23/07/15, Airlie Beach
Sailing this Friday for Bowen and planning to arrive on Monday in time to shelter from yet another weather front!
15/07/15, May's Bay, Whitsunday Island.
This post has been written over nine days.
On Monday the 6th we were underway at 0730. I had a bit of a fright when lifting the anchor as I found it just off the reef. Lucky we didn't get any northerly winds overnight as it might have been a bit embarrassing. We sailed up to Hook passage at about 2 knots with bursts to 3 plus. It was a pleasant sail on smooth water without any dramas. At Hook Passage we had to resort to the iron sail to get through as we had the flood tide against us and the wind had died off.
Once clear of the top of Whitsunday Island we found a nice SE breeze which gave us five to six and a half knots. I decided this was too good to pass up, so we sailed the 3.5 nautical miles directly to Border Island and took up a mooring in Cateran Bay. After lunch I decided to get in the water for a snorkel and just as I was about to jump in one of the owners of Reflections came over and asked me to swap moorings as his catamaran was 2 meters too large for his present mooring. "After my dive", which was excellent, I said and it was so. Once we had completed the exchange I noticed his dinghy drifting off and I jump into my dinghy, rowed over and retrieved it to his yacht. As thanks I was treated to lunch and many yarns. Turns out they know my sailmaker who is also a near neighbour. Small world.
After returning to Seaka I cleaned up my mess, remember I had left in a hurry, and when I next lifted my head their dinghy was away again! This time one of them was swimming after it so I did not have to retrieve it. The down side to all this was that Seaka was now moored further out in the bay and it wasn't until tea time that I realized we were now rolling quite a bit. It was an awful night, not quite up to West Bay in the Percy Isles, but close enough.
I was awake before sunup in the full moon and by 0730 on Tuesday 7th July we were out of Cateran Bay and on our way to Tongue Bay. We saw some Skipjack Tuna outside the bay and one lonely Queensland dolphin. To get to Tongue Bay we had to use the whole passage between Whitsunday Island and Border Island, putting in seven tacks to do the six mile journey, but of course we took more miles than that to get there.
It's still a bit rolly here in Tongue Bay, [20 14.519'S: 149 00.975'E] but I'm thinking that most of it is from Motor Boats going past the bay as from time to time it quietens down. Went out fishing and once again got nothing, but on the way back to Seaka thought I saw Naked Spirit, a catamaran from my home port of Camden Haven. I was correct and later they came across for a talk. They are making for MacKay to leave there yacht until later in the year.
On Wednesday I started out for Whitehaven Beach but on reaching Tongue Point decided it was too rough, strong winds from the south east, so opted for another day in Tongue Bay. One good thing was that I got my first txt messages since going through Hook Passage. Back in the bay I anchored three times before I found a place that was "sort of" out of the swell. That afternoon I went ashore to walk over to Hill Inlet. It was very scenic, but no phone signal, and well used with apparently over 300,000 people using the walk and Hill Inlet each year. Back on Seaka I removed the dinghy from the water and secured it to the foredeck.
There was virtually no wind on Thursday morning so I motored off to Haslewood Island. On the way I got a good phone signal for my txt messages. That was really good! During this trip of 6 nautical miles I worked out that against the tide in this area I could maintain 3 knots and without the tide 4 knots. This is good information if I have to do a long passage under motor to get home. The weather pattern in Queensland means that if that is against the SE trade winds the passages will be done at night as the wind dies off to nothing soon after dark each day.
Our route to Haslewood Island took me past Whitehaven Beach and as I turned east 'Outahia' radioed that the bay was too rolly and that we should try for Chalkie's Beach further west. Unfortunately Chalkie's has a very steep beach which continues underwater, necessitating anchoring in 15 m of water. We both decided to retreat to Whitehaven where that afternoon we walked up the track that goes to Chance Bay. At the top we did get a poor phone signal, significant enough to download our emails. Just before dark I moved along the beach a bit in an effort to get out of the easterly swell.
Moving did not help and Seaka rolled all night while we had intermittent rain. Having not sleep at all that night I motored early next morning for one hour back to Tongue Bay where I crashed for three hours sleep. The next morning we were on our way to Haslewood Island again and this time as I rounded Esk Island I made phone contact with home. At Haslewood I went for a snorkel, water was 24 degrees, warmer in than out. I saw many of those fish that I had come to know in the late 1970s. The weather forecast predicted north-west winds for that night so the decision was made to return to Tongue Bay overnight. About halfway back I hooked and landed a Tuna which back in Tongue Bay I distributed to three other boats feeding almost a dozen people. I got two large meals out it.
