Mackay to the Whitsunday Islands
Mackay – Hauling out
Well after sorting out that we will haul out here after all I have to get all the gear organised because I had not bothered as I thought it would be later in the year before we did this work.
I should only have to give the hull a light sand as the diver in Brisbane stated that the antifouling paint has another year before I really need to do anything, so I figure that the Altex 3000 antifouling that I used last year is a good product and if I give it a light sand after a pressure wash I can put another two coats over the top and that should last us at least two years which will give us the time to go around Australia without having to haul out along the way.
Last night we went out for dinner at the steak place next to the pub with Rick and Michelle, we were all bushed from the long night awake and a hard two days sail and no one wanted to cook. It was a good night and we had a good sleep afterwards.
This morning we were waiting for a phone call from Rick he was meeting with the blokes in the shipyard to decide whether to haul out with the windy conditions, my thoughts were that the wind was a little strong. Rick finally phoned to say that the yard had left the decision to him about hauling out. I found that a little odd and I said that to Rick, in past years the ship lift operator would not let you haul out in winds above 15-20 knots because the wind pushes on the stern and side of the boat when they are trying to settle it in the lift.
Apparently the new rules is that it is the boat owners decision therefore if it goes pear shape it’s the owners fault. Rick and I went to have a look at the ship lift area to see what wind is blowing there and what affects it would have. The wind was not too bad at that stage and I said to Rick we could bring the boat around and see what it is like before you fully commit to going in the travel lift area. I asked the travel lift operator if he would have the forward sling in a position to stop the boat going too far forward towards the sea wall and he said he would.
So we went back to Rick’s boat and got ready to haul out, we got underway and lined up the opening of the travel lift bay and I think the wind assisted us in our movement forward because we went in quite quickly. The travel lift area has pontoons each side now which makes it a little easier and it stops the boats hitting the pylons they did not have those last year. ‘Neriki’ was hauled out and placed on the hard. Rick asked when I was going to haul out and I told him Friday less wind and we may get better weather.
I went back on board our boat and made a few phone calls regarding paint and items required. Rick had asked if I was going to purchase the paint through the contractor he was using to do some work as he had offered to get everything Rick needed. I said I would get some prices first.
I contacted the Altex dealer here in Mackay and asked if he had the Altex 3000 in stock and at what prices. The agent Paul Curson said that he had plenty and the price was $420.55 per 10 litre tin and $159.95 per 4 litre tin. I had been quoted around $450 for the 10 litre elsewhere. I told Paul I would be there the next day for the paint one 10 litre and two 4 litre tins.
I went to see Rick after and the price he was given by his contractor was quite an amount above that. I think the price surprised Rick.
When we first arrived we met other sailing friends that were sheltering here from the weather some crews that were in Island Head Creek with us and Julie and Simon off ‘Goodonya’ who have been tracking us up the coast, they said they tried to call us on the radio but we did not hear them.
So we ended up having sundowners with them on their yacht, and a good time was had by all, I think we poured ourselves home. We had not seen Julie and Simon since last year, they are a nice couple and we always have fun. They got held up this year as their boat got damaged by a boat that was alongside them in the marina. The hot water service blew up from overheating and high pressure build up of steam, they were lucky they did not get injured. Apparently the boat that had the problem had been sunk at one time and this bloke bought it after it was refloated and had renovated the boat throughout with the exception of the hot water service, no doubt that the safety pressure relief valve did not work due to corrosion after being submersed when it sank. All the renovations of the boat were also destroyed by what Simon has told me.
We had organised the marina hire car for the morning. The marina has two Holden station wagons that they hire out at $39 for half day and $78 for all day, you can get cheaper all day prices with other car hire firms but the half day is very attractive.
We set off as soon as we got the car and headed for the Altex agent. Paul was very obliging person and I would recommend him for your Altex products wherever you are. He sells the products to everyone at trade price. The average sailor off the docks can get the products the same price from him as what the contractors and other businesses do.
