Sunday, June 22, 2008


Well Brampton was an experience – we found out the difference between a tinny and a zodiac tender – but at least it didn’t sink when we holed it on a big oyster laden rock. Not sure how that happened but there goes the resale value!!!! Patched it but it took 24 hours to glue so as we could no longer leave the boat (aside from swimming!!) we decided to leave Brampton and move on. Headed to Goldsmith Island which turned out to be another lovely little bolthole from yet another strong wind warning!! There was an island just off with a lovely little cottage, their own beach and beautifully manicured lawn. Obviously just a holiday thing but wow. We explored a couple of little beaches and saw a couple of little reef sharks up an inlet. Peter caught a large tuna which took quite a bit of landing (they are getting bigger!) The most amazing thing – could hear fish jumping at night and shone the torch and there were thousands of little longtoms jumping (like a garfish) out of the water everywhere. Never seen anything like it – kept us amused for ages.

Sat out the wind warning a night or two then left for Lindemann Island. The spot we had set out for didn’t look too promising but we went in anyway and it turned out be beautiful. It was probably the first anchorage that I felt really comfortable going in to but Peter wasn’t as comfortable. Anyway, after a re-anchor we ended up where we were both happy (wow!!). The next day we took our backpacks and headed for Mt Oldham. The island is a national park with good walking tracks. Made it to the top – wonderful views. On the way back decided to go to Gap Beach. Obviously not many people had walked down that track – was very Indiana Jonesy including a large boulder (on the side of the track in case you envisaged us being pursued down the path by said boulder!!). Anyway happily walking along in front of Peter when he suddenly grabs me and turns me back up the way we had come. Now I happen to know that there is only one reason why my husband would suddenly grab me like that – SNAKE. Well they probably heard me at the resort on the other side of the island and I haven’t even seen the thing yet! It actually was quite attractive – yellow belly with lovely iridescent blue on it – Peter claimed it was a tree snake (everyone knows that tree snakes are green – the colour of trees!!!!!). Anyway I magnimoniously let Peter take the lead after that and two more snakes crossed our path (obviously tree snakes because they were green!).

Left at 930 the next day to head for Hamilton Island to meet some friends. Went around Pe ntacost Island which was quite a sight – high cliffs. Had a bumpy(!) arrival into the marina berth (very windy and you never know exactly where your berth is!). Walked past a building site (building a new you beaut yacht club) past bins, mud, trucks, backhoes and no security to the shower/loo which is directly behind the bakery. Very unimpressed at $85 per night. However we realised the next day how cheap our stay really was. We had the run of the entire resort and it is so much more expensive than that to stay at the resort. We spent the day checking out the different pools and having wine beside them – jazz playing at one. Then met our friends at the top of the hill for sunset cocktails (more jazz) and then out for a marvellous meal – truly a great day. And they all drive golf buggies!! Really cool.

More strong winds coming in so headed for Cid Harbour and decided on the spur of the moment to walk to the highest peak on Whitsunday (which we had read about in a Stuart Buchanan book – neglected to read the fine print!). We followed pink tape and small cairns to stay on the trail. It was very jungle like – dappled light on dappled rock and dappled vines – all looking very snake like. We went up, up up following the tapes then down, down down (should we go on?!) then up, up, up – 430 odd metres – rocks, leaves, grass, jungle, more rocks – finally made it to the top – couldn’t breathe but there we were. Then we had to go back – down, down, down (is that a snake!!), up, up, up and down, down, down – couldn’t believe we actually went up there.

Monday 16 June – Sue’s birthday – sorry Sue – no coverage. You know I was thinking of you!

From there it was to Whitehaven Beach which looked very nice from the sea but when we got to shore it looked magnificent. Absolutely beautiful. Walked quite some way along it – had a quick dip and then sat and watched the tourist boats come and go and the seaplane land and take off. It was all happening here. And then they all disappeared and it was just the campers on shore and about 5 boats to spend the night.

From here it was a short sail to Catelan Bay on Border Island where we had our first snorkel. Took the tender to the beach and snorkelled from there. There were other people snorkelling too so it felt ok. Then we went to a place called Maureen’s Cove and Maureen will be really happy to know that it is a wonderful little cove and the snorkelling was wonderful. We managed to get on a buoy (advice from Bruce most appreciated!!). Of course from the boat there was a swim across a dark deep area to reach the snorkelling bit – that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!! Lots of lovely coral and heaps of fish. Stayed the night at Maureen’s.

