Day 52, SUNDAY 19th October 2014
We left early for Nara Inlet expecting competition for good anchorage locations in the inlet because of the impending strong weather.
Leaving Cid Harbour
We were able to anchor almost at the very end of the inlet hoping that it would provide the best protection. By night fall the inlet looked pretty full.
Lots of boats in Nara Inlet for bad weather
Before dark we lowered the tender and went to a little beach at the end of the inlet where there is a path to an aboriginal cave, Ngaro Cultural Site. It was a very short walk compared to our last expedition ashore.
Ngaro Cultural Site information
Ngaro Cultural Site at Nara Inlet
Strong wind gusts persisted all night with the boat moving around a lot but it was not too uncomfortable, just very noisy. We heard that even at Hamilton Island Marina the winds were very strong with several boats breaking their moorings.
The strong windy weather looks like being around for a while so we decided to head back to Hamilton Island for a few days. On the way out of Nara Inlet we passed this rather nice looking boat (ship?).
Is this our next boat?
Day 51, SATURDAY 18th October 2014
We have been to Cid Harbour before when we went ashore and took the short walk to Dugong Beach. This time we intend to take the long climb up to Whitsunday Peak.
While contemplating our departure, Jack, June and Anne (Debutante) turned up in their tender, so we grabbed our shoes and hats and hopped in to their tender for the ride to the beach.
As we got ashore I realised that we had arrived without water and without a camera! June kindly gave us a bottle of water and we decided to rely on her and the others to take photos for us.
Whitsunday Peak is 437 metres high and the climb is all uphill for about two and half kilometres. It was very hard work! It took about 2 hours to get to the top and Lyn and I were completely exhausted. Had it not been for our companions I doubt that we would have persevered. However, having reached the top we decided that it was worth it!
Exhausted but relaxed at the top of Whitsunday Peak
Us at the top of Whitsunday Peak
Whitsunday Peak looking north – Liberator in bay
Whitsunday Peak looking south
- June and Anne at Whitsunday Peak
It was much easier getting down and only took about 40 minutes.
The forecast for the night was for very strong winds (up to 30 knots) so we decided to head back to Nara Inlet.
Day 50, FRIDAY 17th October 2014
Having spent the night at Abel Point Marina (after our lovely curry dinner) we took on fuel and water then set off for Nara Inlet. On the way we encountered the magnificent sight of Solway Lass under sail (www.solwaylass.com).
Solway Lass under sail
We chose to anchor at Refuge Bay which was well protected from the incoming strong east south easterly. Only one other boat occupied the bay which turned out to be very calm.
Refuge Bay Nara Inlet
Day 49, THURSDAY 16th October 2014 We left Gulnare Inlet early to catch the low tide at Rainbow Bay so that we could snorkel over the nearby coral while the water was still clear. Arrived at Rainbow Bay at 08:00 and were able to use the most southerly mooring which was very calm. In the tender we motored north round Alcyonaria Point and Steen’s Beach. The water here was really clear and there was great coral and fish (see video). The water in Rainbow Bay was cloudy with poor visibility and poor coral.
On our return we saw Debutante, the first Stuart 47 built by our friend Jim Stuart when we had dreams of making a fortune building boats (well, that obviously did not happen!). Jack Overeem, the owner and skipper, invited us on board. Built almost 25 years ago Debutante was in excellent condition with much of the original equipment and fittings still in place. Jack was travelling with two friends from his native Hobart, June and Anne.
Debutante at Rainbow Bay
Jack, Ann and June aboard Debutante at Rainbow Bay
Around 13:00 we left Rainbow Bay, feeling quite exhilarated after our swim, to head for Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach (we had to return to complete repairs to our water maker). Reached Abel Point at 14:15 after a choppy crossing of the Whitsunday Passage. We had a lovely walk in to Airlie Beach and had an early dinner at Indian Summer, an al fresco Indian restaurant overlooking the Airlie foreshore. (Lyn has been hanging out for Indian for weeks!).
Airlie Beach Boardwalk
Airlie from Indian Summer restaurant
Day 48, WEDNESDAY 15th October 2014
While anchored we had a visit from a neighbouring yacht, Entice. The skipper, Greg and his partner, Karen, came by in their tender admiring Liberator. So we invited them aboard to have a look.
They were lovely people who have travelled many miles on their yacht over the last 15 years. They invited us back to their boat for drinks later in the day to join them and some other friends including Alan and Anne from SV Sagitaire which was anchored nearby. We ate freshly caught tuna sushi and sashimi which was awesome.
