Saturday, 7 September 2013

Getting Hot Under the Collar...

Last post had the crew returning to the Whitehaven Beach/Hill Inlet area to replicate the fishing efforts of the Captain (not mine for obvious reasons!)

The offending hook

Jason's catch of fish
The crew headed over to Macona Inlet for the first nights anchorage so that we could take advantage of the tide going through Hook Passage the next morning.  A fast moving Southerly enabled us to sail over, and the crew spent a lovely afternoon in Macona which has proven to be one of my favourite anchorages.  There is a reef around the anchorage but other than that the water is lovely and clear with a number of white sandy beaches to explore. 

Macona Inlet - solitude compared to the more popular Nara Inlet
In the morning the crew headed around to Whitehaven and anchored about 50 meters off the beach - it is a lovely sandy beach obviously but needless to say in near perfect conditions, just about every boat in the area is also around there!  The weather was definitely getting warm (the wind had also died) and it was easy to start getting hot under the collar - thank goodness for the Pod's awesome shade covers. 

Perfection in the Whitsundays - from the deck of the Pod
This magnificent weather didn't stop the fish from biting and the captain still managed to catch a few Queenies and a number of Trevally before the Captain set off on the paddle board to explore the Hill Inlet area.  This area is amazing and a haven for all marine creatures - from small fish, good size sharks and off course the stingrays who are about in significant numbers as well.  The captain commented - that this was probably his best day so far in the Whitsundays so this probably better explains the beauty and wonder of the area.

The crew decided to anchor around at Tongue Bay for the night but upon arrival there was  heaps of boats with the same idea, so we elected to anchor in the next bay along, Apostle Bay - this now ranks as my second favourite anchorage in the area.  It is quite a large anchorage, with plenty of swinging room and not another boat to be found.  There was heaps of turtles (around 30 in our bay) who pop there head up next to the boat, take a deep breathe and dive back down. 
Then we spotted a large whale and a very small calf no more than 300 meters away from the Pod just lolling on the water.  I must admit to being concerned at first that the big girl was hurt until we pulled out the binoculars and realised she was suckling her baby - it was one of those moments where you appreciate the simplicity of how nature works.  Upon sunset I wished her safe passage on her long journey with big kisses to her baby calf.

Looking down the visible length of Hill Inlet - it goes for miles
The crew spent 3 nights in this area and on the last day we walked up to the lovely lookout that has views over Whitehaven and Hill Inlet - this is a lovely walk through the bush with spectacular views from the top.  The water is so clear that you can see the lemon sharks and stingrays swimming around the shallows below. 
With this amazing view in mind, the crew decided to take the dinghy exploring up the 6 or so Km's of the Hill Inlet area - we had a great time as there was no one beyond the first 500 meters of the entry - we simply motored for miles, past small sand passages, into mangrove surrounded areas and marine creatures jumped and swam away as we passed by.  This is a spectacular place for which words probably will not adequately explain.  Some places had the crew so awed we were silenced (a rarity for those that no me!).  I hope the photographs go some way to showing her beauty.  I am glad however that we have the trusty Tohatsu outboard as 'she' worked hard on the return journey, as the tide turns a bit later down the end of the Inlet compared to that of the entry.

Whitehaven and the entry for 'cats only' to Hill Inlet
Sadly the crew decided that we needed to return to Macona Inlet for another 2 nights of perfect weather and then make our way back over to Airlie Beach - the crew had a great sail across to Airlie with 12 knots of wind and the kite flying (no main) at about 7 knots. 

The Pod under spinnaker heading to Airlie
We were lucky to meet Doug for dinner at the sailing club (what a life - Doug was back for another fishing charter!) and spent the next few days enjoying the local markets and the lagoon area for a swim each day!

The captain 'working' - running some new lines
The crew did make one vital mistake - cruising boats are lucky to enjoy the use of the sailing club dinghy wharf for free.  Of course we planned oh so carefully to come in on high tide but misjudged the time we would take shopping/swimming etc.  Upon our return 'Poddyin our tender' was high and dry - oh well, we just sat in the club enjoying a cold drink and then under the shade of a tree to watch the tide eventually roll in!

Poddin - High and dry at the dinghy wharf!
It is now time to say goodbye to the Whitsundays and continue our journey North to Magnetic Island and Townsville.  Its been an amazing time....


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