Not only that he said we need not have hired a car, he said he would have delivered the order if we had phoned it through at no cost, he said he often goes the shipyard after a person has contacted him to have a look at the boats and give advice on what is required. He has also told us that if we need any paint wherever we are just phone him and he will ship it to us at the same trade price. He also added that if we are in a port that has another Altex agent to still ring him first and he will contact the agent and get the paint at his price. He also supplied me with a paint gauge so I get the right thickness of paint on the hulls because it is important. He told me that once the antifouling paint is mixed and put on the hull nearly 50% actually evaporates this is the solvents in the paint, if you put the paint on too thick the outer layer of the paint will dry trapping the solvents below the surface this can lead to blistering and finally the paint peeling off. So it is also important not to put the second coat on until the required time.
So if anyone wants to purchase Altex paints here is Paul’s details.
Altex Coatings, 24 Prospect Street, Mackay QLD 4740. Phone 07 4914 2557, Mob. 0414 248 717
I do not give many businesses a plug in my scribbles but this bloke is worth a mention especially if he can save you and me a few dollars on the paints and products that he sells.
After getting our paint and a few other things from Paul we then went to the good old Bunning’s store to by other odds and ends needed, then went to see Dan Murphy who has a great store for the beer, wine and spirits and by the time we finished there it was time to get the car back and get all the gear on board. Once all that was done we went to the local cafe for lunch.
We had a quiet night aboard with the weather being so windy and raining.
Today Nancy did the laundry and I had to repair a pump for the shower and just get things ready for hauling out in the morning. We haul out at 0700 hours all going well so these scribbles will be all you get for a few days, I am hoping to only be out 3 or 4 days, so it will be solid work the whole time we are out.
On the hard at Mackay – 02/06/2012
Well we have just finished our second day on the hard and it feels like it has been longer. We hauled out at 0700 hours yesterday morning and it is always a nervous time watching ‘Alana Rose’ on the travel lift on two slings. Going into the travel lift bay was good the wind has died down from previous days so no pressure in that area.
The guys at the yard were good, Ben who last year was assisting the travel lift operator is now the operator and he does quite well. The lift went well and then we had to wait about an hour whilst the boys pressure washed the hull not that it needed that much as the hulls were quite clean. I am quite pleased with the Altex 3000 antifouling paint, this product is not a really soft antifoul paint it is a little harder and good for yachts travelling all the time like us and it can withstand a wiping over if you are stationary for some time withut taking a lot of paint with it. As I mentioned before the diver that gave it a wipe over in Brisbane said we could go another 12 months before having to do anything, however, this yard is easy to haul out with our width and the yard is good to work in, so once we had sorted out the little problems that arose before re live aboard all is well now.
Whilst we were waiting for the boat to be pressure washed and moved to the location of the working bay we headed to the cafe for breakfast.
We got back just as they started to move the boat to the work bay which was good timing. They sat Alana Rose down and as soon as she was settled it was time to get to work. Nancy went around collecting bits of wood to set up as a seat and a small bench to put gear on as I started with the sanding using the silicon carbon sanding mesh and water. We have to sand more the pity to get a bonding surface for the new paint, this is a shame because we are taking off good antifouling to do this. However, the benefit should be that we will not have to do this again for two years which will see us through the circumnavigation.
The other thing that I am pleased about regarding hauling out now is that when I serviced the engines in Brisbane and cleaned the heat exchangers when isolating the sea suction valve I broke the valve spindle which I had to do a makeshift repair . This involved some silicon on and around the spindle and then using the handle used electrical plastic ties to hold it position to stop the small seawater leak as you would.
So yesterday was taken up with sanding and rubbing small damaged sections that will need special attention, whilst I completed that Nancy got stuck into cleaning the propellers making them good and clean and shiny.
‘Neriki’ had hauled out a couple of days earlier and Rick was getting his few problems sorted out and the problems we are all having is the weather as it keeps raining and it looks like it is going to hold up the painting.
We all had a hard working day and Michelle invited us all over to ‘Neriki’ for a roast dinner and it was very nice. We had a lovely evening with them and a few red wines naturally.
It rained most of the night, not a good sign and looking at the weather forecast there is not much change until Monday.
Today work was done between showers or under the bridge deck where it is sheltered. Rick came over to borrow some tools, he was working on his damaged anchor winch and was having problems getting the stainless steel screws out that had welded themselves to the alloy body. Two Alan headed screws had rounded out and Rick had drilled the heads out hoping to use vice grips to remove them. Well we worked together and with a lot of heat from his heat gun and his perseverance with the vice grips we got them out.