Drinks on board Entice Karen and Greg and friends
Day 47, TUESDAY 14th October 2014
With strong winds forecast for the next couple of days coming from both the north and the south we once again headed for our safe haven, Gulnare Inlet. More than 30 other boats also sought shelter here.
Crowded Gulnare Inlet – East view
Crowded Gulnare Inlet West view
Day 46, MONDAY 13th October 2014
We spent the night at our favourite anchorage, Gulnare Inlet, because it is quiet and safe in all weather conditions and has good internet and telephone reception.
On the recommendation of Amy at Abel Point Marina we went to Thomas Island today. It is located south of Shaw Island. We found the recommended location of Sea Eagle Beach to find that we had the bay to ourselves, at least for a enough time for a walk on the beach and a swim. It is a beautiful location. The picture does not do it justice.
- Sea Eagle Beach Thomas Island
- The whole bay to ourselves
As a special treat I cleaned and cooked the two mud crabs that I caught and Lyn prepared them in a meal fit for a king.
- Cleaned crabs ready for cooking
- Crab pasta and salad prepared by resident Master Chef Lyn
After dinner we settled in for very nice evening and night with the boat gently rocking us to sleep.
Day 45, SUNDAY 12th October 2014
We left Abel Point Marina yesterday afternoon for the short voyage to Gulnare Inlet where we spent the night in anticipation of a day out with friends staying at Hamilton Island.
I tried my hand at fishing again and caught a fish which I think was a Moses Perch (see photo). But it was too small to keep so I let it go. Also caught another crab. Soon we will have enough to make a meal from them!
We arrived at Hamilton Island fuel wharf at 9:00 to collect Steve Shale (my friend and trusted John Deere service agent) and his family for a day out on the water. They were visiting Hamilton Island for a family wedding. The party consisted of Steve and Alicia, Wyatt and Margaret (Alicia’s uncle and his wife), Bryce and Tasha (Alicia’s brother and sister-in-law) and their two children Matilda(5) and Scarlett(3).
We steamed to Waite Bay (about 1 hour) where we stopped for a walk on the beach and some swimming and snorkelling. We were the only boat in the bay so we felt very privileged (see video).
At about 12:30 we left Waite Bay heading for the renowned Whitehaven Beach and had a very nice lunch on the way provided by our guests. Fortunately for us, Whitehaven Beach was not particularly crowded like it was on our last visit.
Deserted Whitehaven Beach
Deserted Whitehaven Beach 2
Almost Deserted Whitehaven Beach
It was an absolutely stunning day enjoyed by all.
Lyn with her bucket and spade
Happy Couple at Whitehaven Beach
Beauty at Whitehaven Beach
Bryce, Matilda and Scarlett
Day 44, SATURDAY 11th October 2014 We had a lovely time walking around the marina and Airlie Beach.
Port of Airlie
Main street outlook in Airlie Beach
Everyone was very pleasant and polite even some young men travelling from the UK who took our picture.
Polite British boys in Airlie Beach
We thought that Airlie was very pretty.
Beautiful outlook from Bicentennial Walkway
More like South of France than Airlie
We also went for a long ride on our bikes. Being at anchor for week without exercise made me quite tired and lethargic. (Video to be uploaded to this page soon).
Day 43, FRIDAY 10th October 2014
After spending a week on my own anchored at Gulnare Inlet it was good to get underway to head for Abel Point Marina at Airlie Beach in anticipation of seeing Lyn again.
Abel Point Marina Airlie Beach
At last the love of my life has returned.
- Homecoming Dinner at Barcelona
Day 41, WEDNESDAY 8th October 2014
While checking the crab pot (which was empty) yesterday morning I looked back at Liberator and could not resist taking this picture:
- Anchored at Gulnare Inlet
For those of you that have been concerned that I might not be eating properly (e.g. Beth Cook) I am happy to report that I have been looking after myself very well. It is nowhere near as good as Lyn prepares but I am hardly starving.
Fruit salad breakfast
Korean BBQ Pork with vegetables
Crepe Suzette – not pretty but tasted great
And today I found a crab in the pot that I will be able to eat! It lost a claw the battle to get it out of the crab pot.
Crab to eat
Day 39, MONDAY 6th October 2014 To occupy my time while anchored here in Gulnare Inlet I thought that I should try my luck with fishing. Yesterday, the first fish I caught was 7cm long so I threw it back. The next one was much bigger but too small to eat. But instead of letting it go I loaded it in to the crab pot as bait for mud crabs.
I caught a fish
Lo and behold, this morning I retrieved the crab pot to find 3 crabs in it! Unfortunately they were all too small to keep.