On Sunday 12th July we set out again for Haslewood Island. Manage to make a quick call home on the way. I went snorkeling on the southern side of a small island near where we are anchored. There I found better quality coral than elsewhere in the bay. There were six yachts anchored around us and over 45 off Whitehaven Beach.
On Monday I went to a small sandy bay within Windy Bay with Tony who gave me some instruction on how to use a cast net. After a couple of throws I managed to get the idea straight and now only need to do a lot of practicing to get the skill correct. While there we did a bit of fishing but didn't get anything. In the afternoon I went for a snorkel on the outside of the little island where I saw a lot more fish, some quite large.
On Tuesday Hollywood came to Haslewood Island with the arrival of crews setting up a site for the filming of the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. Well it seems we are going to be "excluded" from this bay during filming so today, Wednesday, we motored to Hamilton Island going through the Fitzgalan Passage and then motor sailing, there was only 2 knots of SE wind, with the current, up to 7 knots in places to Airlie Beach.
So at Airlie Beach I have done a bit of repair work on the inflatable dinghy, only one small puncture to fix now, and dealt with the backlog of emails and txt messages. Shopping, washing, fuel and water tomorrow and then catch up on Friday, markets Saturday and then out of here again, possibly on Sunday.
New photos have been added to the Gallery.
05/07/15, May's Bay, Whitsunday Island.
Well a couple of days after BOM cried "Wolf" over a possible Cyclone it quietly disappeared from their charts. So we don't have to worry about that one!
I was in Airlie Beach for 3 days from last Thursday. During that time I restocked the larder and put 70 litres of water onboard. When I checked the diesel fuel I found that we had only used 10 litres since leaving the MacKay Marina so I only refilled the main tank and did not replace the fuel.
On the Friday, mid-afternoon, I finally made it to a Physio to have my leg check out. I pulled a muscle in my lower left leg on the day before we went over to Woodwark Bay. During my time there I had been resting the leg which turned out to be the best thing for it. I now have a couple of exercises I have to do several times a day to get it back to normal. We have a ways to go yet on getting this leg back to normal.
Today, Sunday 5th July, we sailed across to Mays Bay via Unsafe Passage. We left Airlie Beech at 0730 with full Mainsail and Genoa up and enjoyed a 4 to 5 knot passage in smooth water until the Pioneer Rocks off Mandalay Point. At that point I received a phone call from a mate who was ahead of me saying "That he had 20 knots [of wind] in the Whitsunday Passage". Taking that onboard, I dropped the Mainsail and so we proceeded on under Genoa only. We sailed across the Molle Channel at over 4 knots, past the Daydream Resort and into Unsafe Passage. Once clear of land and out into the Whitsunday Passage the wind picked up and Seaka took off doing 6.5 to 7 knots in the slight seas for the entire crossing. I really enjoyed that sail today.
We are now in Mays Bay and tomorrow will sail around the top of Whitsunday Island to Tongue Bay, a distance of 12 nm. From there I am planning to go to Windy Bay on Haslewood Island. I am also keeping an eye on the weather looking for a suitable window to go out 20 nautical miles to Bait Reef which is the closest bit of the outer reef to the Whitsundays.
30/06/15, Sunset Woodwark Bay
Well I've been in Woodwark Bay, 6 nm north of Airlie Beach, since last Wednesday sheltering from the high winds we are experiencing on the Queensland coast at present.
We will probably leave here on Thursday, BUT.
I am now doing the initial planning for taking shelter next week to avoid a CYCLONE !!!!!!
BOM today were saying there is a 20-50% chance of a cyclone next week.
Our plan at this stage is to run for Bowen, some 25 nm away during Thursday/Friday if necessary.
There I will take up one of the pile moorings for the duration.
It has been a fine day here but the winds are still around the 20 knot mark.
27/06/15, Woodwark Bay, sunset.
Managed to get the outboard motor carburetor cleaned out yesterday.
Went for a fish today and the outboard worked fine. Didn't get any fish but donated a lure to King Neptune. Also did a bit of housework today.
As you can read not much happening here at the moment and the prediction is for more rain and winds around 15-20 knots for all of next week.
BIG SIGH, not much I can do about it.
Came over to Woodwark Bay this afternoon.
Will be here until next week.