With the rain still bothering us I decided to remove the broken valve and when it was removed I was cleaning the through hull fitting thread to fit the new valve and noticed that the through hull fitting was cracked along the thread for a short distance. So we have to change the through hull fitting, I had prepared for that as I thought if changing the valve disturbed the through hull fitting it would have to be replaced anyway.
Rick came over to help me as I did the same with removing a through hull fitting on his boat yesterday. The problem with through hull fittings is that they are usually in a very difficult place to reach or get a decent purchase on a spanner if you can get one on. After a few attempts which failed miserably, I decided to grind the fitting from the outside and now I have done it this way I will use this method every time, it saves bruised knuckles and removal of flesh from different parts of the hands. By grinding the edges of the hole of the through hull fitting until you see the cracking around the flange head, then I used a socket that measured the same size as hole going through the hull on a short extension and a couple of blows with the hammer the flange of the through fitting fell and the rest of the fitting went inside the boat.
Once the fitting was out then I had to thoroughly clean the holes and mating surfaces ready for the new fitting and after this I used Rick’s heat gun to make sure all was dry before installing the new fitting. Nancy assisted me in putting the new fitting in place, we will wait until the Sikaflex is dry before fitting the new valve.
After this little job I did a little more sanding and then used the filler paint on any bare patches then taped the waterline ready to do the antifouling paintwork when it stops raining.
I have always done my own work on the boat, I used to be a diesel mechanic in the Navy and in civilian life for many years, so I know engineering and electric systems, I taught myself fibreglass repair along with other boat maintenance. The fact is if I could not do these things and had to pay someone to do the work, I would not be able to afford this lifestyle. After all the work it was followed by a nice shower a couple of beers at the pub and then tonight a BBQ steak and veg on board with the mandatory red wine.
Newry Islands – 05/06/2012
The red wine taste wonderful after a great days sail from Mackay to the Newry Islands. It has been a hard four days doing the necessary stuff of the maintenance of preparation and anti-fouling the bottom of Alana Rose. Normally we have stayed on the hard for seven days to achieve the same work, prices going up encourages us to work harder and smarter and we have achieved the same results in four days. My back and other adjoining parts are complaining about this but red wine fixes all.
On Monday Nancy, Michelle and Mercedes hired a car for the day and went shopping to stock up the boat with food and a few other things whilst I continued to paint the hulls of the boat. By late afternoon I started to prepare the boat to go in the water and clean up our work area. With all this done we were ready to go back in the water.
This morning (Tuesday) I stowed all my equipment and tools I had been using and then went around with the paint brush touching up the areas with a forth coat of paint then gave the decks a good wash to get rid of dirty footprints and the yard dust that you always get out on the hard.
At about 1015 hours the boys came with the travel lift to put us back in the water as soon as they lifted the boat I had to paint the bottom of the keels where they had sat on the ground. All this done then back to the water.
As soon as we had the boat in the water I got aboard and checked first the through hull fitting that I had changed then all the other through hull fittings to make sure there were no leaks. We then started the engines checked forward and reverse worked alright then the travel lift operator let the slings drop and we were out of there.
We motored out of the port of Mackay which was busy with ship movements, one ship docking one leaving and tugs going from one to the other and the pilot boat going out to pick up the pilot from the ship that was leaving.
Once clear of the port we hoisted the mainsail then unfurled the genoa and shut the engines down, we had a brisk SW wind blowing which had a bit of a chill factor once we were out at sea. The direction of the wind put us on a nice reach and we sailed between 6.5 and 8.5 knots. The wind coming off the land was sometimes blocked by the hills or islands and slowed us down but not for long. It was great to be back on the water even though the wind had a chill factor that made us grab more clothing. In mid afternoon the wind dropped for a short time changing from the SW to a NE afternoon sea breeze changing us to a starboard tack still on a good reach and we sailed at the same speed once again, we passed a number of fishing trawlers along the way just south of the Newry’s, it must be a good spot for fish..
