Nara Inlet and Airlie, again
17 August 2023
Stephen and Kristina Hall
We are in Airlie Beach again so I'm taking advantage of the weak internet signal. We needed to go to the Post Office to collect our US dollars and started with re-provisioning in terms of the offshore passage as well. We also met Steve's friends, whom he had not seen for years. I worry sometimes about my friendships - I am so far away from my dear friends and our day-to-day lives are now entirely different. I then see Steve meet his friends again after so many years and realise that friendships will keep going though after many years apart, I am more confident, that I will be able to maintain and keep at least some of my friendships.
Last time we left Airlie, we went to South Molle where there are a few treks and we did them all. I hoped to get access to the abandoned resort, but I didn't. I like these abandoned, almost spooky places. It is amazing to see how quickly nature takes back the remains of human intrusion but the resort was fenced off and I didn't squeeze through, because we had heard the guard dogs barking...
Next stop was Whitehaven. Luckily Steve had warned me that we wouldn't be the only ones there and it would be rolly. Well, what an understatement! It was crowded and the night was horrible due to the roll.
In the early morning we went ashore and walked to Chance Bay. I do not understand why people hype Whitehaven - Chance Bay is as beautiful as Whitehaven (okay, it is not seven km long) but it was empty.
The same day we motored the 3 nm to the obligatory Tongue Inlet and went to the Hill Inlet Lookout. There were hundreds of day tourists arriving with the various excursions boats. The boats went in and out, "vomiting" the tourists ashore. Then they marched like ants in a row up the stairs, waited for the slower ones, got an introduction by their tour guide, took a picture, put a toe in the water at the beach - and were carried to the next stop. Steve and I got in line - well, in fact, we ran up the stairs, passed the ones from the last tour boats, took pictures and left without going to the beach, too crowded. But I have no regrets, it was stunning. The colors - the blues, turquoises and whites - just magical. I therefore fully understand, why so many people want to come and see Hill Inlet.
Both of us do not enjoy crowded and noisy places so we left the moment we were back on Torea and headed to Cid Harbour to climb the peak in sunshine. With Torea, there were six boats altogether in Cid Harbour instead of the 60 plus the week before. What a nice and welcome silence!
The following day we went up the hill and afterwards sailed to Nara Inlet. The breeze was almost not existant - just enough to get a "reef in, reef out" lesson from Steve. The mainsail is so heavy, that normally Steve will hoist it and also do the reefing. But as I need to know how to do it, we will continue teaching/learning, whenever the winds allow.
It was nice and calm at Nara Inlet but I had expected a bit more of the cave. Well, the information boards on the Ngaro people found at the site are well done and informative but I had the rock paintings of Africa and Europe in mind - and compared to them, I personally found it a bit meager. However, I do acknowledge, that it is an important site for the Ngaro and it needs to be preserved.
When we left the inlet we wanted to continue with the reefing lessons but there was no wind. Instead we had a message from the Post Office that we could pick up our US dollars that we had had to order through them because it was impossible to get foreign exchange anywhere else in Airlie, nor in Gladstone or Bunderberg.
Now it is time to leave. The wind will become more northerly and Airlie is not the place to be in northerlies. We hope for a bit of breeze that will let us sail to Macona Inlet.