Mackay to Airlie Beach

The weekend had arrived again and for promoters of the ‘drag races for powerboats ‘ all their hopes and wishes must have come true as the wind that had blown it’s guts out for 2 weeks had finally calmed down. For us it meant that we were able to get out and head north. The new membrane for the watermaker had still not arrived, nor had the flopper stoppers but as it was only expected to be a small break in the weather we decided to go. Barry and Lyn packed their 4WD and Van into storage at a nearby caravan park and made their way to the marina. Coming down the very long wharf to the boat alongside loads of people who were going out for the day to view the powerboats competing just off the marina breakwall. The sun was shinning and the temperature was 24 degrees and a mere 7 knts from the SE as we cleared the Ports breakwall and set the rhumb line course for Goldsmith Island, 20.40S 149.08E, steering 321 degrees, it was a very pleasant 5 hr trip. All of us were keeping a watchful eye on the water around us hoping to see some whales playing in the northern warm waters.

We set the anchor at 3pm just in time to get organised for a relaxing Happy Hour. The boys cast a line off the stern whilst I prepared dinner. As the sun was setting several more boats entered the bay for the night. This is a popular anchorage for those heading north to the Whitsundays.

Just before we retired for the night we asked Barry if he wanted to come fishing with us tomorrow morning. . . His first question was ‘what time????’ Daylight was our answer and the NO thanks, was his quick reply! So we told them to make themselves at home, gave them instructions on how to start the generator when they wake up. Then we were off to bed for the night.

Daylight came around quickly and we tip toed off hoping not to wake them. Our fishing destination was the rock 1nm SW of us. Here I caught my first Coral Trout, not quite big enough to keep, so he won a reprieve and was thrown back. From here on we pulled up an assortment of small coral reef fish, beautiful colours, all different shapes and sizes.

The sun was now high above us and we thought we should venture back to the boat to our visitors. Very quickly we swung into action to ready the boat for the next step. . . 

Destination was Shaw Island, 14 nm in near perfect conditions, all the way we were on lookout for whales. 2 1/4 hrs later we anchored in the bay, sheltered from the SE wind. There were a few boats in the bay, and a nearby resort that had small fishing boats buzzing around, but otherwise it was very peaceful, lovely crystal clear water, The bay was surrounded by steep tropical hills that ran down to golden sandy coral beaches and reef all around the foreshores.

We had a quiet night and relaxing breakfast before heading north 1 1/2 hr to Hamilton Island where we all were looking forward to seeing the completed Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

In the Whitsundays it is important to take note of the tides when you are moving around. Tides flood south and ebb north, so to minimize discomfort and wind against tide waves, we try to travel accordingly.

Coming into the passage between Hamilton and Dent Island you can see the runway for the airport protruding into the bay. We looked up the Whitsunday Bible ‘100 Magic Miles’ and they indicated that the zoning of this area had now changed, No Anchoring in the passage at all! There were moorings, but of course, all come at a cost! There were 2 public moorings, but only rated for monohulls under 9m! For anyone thats been here, there aren’t many yachts up here that qualify for that one!!

So our short visit to Hamilton became even shorter and as I took some photos Alan did a few circles out the front. Then we proceeded to Daydream Island and picked up a courtesy mooring whilst we sat and enjoyed a Salmon Salad lunch and a glass of wine!

We only had another few miles to get to Abel Point Marina for the night. Tomorrow we had booked a Hire Car to take Lyn and Barry back to Mackay(130 klm), as well as going back to Mackay Marina to pick up our mail and most importantly a new membrane for the watermaker, and our new Flopper Stoppers! We squashed so much into our day, as well as calling at the Whitsunday Tourist Park at Proserpine to have dinner with Mum and Dad.

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