We headed for Newry Islands, we have never visited this area before as we like most people gone to Keswick, Brampton or Scawfell Islands which is the normal route for people not calling into Mackay, the most common is from the Percy’s through to Scawfell Island.
The Port of Newry of the Newry Islands was originally going to be used as Mackay’s main port, they considered constructing a jetty off Acacia Island then land filling a track from the mainland to this island and the ships would have used this jetty to unload their goods onto a train that would then go to Mackay. Now that we have visited the area I am pleased they did not go ahead with that plan, this area now being national park. It is a very attractive area and the anchorage between the two Newry Islands is very good and protected from all winds other than a NW wind.
We will stay here for a few days and relax and have a look on these islands, Mercedes and Gary on ‘Forever Dreaming’ arrived here just before us and Rick and Michelle on ‘Neriki’ go back in the water tomorrow morning and will be heading here also.
Anchorage: 20⁰ 51.028 S – 148⁰ 55.812 E This is not a large area anchorage and care needs to be taken on the lee side of Newry Island as rocks and bommies come out a fair way. Depth of anchorage is 5 – 7 metres at low tide and the tide differences can be up to 6 metres with a full moon as we had the other night.
So what has today brought, one historic event and that was the eclipse of Venus and the Sun which is very difficult to see without the right equipment. We watched its progress with the use of the sextant, naturally because we use the sun to get our readings it is equipped to look at the sun through filters. We could see this little black dot which seemed to be the size of a pin head in relation to the size of the sun. We tried all the different ways to get a photo of this event and finally after two hours and filters upon filters Nancy got the photo. Although I cannot take credit for this photo I must get some credit for the patience and tolerance for Nancy cursing when she cannot get the photos right in that first two hours.
Looking up this event on the internet I find it is more of a significance than just a happening between hundreds of years. It is very significant to Australia because Captain Cook was tasked to take scientist to Tahiti to witness this same transit in 1769 which led him to discover the east coast of Australia in 1770.
The transit happens in 243-year cycles, with two pairs of transits separated by eight years. The next one we’ll see is in 2117.
After fulfilling this mission we decided to go ashore Newry Island to have a good look around and a walk for the exercise. The tide here drops around 6 metres so we have to time our going ashore with around high tide.
We went ashore and met Mercedes and Gary and we started the 2.8 km walk around the island what a magnificent place it would have been in its time. It is very pretty now but its history as a small resort and place to visit must have been wonderful in that day considering in the 1930 to 1970’s not many people travelled very far on holidays. In those days it would have been special. It may have been that those days only people that were well off came here I do not know but it would have been special.
Today it is a national park and may I say well looked after, there are camping grounds, walking tracks and toilet shower facilities and it is in good shape. The historic buildings that are in ruins give some indication to the different owners that worked hard to build them. It is a shame to see that most of our island resorts are disappearing due to the fact that overseas holidays are more popular and probably cheaper which make them more attractive.
As we returned to our dinghy’s to come back on board ‘Neriki’ had just come in to anchor so it was sundowners on our boat with the crews of ‘Forever Dreaming’ and ‘Neriki’.
Newry Islands – 09/06/2012
We are staying at the Newry Islands until Monday now after looking at this morning’s weather charts, it looks like it is going to be a little windy at the outer islands. ‘Neriki ‘ and ‘Forever Dreaming’ left here yesterday morning for Brampton Island as they have not been there before where we have been a few times. Talking to them this morning they are alright but the anchorage is a little rollie. This is another reason we are staying here the Newry’s are well protected and they are so close to the mainland that the wind speeds are less. The higher wind speeds are generally out at sea and at the moment there is a strong wind warning issued.
The Newry’s are very attractive place and offers a good area to walk and socialise for visitors or passing yachties the National Parks have a camping ground here that would require a permit from them to use the area there are toilets and a rain water tank but no showers , no fires are permitted although we have seen evidence of one so gas BBQ would be necessary, there are plenty of tables and seats to have meals or sit and chat. Jill Knight who we met at Island Head wrote an article about the Newry’s and this can be read on the net website
Yesterday we went ashore to get a couple of coconuts, Nancy wanted the milk and coconut meat out of them my part was to get the stuff out. I have seen this done by a Vanuatu native at the cultural centre he hit the coconut on a sharp stick and that partially peeled a section of the nut outer skin then he grabbed that in his teeth and peeled the husk completely from the nut. I know what you may be visualising, no I did not try this. I had a hammer, chisel, screwdriver and hacksaw. I am sure the guy in Vanuatu got the coconuts whilst the outer husk was still a little green not dry and aged like these ones.
