Getting ready for Rendezvous
18 August 2017
Back in Airlie again, seems like a home away from home. This time for four days to do laundry, water up, provision and get necessary liquid supplies for the SICYC rendezvous.
So what is this rendezvous? It is a gathering of members of the "Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club". With only eight years of existence, it has now grown to over 5,700 members in 17 countries. Everyone who joins pays a one time life membership payment of $65, becomes a "vice commodore" and gets a distinctive polo shirt. Members can then purchase a club burgee that is flown on the boat to signify their membership to other boaties.
The club has only two main aims, to have fun and to raise as much money as possible for prostate cancer research. There are no admin costs, or salaries, every dollar raised goes directly to the PCFOA.
Every year, in the last week of August, as many members who can make the journey, gather at Gloucester Passage, about 20nm northwest of Airlie Beach, where a tiny islet, Shag Islet, appears at low tide. Events mostly take place onshore at Montes Resort or Cape Gloucester Resort. Events are a constant source of entertainment and involvement, even a temporary live radio station is setup to broadcast the events on FM and live streamed on the net.
It is expected this year to attract more than 600 people and 250 boats. So far, over $400,000 has been raised for prostate cancer research. Money is raised by an attendance fee, auctions of donated goods and services from a growing list of sponsors, even from sundry sources such as a hairdresser being at the rendezvous donating her time and money raised, and a host of other sources.
At the outset of our cruise, we were always targeting the rendezvous as a prime objective, and so we will head off on Monday21st Aug, to gather for this iconic event. The event grows and grows, no doubt it will soon become a nationally reported event in the near future. It is a truly worthy cause and we have met a so many wonderful people who are as passionate about it as we are.
17 August 2017
After a couple of months in the warm, nutrient rich tropical waters, we have been noticing a diminishing performance from Tropicali. As sailors from millennia past have done, you need to clean the old girls bottom to get her back to her best. This scraping of growth and barnacles is called " careening".
This is an easy task in a catamaran, with the daggerboard up, rudder up, we can get her to float in just 500mm of water, which means you can stand up and walk around the boat.
We backed her into the beach just south of Hill Inlet (see previous post), put out a kedge ( back anchor) and dragged her in close. Despite it not being stinger seasons, we still put on our stinger suits, armed with stiff brushes and scouring pads, walked around and cleaned her as best we could. It must have worked a treat, she felt like leaping out of the water on opening the throttles to motor 2 miles down to Whitehaven Beach to spend the night.
Now for the funny side, in order to get the back anchor out, I opened the front port hatch and removed the two large orange garbage bags so that I could get the anchor out. I left these on the front trampolines while we donned our two black stinger suits and climbed into the water to careen the boat. After finishing, we swam ashore with stinger suits removed, walked up to the sand dunes at Hill Inlet for a peek inside and scope out the entry channel.
On our return walk, we noticed a police RIB with radar dome and aerials, parked up next to Tropicali. Now, the nearest water Police are based at Airlie, at least 45 mins away for a fast vessel. They appeared fixated on us as we approached, but as we pulled up the back anchor, waved and took off.
Whitehaven needs an air traffic controller...there is so much air traffic. We now think that some pilot has thought two people in the water with black suits, large orange bags on the front deck, looked suspicious and radioed an alert to the water police. I think by the time the saw us approach the boat, they would have checked us out, including having our images from drivers licence, address, age...etc and decided we did not fit the criminal profile. All taxpayers should feel reassured !?.
16 August 2017
I need to apologise to my readers at the outset! If you are sitting at a desk, having a boring day, or otherwise dreaming of being aboard Tropicali in the Whitsundays, the above picture may upset you!
Today we sailed from Macona Inlet to Tongue Bay on Whitsunday Island. Not only is it a beautiful spot, where the retired Sydney to Hobart boats take tourists for snorkelling, it is the place where you walk up to the lookout to see the above vista of Hill Inlet, and in the distance, Whitehaven Beach. It is the place where the pictures in the tourist brochures are taken. I always thought they were airbrushed, but was shocked by the sheer beauty of the place.
Tides are not right for us this time to get in for a few days, but we will try again after the rendezvous. Tomorrow we need to careen the boat and the next day, return to Airlie.
Anyhow, we climbed, we photographed then went a few miles across to Hazelwood Island to anchor for the night.
Macona Inlet..where's the coffee?
13 August 2017
Quick trip around to Macona from Nara, they basically lay alongside and are about 2 miles apart, but Macona is a little less fiord like, has more and prettier beaches. Dianne will tell you it also has fish! For that reason, we may be here two nights. As I write this, she is out oystering with my best hammer and screwdriver....anyway, happy wife happy life as the saying goes.
Had six aboard last night for sundowners, which turned into a 9.30pm finish, maybe I went overboard with pizzas, hot dogs then tiramisu....stick to the cheese and bikkies next time, shorter sundowners = better liver condition + less hangover.
The boat has started to grow a green weed, so tomorrow we will find a nice shallow sandy beach where we can careen her. Better go, oyster lady has returned with half a bucket of HUGE oysters.
Hanging at Nara with the poor
12 August 2017
As part of our week around the islands, we have decided to check out some of the popular anchorages. After Cid, we decided to head 7miles north to Nara Inlet, on Hook Island.
Nara is long fiord like anchorage, popular with bareboat charterers, close to Airlie and many other popular spots. Deep and protected, it also has capacity to hold many boats. At the very end, there is a waterfall and caves with aboriginal rock art.
Looking back to the entrance from deep inside, you can see North Molle Island.
After walking up Whitsunday Peak earlier in the day, it was nice and calm, just great to crash into bed at 8pm, and climb out 11 hours later, refreshed but with a few aching leg muscles between us.
Tomorrow, the sister inlet just next door, Macona Inlet. Right now, clean the boat and work on the tan.
12 August 2017
After a week at Airlie, it was time to get back out to the islands for a week, so we decided to visit some places that our friends told us were on the "must do" list.
First off, we decided to go to Cid Harbour on the biggest island, Whitsunday Island. It is reputed the Americans used it to gather their forces for the battle of the coral sea, however, these days it is just a pristine harbour for cruising boats to explore, including the point where you can walk 2.5 km in a seemingly vertical climb to the top of Whitsunday peak. Now having climbed Uluru (or Ayers Rock as I call it) this is another of those iconic climbs with a superb view to be ticked off one's bucket list.
Having partied with friends aboard the night before, a hangover seemed the perfect excuse to attempt the climb. The usual warnings about being fit, allowing 4 hours, taking water, avoiding snakes crocodiles etc were on the notice board, but after a bit of male chest beating, we headed upwards through the rain forest. The first part.....difficult, the middle bit, tiring but ok......the final ascent, brutal. Sherpa Tensing Norgay and Edmund Hillary would have been proud of the way we pressed on, with the final bit seeing us stop for breath every 15 steps or so. But we'd come too far to turn back and despite being overtaken by a tour group of y gens, we were not about to give in to mere old age.
The result was ultimately well worth it, wth views that a camera cannot reproduce. The pic is of the south view, with my bride in the foreground and Hamilton and Dent islands behind. The view the other way, just as stunning. 437m above sea level, gravity would take care of the descent, all we had to do was stay upright.