|AUSTRALIA Queensland - WHITSUNDAYS|
After over 2 weeks of more unbearable rolly anchorages and rough seas sailing we were glad to reach the Whitsunday Islands and joined many of our friends. However, in general, the Whitsundays were a kind of letdown...I guess we were just expecting something more tropical. The much talked about "famous cruising grounds of the Whitsundays" pales in comparison to our own Gulf Islands, although the water is a beautiful turquoise color and somewhat warmer. We had planned to snorkel, however, we were reluctant to enter the water because of "stingers" which are jellyfish that can kill you, or at least make you very uncomfortable for a very long time. We were told it was almost at the end of "stinger" season and we bought hoods to accompany our wetsuits just in case.
We joined Stardust, Spiritus Invictus, Matarua and Dikenja in the protected cove called Cid Harbour. It was a really beautiful spot and we spent the day relaxing and taking a short bush walk through the rainforest to Dugong Beach.
Since we all needed to reprovision and do some laundry and other boat chores, we headed across the bay to the resort town of Arlie Beach. Arlie Beach is very much a young person's place with loud music and coffee shops and cafes. In recognition of the beach that denies swimming below half tide (stingers, crocs, sharks and other nasties), a large lagoon-like swimming pool has been constructed, surrounded by grass and sand brought in for a beach. These beach side swimming areas are typical in most major centers all along the north eastern coast of Australia.
I was great to hook up with friends once again. One night we had a fabulous dinner including black lipped oysters for appies, on This Way Up, with Dave & Patty on their huge Australian Cat. Another evening Gord attended a "boys night out" on Spiritus Invictus. It was Ascension Day so I guess its was cause for celebration! However the next morning he felt the after effects and was unable to visit Arlie Beach for the morning market. Bob & Becky picked me up and it was nice to have fresh food again!
Since the weather was still unsettled, we decided to head for Hook Island, where there are a number of protected anchorages.
One of the best was Nara Inlet, a pretty anchorage that has a fiord like feeling. We followed a track up a rocky trail to Aboriginal caves and then on to a waterfall. Unfortunately the waterfall was practically dried out but it was good exercise.
|A small landing in Nara Inlet marked the trail to the Caves||We all met on the beach |
for the hike
|The primitive rock art was interesting and colorful|
A sociable cockatiel used our spreader as his perch
The hike afforded great views of Ascension at anchor in Nara Inlet
Butterfly Bay May 31
At the top end of Hook Island there was a Marine Park area that we thought might provide some interesting snorkeling. We set sail for Butterfly Bay and hit winds in excess of 30 knots and very rough seas rounding the northeastern point of the island. We finally got settled into the anchorage but the water was really too rough so we passed on the snorkeling plan and partied on Stardust instead as the sun set over the horizon.
|From the Whitsundays, we sailed with Stardust on an overnighter to Townsville. The scenery along the coast was high rugged, rocky bluffs covered in pine and scrubby eucalypt trees.|
Ascension & Stardust on our way to Townsville