My first method was to hacksaw the top off the husk then a couple of cuts down the sides and peel the husk from top to bottom with the screwdriver, the second one I found easier to do by cutting the top of the husk off one cut down the side and then with the screwdriver peel from that cut around the circumference. it was a lot easier this way. Things we do to keep the little woman happy.
Well that’s about all I have we are just relaxing, reading and playing with the photos we have taken.
Goldsmith and Shaw Islands
Goldsmith Island – 11/06/2012
This morning at 0645 hours we weighed anchor to sail across to Goldsmith Island only a short sail of 16 NMS, one wished it was a sail, however, the wind was not with us and motor sailing was in order. I was not overly concerned as the distance not being that great it gave the batteries a good charge and gave hot water in both hot water services.
For those that do not understand the yacht life, our catamaran has two hot water units 25 litres each, one off the starboard engine that supplies hot water to the starboard showers and the port side that supplies hot water to the port showers and galley, this is achieved the same way a car heater works the engine coolant water is directed through tubes in the hotwater units heating the water inside. Whilst at anchor we heat the water via the generator as each unit has an electrical element. I digress.
Well we motor sailed most of the way before the wind decided to drop out completely and it was motors only for the last 4 NMS. When we arrived we first anchored in our normal spot in the southern end bay but this proved a little uncomfortable with the SSW winds causing a swell to roll in and in turn rock the boat. So we motored up to the northern end bay which was more comfortable in these conditions.
he anchorage: (1) – 20⁰ 41.062 S 149⁰08. 460 E this is the southern bay, this was very rollie with the SSW winds and waves all anchorages at this island can be uncomfortable majority of the time.
(2) 20⁰ 40. 220 S 149⁰ 08. 966 E This anchorage was better under these conditions however, during the evening the swell got a little worse and the evening was a little uncomfortable.
Many of the islands during strong winds and heavy swells can suffer the same as these anchorages however, they are beautiful places to visit and sometimes you have to put up with a little discomfort.
At 0800 hours when Mackay VMR came on the air we registered with them and shortly after ‘Neriki’ called us to say they were leaving Brampton Island and ‘Forever Dreaming’ was following and they would catch up with us at our destination. We arrived almost at the same time and anchored.
We had not anchored in this bay before so it was something new for us to check out, so we lowered the dinghy and went ashore. This place is very picturesque and today’s weather made it more so as the sun was shining and the sea was a perfect bright blue. We had a good walk along the beach on the way along a retrieved a plastic bag from the sea that someone had lost or discarded. Plastic bags in the ocean can be mistaken for jelly fish at sea and sea turtles thinking they are jelly fish will eat them and naturally will die because of it. Plastic bags at sea come from different sources, careless sailors, people on the beach that leave their rubbish behind but mainly from storm water drains. Those loose plastic bags that you may think you have secured in a park rubbish bin after a picnic or BBQ have the chance of blowing away into a waterway (drain in the park or street) then through the drains into either river, creek and then the sea. Please be careful when discarding plastic bags people. I digress once again, even better don’t use them.
Well we had a good walk along the beach checking things out, they have a long drop toilet (for those that have not heard of a long drop, it is a toilet that is built above a large constructed hole where your discharge goes, hence long drop), here supplied by the National Parks, that I may say I used, I noticed inside the toilet that they had a broom in the corner so I thought one good turn deserves another so I gave the long drop toilet a sweep out of the dust and leaves that had blown in.
After our little excursion we got back into the dinghy and went by ‘Neriki’ on the way back and had a cup of tea with Michelle and Ric and organised sundowners on our boat for 1600 hours then called by ‘Forever Dreaming’ and invited Mercedes and Gary over for sundowners too.
We returned back on board had a little lunch and a rest.