- Small Crab
Day 37 SATURDAY 4th October 2014
Left Hamilton Island at 10:30 on my own. Anchored at nearby Gulnare inlet which is a very well protected and safe location where I will stay until Lyn returns late next week. I have lots of food, many books on my Kindle and good Foxtel reception.
Day 35, 3rd October 2014
We received some sad news yesterday afternoon: Lyn’s ex-husband, Michael Burcul, passed away. She is going back to the Gold Coast this afternoon to be with her children and for the funeral. I will be staying on the boat impatiently waiting for her return.
Day 35 THURSDAY 2nd October 2014
Today we got underway early (06:00) in order to get to the reef to catch light winds, calm seas and a mooring buoy. Mooring buoys are provided inside the reef where anchoring is prohibited.
On the way from Hook Island to Bait Reef
- Boats on moorings at Bait Reef
We arrived at 07:30 and met the first two conditions only to find that the only buoy available was marked “DO NOT USE”. So we waited for an hour. No-one vacated any buoys so I decided to have a close inspection of the prohibited buoy.
Do Not Use buoy at Bait Reef
While I was doing this a young man in dinghy came along side and said that it was OK to use this buoy and that he had tested its strength. Gratefully, we hooked up to the buoy and prepared for our first dive.
My first attempt at using the GoPro underwater produced some very poor results, so here is just a snippet:
I was so busy with gear and the GoPro that I forgot to take photos of us in our dive gear (what a sight, perhaps it was just as well!).
We left Bait Reef quite exhausted after our diving and swimming and settled for an anchorage at Macona Inlet on Hook Island. Not a great place to stop, it was a bit uncomfortable at first but settled down late in to the night.
- Macona Inlet
Day 34, WEDNESDAY 1st October 2014
We arrived at Butterfly Bay at 11:30 after a windy and choppy trip from Cid Harbour. In order to get close enough to the beach for a swim we had to wait for a mooring to become available. These moorings have been placed to preserve coral and other underwater life instead of permitting boats to anchor, so we did not mind.
There is a time limit of 2 hours for a stay at a mooring. So we got our snorkel gear together, went to the beach by tender, had a quick swim and a look at some mostly dead coral and rocks. But at least Lyn has now had some experience of getting her hair wet!
Sorry, no photos. Will get some the next time we pass nearby.
Since we had to leave this mooring we moved to Stonehaven Anchorage for the night.
Stonehaven Anchorage, Whitsunday Island
From our anchorage we could see Hayman Island Resort in the distance.
Hayman Island Resort
- Sun going down over small islands and the mainland from Stonehaven Anchorage
Day 33, TUESDAY 30th September 2014
We arrived at Cid Harbour at 14:00 and found an anchorage close to the shore at Sawmill Beach.
After launching the tender we went for a look at the beach. There are two bush tracks there but it was too hot to tackle them at that time so we planned a return for the morning.
What else do you do on a very warm afternoon at sea?
Relaxing at Sawmill Beach
Day 34, WEDNESDAY 1st October 2014
We went for an early morning walk through the bush before breakfast.
On the beach at Sawmill Beach Whitsunday Island
On the bush track at Sawmill Beach
The end of the track at low tide
The story behind Sawmill Beach
View from Sawmill Beach
Michael at Dugong Beach
Lizzard at Dugong Beach
Dugong Beach Cid Harbour
Day 33, TUESDAY 30th September 2014
We left the Hamilton Island Marina at 09:30 for the short run to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island.
There were many boats visiting Whitehaven Beach with lots of people on the beach and it was very windy as well. We went ashore but stayed only a few minutes after digging our toes into the very nice white sand. We will revisit after school holidays (when we will take better photos!).
- Very crowded Whitehaven Beach
With the wind now coming quite strongly from the south east we went back past Hamilton Island and made our way to Cid Harbour for the night.
Day 32, MONDAY 29th September 2014
On this glorious warm sunny day we walked over the hill from the marina to the main resort hotel (for exercise instead of the lazy way by shuttle).
Bungalows at Hamilton
Artworks on Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island Resort pool with island outlook
Went to the beach for a swim and spoke to a very nice couple from Minnesota, USA, Heidi and Dan. Heidi is a country music radio announcer and Dan runs a pizza business.
Heidi and Dan from Minnesota
Spent the rest of the day walking then relaxing before a romantic dinner.
