With 15-20 knot winds we had a great 30 odd mile sail from Goldsmith Island to Cid Harbour. We must be getting some protection from the reef now as the waves were not big making for a comfortable ride and as we came passed Dent Island the water was quite flat.
We rode the current north with sheltered winds on our own sunset cruise, dodged a few ferries and turned up the Hunt Channel to drop anchor at Sawmill Bay. It was a calm evening with 20 other boats for company - we’re truly in the Whitsundays now! Naomi was happy to be on flat water.
For various reasons our plans in Airlie Beach got changed, which meant we spent an extra night at Sawmill Bay. After Naomi made puftaloons for morning tea, we took the dinghy for a ride to some deserted beaches back toward the channel.
Set off at 7:40am wednesday out of the north entrance of Cid Harbour and there was a healthy breeze across the Whitsunday Passage and Molle Channel. Boats were everywhere and all seemed to be converging, like us, toward Airlie Beach. As we came around Pioneer Rocks the wind dropped
so I let out some more jib, but regretted it later when as we came beam reaching across the bay we were hit by gust after gust, some near 30 knots, which had me fighting the wheel hard to stay on course as we heeled heavily. We saw another boat that had just overtaken us with more sail up have an almost complete broach.
As we drew nearer the marina, in an attempt to clean the cockpit up Naomi threw our binoculars under the dodger and it smashed the external speaker for our VHF - I had only got it working again last week ! - and that’s no way to treat precision optical equipment. I wasn’t too happy and may have said some bad words. After circling once outside the marina to give Naomi time to look up the marina map we docked with the help of one of the marina staff catching a line - now part of the service from the new owners of Abell Point Marina. They also charged us less this year (now that doesn’t happen often!) - but at 70 $ for one night they are still expensive.
The Coles delivery truck,
with our new pile of food, arrived before we had a chance to visit the marina office. This had been our longest time without visiting a shop, almost 4 weeks, so there was a lot of food to pack away.
We walked into town for Naomi’s obligatory visit to McDonalds, which I didn’t object to and back in time to collect our washing from the laundrette, shower and meet Naomi’s parents. Alex had been very excited about Don & Cheryl’s visit but came over very shy when they arrived. We caught up over a drink in the cockpit, headed out for more shopping for fresh food and a solar shower bag (we had lost one overboard in the rolling about on our way to Goldsmith) and then to their chalet at the Big4 for a BBQ dinner.
After we had morning tea together the next day, said our goodbyes to Naomi’s parents who hopefully we will see again in Townsville, picked up our 2nd load of washing and filled gas tank, and checked out of the marina. A cruising couple (the Everitts) we met last year pulled into a nearby berth just before we
left- turns out they are heading to Darwin too. We motored around to the mooring area in front of Airlie Beach and procrastinated over where to anchor. It had been a while since we had anchored so close to other boats and this would be the first time we left the boat over night on the pick.
Popped into town for lunch, leaving the dinghy on the pontoon at the yacht club. Back at the boat we sent in our application for the Sail Indonesia Rally so now we’re really committed. And then returned again at 5:30 to be met by our friend Dale who we cruised alongside with briefly last year. He took us back to their new house and we spent the evening catching up with him and his wife Tam, and Alex got to play with their two kids (again he was very shy to start with). Gave us some good and reassuring advice about the trip to Darwin. Naomi enjoyed sleeping on a bed on land, but not the traffic noise that starts at 4am.
After a reviving bacon & eggs this morning, Dale dropped us back at the yacht club and
we set off on our trip again.
Had a lovely slow flat sail north out of Pioneer Bay, and I set out the trolling line but caught nothing. I was keen to stop at the first beach in Woodwark Bay as the guide book said there was a walk there. So we pulled in after the first headland, agreeing to move on later as swell was coming in, and Naomi steered us to the edge of the fringing reef to drop anchor. I told her to reverse up to check the anchor was dug in properly and both spun around in surprise when we heard the whir of the trolling rod to see the line taught straight down the side of the boat- it quickly dawned on both of us the line must have wrapped around the prop! A jovial blame game began - Naomi claims that she didn’t know the rod was set, apparently not hearing me tell her. I had forgotten to bring it in but she had not looked behind her for obstructions when reversing. Who is to blame?
Right or wrong I took the majority of the blame and got ready for
Luna Ray in distance
a swim. I wasn’t keen, I seem to have developed a fear of deep water in the last few years…. maybe too many shark movies. I forced myself into the water and under the boat and sure enough the line was wrapped around 20-30 times. It took at least ten dives to unwind and cut the line free, and I retrieved the lure too. Came out of the water relieved but pleased I had managed to do it - I feel pretty silly about my irrational fear but is it braver to overcome a silly fear like that or to not have the fear in the first place?
We paddled ashore and walked up the beach to the walking track but it was nowhere to be found. I made my own path up the small hill which gave views back to Airlie Beach and then returned to where Naomi & Alex were waiting on the beach. Found another possible path - more of a parting in the tall grass and this took us down to the beach on the other side of the peninsula.
Back at the dinghy, I tipped it up to let the water drain out, forgetting the back pack was in it which rolled down into the pool of water - and I hadn’t even taken the bung out anyway! What was wrong with me today?
The wind had dropped, and the swell with it so we decided to stay the night in Woodwark Bay.
I have managed to put my first video on YouTube which features the first part of my trip to Europe and California, the second part should be on there soon :
PS 2/8/15 This part of the trip is featured in this video "Whitsunday to Cairns" at
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