The people arrived at 1600 hours and we shared the sundown with them and of course a few refreshments and nibbles’ and it was a lovely sunset. We discussed what the next plan was and after me checking the weather on the net we have decided we sail for Shaw Island in the morning at around 0800 hours.
I love this life.
Shaw Island – 12/06/2012
The sleep last night was limited as the anchorage got a bit rocky and once woken by having to go to the head it was difficult to go back to sleep, I nodded off a few times but when I woke at 0400 hours Nancy was not alongside me, I called out to see if she was alright and she said yes she was in the aft cabin reading as she could not sleep.
I lay there for another hour before getting up and making a cup of tea for us both then I checked the weather on the internet and the wind was up a little which is good for sailing. We had said we would leave at 0800 hours with the others so we sat around waiting for them to start moving, at 0730 hours ‘Forever Dreaming’ was underway, I would say they had enough of the rocking. ‘Forever Dreaming’ is a Peter Snell design Easy Catamaran, and is a very light performance catamaran which would rock a lot more than us. Gary and Mercedes built it themselves over a 4 year period. I must say they have done a wonderful job it is very professionally finished, Gary being a builder by trade obviously helped.
We started getting organised at 0745 hours rolling up covers and opening the mainsail bag etc, we weighed anchor and motored out in a clear area and hoisted the mainsail then unfurled the genoa (headsail) and shutdown the engines and we were up and sailing around 6.5 knots. The swell was beam on but with good wind it did not rock us enough to shake the wind out of the sails. as we sailed out of the islands shadow we picked up speed and at times we sailed at 7 – 8.5 knots. With only 13 NMS to go it was not going to be a long sail. “Neriki’ sailed soon after us and I had a feeling Rick was determined to catch up with us this did not bother me as he being a larger cat with more sail area and probably lighter than us he should be able to do so. I like sailing and like to look at the islands as we pass them so I am not in a hurry to get to our destination. ‘Neriki’ was just behind us when we arrived at the entrance to Shaw Island and we entered together.
We dropped sails and motored into the anchorage, this is a better anchorage for the conditions we have been here before under 30 knots of wind and other than the bullets of wind the anchorage has been reasonably comfortable.
The anchorage: 20⁰ 30. 274 S 149⁰ 02. 813 E there is room for a good number of boats in this anchorage at present we have 9 yachts and there is plenty of room for treble that amount.
After we had anchored and settled the boat we lowered the dinghy and went ashore to have a walk and look around as we went towards the beach turtles raised their heads out of the water to see what was coming then dived away from us. It is nice to see them around yesterday we saw some at Goldsmith Island along with dolphins.
We had a look around a couple of the places ashore before returning for lunch and a little rest about a 20 minute nanna nap.
Just across from this bay at Shaw Island is Lindeman Island to the north, last time we were here we anchored on the north side of this island and went ashore and walked the length of the island to the resort and had lunch that we can see from our present location. I looked through the binoculars and could not see much movement so I thought I would check on the internet and found that Club Med had closed it on January 31st this year due to decline in tourism mainly because of the value of the Oz dollar and aftermath worries over the cyclones that had hit north of the area.
I also found that the place was sold in April to a Chinese-born mining investor William Han for $12m whose family runs one of China’s largest advertising enterprises. William Han is the Chairman of White Horse Australia and a non-executive director of Western Australia’s Padbury Mining. Mr Han said that he would like to get the interest back to the island.
We had a quiet night and a good nights sleep.
Shaw Island continued: 13/06/2012
Today was a day of chores I brought our small washing machine out into the cockpit and due to the bending and lifting water drums I did the washing for Nancy as it would have caused problems with Nancy’s back due to a past history of damage from her gym days. So I did the washing and Nancy got busy cooking bread and a cake along with some inside cleaning. Nancy has always complained about the oven in our galley after talking to Ric of ‘Neriki’ he said he had a similar problem and pulled the burner out and found it partially blocked so I followed suit and found a small speck of something in the small jet so now the oven is working a lot better.
Anyway I did the washing and our cockpit looked like a Chinese laundry for the day. The rest of the day was taken up with a few little chores and a quiet night.
