Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Zooming across the Passage

We were similarly rigged to this Seawind travelling parallel to Sea Piper crossing the Whitsunday Passage yesterday.
In the past fortnight we have experienced our smoothest crossing and our fastest crossing (two separate events) of the Whitsunday Passage.
Yesterday's trip across from Cid Harbour to Airlie saw us tip 9.4 knots under sail (main and head). Winds were forecast from 15 to 20 knots with the odd 25 knot gust but we were recording gusts of up to 30 knots with a good (or not so good) two metre swell. 
With the weather looking to improve for a few days, David had arrived from Townsville on the previous Saturday so we had finally dumped the Airlie Beach mooring and picked him up from the marina precinct before heading out to the top of Hook Island.
That was a bumpy enough ride after 10 days of big winds but nosing into Stonehaven Bay was beautiful, as was picking up the best located public mooring in the bay.
The first thing to greet us was a large turtle who hung around for a while.
You can see how close this curious turtle was to the back of the boat.
We had a walk ashore and the boys explored a creek while I lay on a warm rock and enjoyed the stillness.
Sunset from Stonehaven at the northern end of the Whitsundays.
The weather improved heaps on Sunday so we set off around the corner to snorkel Manta Ray Bay. This is one of the prettiest bays in the Whitsundays, I reckon. Recent cyclones have done a lot of damage to the coral but it is still a lovely place to visit.

After using every minute of the two-hour mooring, we set off down the east side of Hook Island, crossing through the Hook Passage between Whitsunday and Hook Islands at the change of tide. Perfect timing.
We dropped anchor in Sawmill Bay, (Cid Harbour) and enoyed more turtles and another beautiful sunset.
Sawmill Bay is a popular anchorage.

Full of enthusiam on Monday, we went to shore and walked the track to the Whitsunday Peak, taking about an hour to reach the top. The view from the top is spectacular and well worth the climb.
Proof you were at the top David.

By the time we'd climbed back down the dinghy was high and dry on the falling tide and the wind had picked up generously!. Thank goodness for our new lighter-weight dinghy as between the three of us we could carry it back to the water.
We re-anchored Sea Piper further into Sawmill Bay and decided to spend another night there rather than move on to a less sheltered spot.
We made it back to Airlie by mid-morning to drop David off (but not before making full use of having a car to refill gas bottles, do some shopping and pick up our anti-foul paint). Thanks David!
We're currently at anchor just to the west of Airlie and will probably head off to Double Bay (no phone, internet or TV) tomorrow.

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