I cant help but feel proud that we have arrived in the Whitsundays under our own steam - we are here and it feels great!
The crew sailed from Scawfell Island bound for Shaw Island in a very strong breeze and a nasty wind against tide action for much of the way. I have made a mental note to myself to be careful where we anchor next time at Scawfell as we spent 1/2 an hour cleaning the thickest and slimiest green weed off the chain before leaving - not such a great way to start the morning!
The forecast for the next few days was a very strong 30-35 knots so the crew elected to anchor behind Shaw Island which has good protection - and blow it did! For 48 hours it was between 25-40 knots and the 6-8 boats in the anchorage barely put there heads out the companionway except to check on anchors. I must admit to wondering if the Whitsundays was always 25 knots or above?
The wind slowly eased to 18-20 knots and we motor sailed across to Hamilton Island as we were due to meet Tim and Pam - originally the plan was to pick them up and anchor at various non touristy places but due to the still strong breeze we decided to spend the time at the marina and use it as a base for Tim and Pam to organise their following week of sightseeing.
|Tim and Pam preparing for the day|
Pam gets the big Aunty's thumbs up however. Walking down the marina surrounded by very (very!) expensive large boats, Tim asks 'if I owned any of these boats, which one would you want me to have?' Pam quickly responds - 'that one' and points to the Pod....Pam should have been a politician but it earnt her brownie points none the less!
Tim and Pam stayed with us for a few days and then it was time to head to Airlie Beach to reprovision and meet some of Pete's friends who were bringing out their trailer boat for a spot of fishing on the outer reef - whilst using the Pod as the mother ship. Doug and Jason have been part of the 'crew' who Pete has been on many fishing charters with over the last few years including Fiji, Nomad etc.
The crew headed out to Nara Inlet to anchor in preparation of the teams arrival - we wanted to ensure we had a safe anchorage so that whilst the guys were out fishing I didn't have to re-anchor if the breeze changed. After such strong weather, the weather gods shone and the second day was a spectacular day of sun and barely any wind. They had a great fishing day with Spanish Mackerel, Coral Trout and Red Fish caught. One of the Mac's was tooooo big for the Esky so off came his head!
|A Mac without his head - still tastes great!|
The crew enjoyed the guys company for two nights and a great meal was enjoyed, cooked by the captain, of Mac for entrée and Coral Trout for main.
|Coral Trout - one of gods gifts to the kitchen|
After saying a fond farewell - the crew has moved around to Stonehaven which is a lovely anchorage and we have spent an afternoon paddle boarding over the coral and zipping around in the dinghy exploring the surrounding beaches. It was an amazing day of light breeze and clear water.
The crew then moved onto Whitehaven/Hill Inlet as the forecast was for very light breezes for the next week and this is a good opportunity to explore the area which can be exposed to the trade winds when blowing. Unfortunately after arriving at a mooring, the Captain went off to explore the fishing opportunities. The fishing was so good (3-4 Golden Trevalley and 2 Queenies in about 15 minutes!!) that being the great Captain he is, he came back to get me so I could enjoy the fishing. Not such a good move...first cast I caught a good size Queenie, cast out a second time and hooked up just beside the dinghy as I was retrieving...the hook didn't quite set and the hook flung back and went straight into my middle finger.
Upon first glance the captain thought we could get it out but once we got back to the Pod we realised it was a bit deeper than first thought, so we sailed/motored back to Airlie so I could go up to Proserpine hospital. It turned out to be a rather long night as it took 4 hours to get back, and hour or so at the hospital and I finally got back around 1am! No harm done really - a local injection and a good doctor and I have already healed up no more than 2 days later.
So the crew have headed back out again - we will try the same area, because there is fish still uncaught by the captain....