Lindeman Island – 14/06/2012
The weather today was sunny and the wind had dropped to 5 – 10 knots so we all decided to sail the 3 Nms across to the southern end of Lindeman’s Island, I got there first and dropped anchor to the east side of the public jetty. As I previously mentioned that the resort was closed down and they do have moorings out off the beach and one this side of the jetty. I did not use the mooring as I thought it would be good for ‘Forever Dreaming’ as they only have 30 metres of anchor chain plus additional rope if required, both ‘Neriki’ and I have 70 metres of chain being larger and been offshore yachts.
Once we were all settled we lowered the dinghies and motored to the public jetty and climbed ashore. The first thing Nancy noticed on the jetty was about six fishing lines resting along the jetty’s fence. Most of them looked new and unused one that I noticed had a hook on the line it looked very new and there was no sinker attached. We was not sure whether they had been set up to make it look like there were a few people staying here or the fisherman was a novice.
The resort has tape and signs at most walkways stating authorised personnel only so we all walked past the resort and up the hill our intention was to walk the 3.6 kms to Mt Oldfield 212 metres in height. We assumed that this place had a caretaker but it was obvious that they did not do much in regard to keeping the place tidy the pathways to the resort units were full of dried leaves that had fallen from the trees.
Outside of the resort is all National Park and I would assume like most National Parks the walking tracks are their responsibility. The tracks have not been maintained since the resort has closed down this has happened at Brampton Island as well being no tourist to the resort they are taken off the maintenance list. This is different to the Newry’s, but the Newry’s are different because they have camping grounds so tourist may still go there. Places like Brampton and Lindeman only us grotty yachties visit and maybe very few of us do these walks.
Michelle lead the way on the walk and grabbed a long stick and as she walked she cleared the path with the stick at the beginning of the walk there are boardwalks over swamp lands that had fallen palm leaves that had dried when she pushed these off the path it was quite noisy which stirred up the fruit bats, so if no one had seen us land they sure knew someone had now heard us.
The tracks weren’t too bad just overgrown with grass and leaves and an occasional fallen branch Michelle cleared most of it and I helped as we went along. It was a beautiful day and as were got to the top of the mountain there were great views all around. We stayed and took in the views and had a little rest before the 3.6 kms walk back.
When we got back to the jetty we talked about what next. My suggestion was to head for Gap Bay in the north of the island, where we were anchored the swell rolled in from the SSW as was the wind so this put us on a lee shore and it was a little uncomfortable if the swell increased. Everyone agreed so we returned to our boats and weighed anchor. There was little wind to sail and what there was would be sheltered by the island as we went north so it was left to one of the iron sails (engine).
We got to Gap Bay and dropped anchor, it was just about flat calm, just after everyone was settled Michelle came over in the dinghy and invited us all over for dinner. It was Michelle’s last night before flying home for a couple of weeks for her grandchildren fix. She was flying out from Hamilton Island to go home check on the house and visit the granddaughters whilst Ric stayed with the boat.
We had our showers and went over to ‘Neriki’ in the dinghy, we had another great night with Michelle, Ric, Gary, Mercedes and of course the love of my life Nancy. We left to go back to our boats about 2200 hours.
Whitsunday Islands – 15/06/2012
Whitehaven Beach – 15/06/2012
Today ‘Neriki’ was off to Hamilton Island to drop Michelle off and ‘Forever Dreaming’ was heading for Whitehaven Beach, we initially was going to stay where we were but then we changed our minds and thought we may go around to Boat Port on the NW corner of Lindeman Island, one of the reasons was that we wanted internet coverage to check emails and weather. However, when we got there the SSW wind was blowing and the wind waves and swell was rolling in on that bay so we changed course and thought we may try Fitzalan Beach anchorage north of Fitzalan Passage, north of Hamilton Island. We got there and anchored. After anchoring I surveyed the area and decided that I would not like to spend the evening there due to wind direction and the wind speed that tends to increase around Hamilton Island. Nancy got on the net and looked at the wind charts, it had changed since last night’s predictions meaning the wind was on the increase. So we decided that we would head for Whitehaven Beach.
