has picked up over the past 48 hours and teams face 25 knot+ winds today as they row around Dent and Hamilton Islands competing over a distance of 45 km.
Hundreds of support boats lined up with the outrigger canoes for this morning's start. It was quite a sight. We were both amazed at the speed of the six-man team of outriggers as they powered past us to round the southern end of Dent Island. The support boats carry replacement rowers, who drop into the outrigger in relay as a rower tips him or her self overboard into the sea to create a vacancy! The plan is that the support boat then picks them up.
Last night's celebrations (and there have been many over the past days) included a spectacular fireworks display off the marina point. No doubt Hamilton Island will turn it on tonight to celebrate the end of the competition. Should be good!