This morning we headed back around to Manta Ray Bay and waited to get a buoy. It was a long (its not really but gee!) dark swim so we got the tender out and went closer in and tied to a tender buoy. The snorkelling was good but not as good as Maureen’s – and not a manta ray to be seen!

Currently on a buoy at Butterfly Bay and will spend the night here. Once again it was a long way to swim to the good stuff so got the snorkel gear and put our heads over the side of the tender and drifted all the way down. Great stuff and didn’t even get wet!!!

We will probably leave the lovely Whitsundays tomorrow (weather permitting). It’s a funny life this!! Miss you all heaps.


Dell and Peter

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hi from Mackay - 5 June‏

Well folks, the benchmark in violent terrifying rocking in a swell was set at Hummocky Island just after my last missive to you. It was dark, wild weather. Two yachts up anchored and headed for Great Keppel in the middle of the night which we were tempted to do but it was so dark and stormy out there!!!! We left at 6.30 and after very rough (terrifying!) seas we anchored at Great Keppel in a lovely sheltered spot. Next day we set off and headed for the resort (5km each way) having thoughts of sitting on a deck overlooking the lovely white sand and aqua water scoffing a nice glass of wine. Reality was, the resort had closed six weeks earlier and it was all fenced off and starting to look quite derelict. The sand was white and the water beautifully aqua however. Saw a herd of goats (tiny babies, huge Billy goat) on the return trek. Should probably have lingered longer but it was onwards – elected not to go to Rosalind Bay marina as we didn’t really need anything (though running out of wine before reaching Mackay was not very clever).

It was a 6.15 start through rough seas – managed a good sail though – to reach a lovely little spot called Pearl Bay. Entering any of these places and marinas with which you are not familiar always makes you know that you are alive! The entry was through rocks on either side heading for a beach – a bit disconcerting but opened into a lovely little bay once inside. As it is part of the Shoalwater Bay training area any walking was contained to the beach but Peter caught rather a largish golden trevally here which kept him occupied for a little while. We spent a couple of very pleasant days here.

Left Pearl at 6 am wondering if we should just go a few miles up to the next lovely little spot or head for the Percys. We elected to head for the Percy Isles and the morning till 1pm was quite unpleasant (am I having fun yet!) but after that it settled down and we arrived at West Bay on Middle Percy around 3.30. Didnt realise we had reached it till we saw the A frame and coconut palms on the beach. The A frame contains all sorts of paraphanalia that boats have left as a memento of their visits. Collected some coconuts and had three lovely days here – interspersed with violent rocking in the swell but not as bad as the Hummocky (benchmark!). The Young Endeavour came in and anchored near us and the kids kept us well entertained watching them climb up the masts to tie up and let loosedthe sails. Very character building we thought!!!

Anyway strong wind warning was in and our anchorage was untenable so we left around 7.45 to make a run for Curlew Island – about 4 hours away. The wind was roaring, the waves were huge and once again it was terrifying!!! We put on our wet weather jackets but realised soon after that we should have put on full wet weather gear as we were soon soaked. We were lifejacketed and hooked on though. Were anchored in the lee of Curlew Island by 12.30. The wind still howled but we were safe and the boat was steady and it was lovely!!!! So here we sat out the strong winds. Checked the middle bilge and got an awful fright when found it was full of water (shades of sinking!!) but I hadn’t closed the hatch tight enough and we had had a lot of water over and that is where it ended up (that is what bilges are for – apparently!) We also lost the legs off our solar panels – washed away. Peter’s theory is don’t look back or to the sides and you cant see how big the waves are. Mine is just look at the floor and scream every now and then and it will all be alright!

Its lovely to have an island all to yourself but also a little eerie! Walking up the deserted beach and Peter recalls a movie where things come up out of the sand to grab you!!! I recalled it too. Was certainly a lovely time though.

Of course when we left Curlew Island the wind had dropped entirely and there wasn’t a breath so we motored from there to Mackay where we now sit in the marina. As we went past one of the big ships sitting outside Dalrymple Bay we heard our name being called on the radio and one of the chaps was obviously bored and just wanted to know if we were listening.

Have restocked the larder (and wine) and tomorrow hope to head for Brampton Island and this time I think it really will be short day sails.

Love and cheers

Dell and Peter