We hoisted the mainsail before pulling the anchor as we were facing the wind head on, after we left the anchorage we unfurled the headsail and shut the engines down and we had a fine sail of around 8.5 knots we sailed across to Solway Pass and had the wind and tide in favour to sail through Solway Pass. Solway Pass can be quite turbulent and has been known to throw yachts about which can prove very dangerous. As we got to Whitehaven we dropped sails and motored into an anchorage, I anchored a little further north than most yachts as I have been here times before and everyone including the big tourist boats want to anchor in the area where the walks are at the southern end of the beach, it also gives greater wind protection there.
About mid afternoon Mercedes called us on the radio and asked if we would like to join them for an early sundowners before the sun lost its heat. How could we refuse, so we grabbed some nibbles a few drinks and ashore to the beach we went. We sat and enjoyed the sun but as soon as it was going behind the hill we all took off in our dinghies before the evening chill.
Nancy started to prepare the evening meal and said we had fish or was that chicken? I have to write this as I found it to be funny, Nancy will probably kill me but I had to laugh.
Nancy said she got fish out for dinner that I would cook on the BBQ which is normal I cook most nights the meat on the barbie. Maybe I should tell the whole story first. A few weeks ago Nancy pulled a pack out of the freezer to thaw for dinner that night she told me she had got some chicken pieces out. After it had thawed and it was time to cook I took the meat out to the barbie and looking at it I thought this is not chicken and when I took it out of the gladwrap it was pork. So we had a bit of a laugh about it.
Last night she said we had fish and before I got up to get it to cook, she said I am sure this time it is fish because I smelt it and it smelt of fish. I sat there waiting for her to get things ready and she opened the gladwrap and it turned out to be chicken. So again we had a bit of a laugh about it. I got up and started the gas barbie then started to cook the chicken. Whilst doing this Nancy was in the galley getting the vegetables organised and I casually said to her, “When we go into Airlie Beach I must make a doctor’s appointment to get scanned as part of my check-up for the melanoma I had removed and whilst we there we may get your nose fixed. At first she looked at me questioning and asked “my nose”? Then she realised that I was having a go at her about the chicken smelling like fish. She just laughed and said “I walked into that one didn’t I”. That’s what I love about her she can put up with my terrible sense of humour.
Tongue Bay 16/06/2012
This morning we decided to head into Tongue Bay so after sunrise and a cup of tea we motored north to Tongue Bay and dropped anchor once settled we sat down and had a nice breakfast. Our plan for the morning was to do a few chores, I dragged the washing machine out again and washed the towels and sheets whilst Nancy cooked bread and cake and cleaned inside. Being all finished by lunch time, we had lunch and had a read of our books then at 1400 hours we picked up Gary and Mercedes off ‘Forever Dreaming’ and took them ashore for the walk to the lookout at low tide. They had done the morning walk at high tide and we had suggested to see it at low tide to see the difference.
When we got around to the beach around Whitehaven side in the dinghy the seas had picked up and the wind was blowing which we could not feel in Tongue Bay. I suggested that I drop the three of them off at the beach and then I would go around the Tongue Bay side and walk the dinghy through the shallow water through the coral and meet them at the lookout.
When I got back to the Tongue Bay side I cut the outboard as I neared the reef and lifted it out of the water, I stood facing the bow and rowed from this standing position so I could see and make sure I did not hit any coral, I went as far as I could then got out of the dinghy and walked the dinghy as close to shore as possible. I had to walk a crooked path to ensure no damage to any of the live coral which was very attractive. I also saw stingrays darting off as I neared them plus turtles and fish. I got as close to shore as possible then put the dinghy in a clearing and secured it there before heading ashore and of up the walk to the lookout. It was quite a low tide today and Hill Inlet was almost all sand, the unfortunate part was the clouds had moved in and the sun was behind them, it is an incredible view when lit by the sun.
When we got back to where the dinghy was the tide had started to come in but we had to wait for more depth before we could put everyone in the dinghy and not hit bottom. Gary opened up a coconut that he had for Mercedes but it had already started regrowth and when he opened it there was a seed inside.
We eventually had enough depth to get the dinghy out and return on board and after showers Gary and Mercedes came over for sundowners. Whilst we had sundowners we sat and watched a dugong swimming and diving between our boats and like most magical moments when we got the cameras ready he/she did not surface as soon as the cameras were put down up it came again, so you will have to take my word for it, it was magical. Another splendid day.