|Pretty colours and lots of variety at Stonehaven.|
What a surprise it was to actually spend time here and explore its reef. It's some of the best snorkelling in the Whitsundays at the moment.
Many of the other better known reefs around the northern end of the Whitsundays have been damaged in recent cyclones but Stonehaven appears to be largely intact and teeming with fishlife. A fortnight ago we snorkelled until we were too cold to go on, then climbed into the dinghy and drifted across the crystal clear water and oohed and aahed at the bommies and fish.
Hence the reason we are back here for a few days, exploring some different parts and being just as impressed.
Between the last blog and this, Sea Piper has been tied up for a week in Hamilton Island while Royden travelled to Victoria for a meeting (and a whirlwind catch-up with children, two-out-of-three grandchildren and friends), while Heather flew up to have a week with me on the island.
We took full advantage of the free bus services, access to resorts, pools, bush walks and restaurants, as well as having extensive walks looking at some of the beautiful modern architecture, rock walls and landscaping that now dominates, lessening the impact of those ugly 80s' high rises. T
The views from the toughest bushwalk to Passage Peak were spectacular and worth every upwards step - and there were a lot of them.
|Towards Whitsunday Island with the white sands of Hill Inlet|
|Towards Lindeman Island from Passage Peak.|
The annual outriggers' regatta also kept us entertained with plenty of colour and hefty-shouldered men and women.
|Day One of the Outriggers. Shortly after this NRE started a burnoff on Whitsunday and Hazelwood Islands (in background) to the left and the whole area became swamped in smoke. Great timing!|
And then of course, there were the cocktails of various hues!
|Day One ...|
|Day two .... etc|
Heather and Royden swapped over planes and cars on Friday at the same time as Vikki and her sister Tanya arrived as part of their day trip from Airlie. We managed to catch up with them for a short time, during which we also bumped into Joy, Andrew, Sue and Graham from the Mornington Peninsula. Sea Piper has never had so many visitors in one day.
|Hello - goodbye!|
It was back to the high seas on Saturday with an easy trip around the southern corner of Whitsunday Island to Cid Harbour, there meeting our catamaran neighbours from the marina and sharing stories and an evening drink.
|Resident of the walking track (sorry Leigh).|
|Lots of reef emerging with the lowest tide for the year.|
Yesterday's treat was a trip over to Langford Island, just south of Hayman. Langford has a long, long sandspit which grows even longer as the tide recedes. While the coral there was pretty ordinary, we disturbed a sleeping giant turtle who sluggishly swam away while we trailed along behind him. Of course it's the one time I haven't taken the camera.
|Sun setting on Langford Island - bit lumpy as an overnight anchorage for us.|