Friday, 17 June 2011

Cruising with the crew

When the sun finally bursts through, things like updating the blog are abandoned in favour of snorkelling, swimming, sailing, mountain climbing and exploring.
Amazing what you can cram into a few sunny days!
The Whitsundays turned on its best face for the second half of our guests' stay aboard.
The morning after huddling around the Cobb oven, we were snorkelling in Stonehaven Bay then sailing down to beautiful Cid Harbour in perfect conditions. The forecast altered from three metre seas to a flat sea with a 10 to 15 knot breeze - quite a turnaround.
Tranquil Cid Harbour did not disapppoint. We explored Dugong Beach just before the sun dipped over the horizon then spent the next morning climbing the 437 metre Whitsunday Peak to take in a 360 degree view of the islands. Spectacular and worth the climb.
The view from Whitsunday Peak 437m

Catching the last of the outgoing tide, we motored through Hook Passage that separates Hook and Whitsunday Islands, and headed to Cateran Bay on Border Island. Luck was on our side as we arrived just as the boat on the only large mooring headed off.
Some clever manouevering by our helmsman had us on the mooring just ahead of another yacht and within the time frame that let us stay put overnight.
Snorkelling gear was again donned to enjoy the beaut coral in this bay. In the morning we climbed to the top of a nearby hill to take in the view our next destination, Whitehaven Beach. It was a tricky climb as the track is extremely overgrown and we were all very aware of the possibility of death adders hidden in the undergrowth.
Sea Piper and others in Cateran Bay.

A couple of hours later we were anchored off Whitehaven and exploring the pristine beach and lagoon nestled behind the northern end of the bay. The sand is so white here it dazzles your eyes. At the change of tide we were treated to the sight of armies of turquoise-backed crabs emerging from holes to march towards the water in the lagoon. In the quiet all that could be heard was their clickety-clack sounds as they scurried forward.
Whitehaven Beach.
An overnight anchorage in Tongue Bay was followed by an early start to take us through the Solway Passage in the final hours of the incoming tide, thus avoiding the swirling whirlpools of a surging tide or, worse, trying to get through against the tide.
It's the first time we've had the opportunity to explore the southern end of Whitsunday Island and we were able to spend a glorious few hours in the aptly named Turtle Bay - watching turtles and doing a bit of beachcombing, before rounding the corner to the resort centre of Hamilton Island, where we had booked into the marina to farewell our guests.
It was with much sadness we said our goodbyes the next morning to the best crew we've ever had (now there's a challenge). We'd had a ball, and had all learnt heaps - not only about sailing but card games and horse racing too! You have to do something on those rainy days!
Goodbye to the #1 deck crew! We'll miss you.

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