Water sports at Hamilton Island Resort
Cocktails at Hamilton Island Resort
Dinner at dusk at Manta Ray Hamilton Island
Sunset at Hamilton Island Marina
Day 31, SUNDAY 29th September 2014
Arrived at Hamilton Island at 11:30 after the very short journey from Gulnare Inlet on Whitsunday Island on another stunning day in paradise.
Unlike other marinas we have visited, at Hamilton Island Marina a boat meets you at the entrance and escorts you to your berth and then helps you tie up. Very nice service (which you pay for, berth rental is about double any other marina).
Hamilton Island Marina is full of very nice boats! It is also very busy with charter boats coming and going. It is particularly busy at the moment because of school holidays.
The whole island is one very large resort with hotels, apartments and houses. We took the free shuttle bus around the island and found that it looks to be very well maintained. There are thousands of golf buggies running around the island which are the main mode of transport for visitors and residents.
Marina entrance Hamilton Island
Resort reception entrance
Hamilton Island Resort Hotel
Liberator is in this picture somewhere!
Above Hamilton Island Marina
Nice big yacht
Day 30, SATURDAY 27th September 2014 We left Plantation Bay, Lindeman Island at 08:15 in very calm waters, sunny and a warm 26 degrees heading for Gulnare Inlet which is a very long inlet with mangrove creeks running for many miles in to the island. It is a very protected anchorage which is very suitable for today because of an expected weather change for strong winds from the south east. We used the eastern passage out from the east of Lindeman Island leaving Shaw Island to starboard, past Pentecost Island then through the Fitzalan Passage which lies between Hamilton Island and Whitsunday Island. Anchored at 10:30.
Pentecost Island north of Lindeman Island
Resort on Hamilton Island as we passed by
I loaded up the crab pot in the faint hope of catching a crab for dinner. We shall see!
View from Gulnare Inlet looking back o Dent and Pine Islands
- Hopeful crab pot near the mangroves in Gulnare Inlet
Sunday, 08:00. The crab pot was empty! Obviously I have no idea about fishing! At 11:00 we departed Gulnare Inlet for the very short trip to Hamilton Island.
Day 29, FRIDAY 26th September 2014
Departed for Lindeman Island via Kennedys Sound leaving Seaforth Island to port and passing to the north of the shoals. Beautiful day, very serene. Travelled at a slow 6 knots with our tender in tow to take in the beauty. Photos cannot do it justice, you have to be there (here!).
Anchored in Plantation Bay which is just to the east of the now deserted Club Med. Apparently, it has been bought by a Chinese consortium who plan to redevelop the resort into a 6 star destination for $700 million which will include some residential properties. It is now being looked after by four caretakers who keep the grounds and weeds under control. It was quite sad to see this once iconic resort now decaying.
Speaks for itself
No-one home at Club Med – very sad
Lindeman Island Pier – stunning
End of runway at Lindeman Island
Deserted Cub Med at Lindeman Island
Caretaker at Club Med Lindeman Island
We went ashore for a good walk, met Dennis and Ros from Tasmania. They leave their yacht in Tin Can Bay and come up every year for sailing.
Dennis and Ros from Tasmania
When we returned to Liberator we saw Gypsy Rose II drop anchor. What a surprise! Gypsy Rose II was my first yacht. The current owners, Peter and Carla Vermey, have travelled over 70,000 miles in her! (Vanuatu, Borneo, PNG among others). Most of the fittings are still original but she has been painted off white (used to be light blue). It was enjoyable to reminisce my time with her but we are in awe of Peter and Carla who have taken her so far afield. It is a testament to the design and to Jim Stuart who bought the hull and deck and fitted it out.
Gypsy Rose II
Day 28, THURSDAY 25th September 2014 Filled up with fuel at Mackay then left for the short run to Shaw Island. It was an easy run with the sun shining though a few clouds, light winds and slight seas. We arrived at Billbob Bay on the south side of Shaw Island. Launched the tender and went ashore for a walk and took some nice pictures.
Relaxed at Billbob Bay
Wet feet at Billbob Bay
Very tropical at Billbob Bay
Selfie at Billbob Bay
Not enjoying the flies at Billbob Bay
Is this Paradise?
Amazing where mangroves can grow
Billbob Bay Shaw Island
We spent a comfortable night at anchor here.
Day 26, TUESDAY 23rd September 2014
We have been in Mackay since last Thursday. On Friday we took the boat out of the water to clean the bottom and carry out a mechanical inspection followed by a sea trial. The result was that the bottom was clean, mechanics under the boat all OK apart from some wear on the propeller.
The weather forecast did not look inviting for venturing further north for about a week so we settled in for an extended stay in the marina.
We have been riding our bikes in to Mackay for exercise and sight seeing. It has been a bit windy but still quite warm except for the last couple of days when it has been very windy and raining hard. We handled the traffic Ok but did not fare so well with the magpies!
We rode on the Bluewater Trail which is a local council constructed trail around the outside of the city. Mackay itself has 2 large shopping centres but we have not found much else to do that is easily accessible from our marina location.
- Liberator dwarfed by neighbouring boats
The view of the Mackay Marina from our berth
Mackay Harbour rock wall provides protection from cyclones
- Liberator at Island Head from Jim
Rougher than it looks at Mackay
Historic Light House at Mackay
Another view of harbour wall being made higher
Day 20, WEDNESDAY 17th September, 2014
We left Island Head at 08:15 in slightly choppy conditions which improved after a couple of hours, leaving behind our companions, David and Jim on their boats, Mandalay and Storm Boy II. Our destination is Mackay but we needed to stop for the night at Curlew Island which is a little over half way.
Curlew island is quite small and not a great anchorage for the conditions (north westerly winds) but we managed quite well with our new stabilisers.
On the way to Mackay we passed Hay Point which is the terminal for coal exports. Outside there were lots of ships waiting to load up.
Ship at anchor at Hay Point
Ship Dodgem at Hay Point
And, to add to our excitement for today, we saw this very close to our boat:
Rescue practice at Mackay
Day 19, TUESDAY 16th September 2014
Left Rosslyn Bay at 09:20 in perfect cruising weather (sunshine, light winds from behind and calm seas).
Leaving Rosslyn Bay
We passed some magnificent scenery which pictures cannot do justice, you had to be there!
Cape Manifold from the helm
We caught up with and passed our friends aboard Mandalay and Storm Boy II.
Mandalay at Cape Manifold
Storm Boy II speeding at Cape Manifold
Arrived at Island head at 13:50 having cruised at a leisurely 14 knots. Island Head Creek is a truly beautiful location. It is totally secluded being accessible only from the sea. The whole area for many miles north, south and inland is reserved as a military training zone and so isolated there is no mobile or internet coverage (but Foxtel is OK!)
Anchored at Island Head Creek
Jim and David joined us for another of Lyn’s gourmet meals, this time, one of favourites, curry! (Sorry, no pics.)
Had a very comfortable and peaceful night’s sleep.
Day 18, MONDAY 15th September 2014
We have been in Rosslyn Bay for a week carrying out some mechanical repairs and waiting for a suitable weather window for the next leg of our trip – to Island Head. We are due to leave at around 9:30 this morning.
Here are some pictures of a recent excursion in to nearby Yeppoon.
Fisherman’s shanties in Yeppoon
View from the best street in Yeppoon
This is not a wreck!
Cycled up the steepest hill in Yeppoon
Day 12, TUESDAY 9th September 2014
Spent the day in port. Gave us a chance to clean the boat inside and out and do some washing. An issue with dirty fuel delayed our departure till Thursday.
View from our boat in Keppel Bay Marina_1
View from our boat in Keppel Bay Marina_2
We used our time in port to hire a car (very small!) and have a look around Yeppoon.
Driving the very small hire car
Aerial view of the marina.
Day 11, MONDAY 8th September 2014
Rained for most of the night and still cloudy this morning but wind is moderate (under 15 knots). Left for The Narrows at 07:30 to be there for high tide at 08:30. From the satellite photo it looks like it is impassable.
Following Storm Boy 2 through The Narrows
A rainy start to The Narrows
Corral at The Narrows
Arrived at Rosslyn Bay Marina 11:30 after a joggley crossing of Keppel Bay, wind at 15 knots from ESE and seas less than 1 metre. Allocated berth too short so arranged with the marina office for relocation to 18m berth (Red 15). Blow off conditions made for a difficult berthing with help from one person ashore. Could not have managed without good bow and stern thrusters.
Bluff Rock – Rosslyn Bay
Day 10, SUNDAY 7th September 2014
Graham Creek – Gladstone
After a very comfortable night in Graham Creek we went in to Gladstone for some shopping and sight seeing. There is not much on offer in Gladstone but we had a nice walk and took some photos of local sights.
Gladstone Yacht Club
Gladstone – Nice landscaping in the park
Gladstone Marina Facilities
Dinner on board with Jim in Graham Creek.
Enjoying dinner in Graham Creek
Tomorrow we head for Rosslyn Bay (Yeppoon) via The Narrows. The Narrows is an interesting waterway between Curtis Island and the mainland which is high and dry at low tide which permits livestock movements to and from he island.