Posted by: glenswatman | July 12, 2010

20100701-10 AUSTRALIA Qld crewing on a yacht

201007

 

THURSDAY 1 JULY
2010 –
Both Jim and I feel better after a good sleep.  Jim finds a problem with his internet dongle
so makes the decision to go into Mackay city to sort it out.  We cannot get up the Pioneer River until high
tide so he moves nearby to monitor progress. 
We make it over the sand bar to anchor on the river just before the
bridge.  The city has thoughtfully
provided steps on the riverbank and these lead to a beautiful new park area
with super clean free barbeques.  We all stick
together to do the shopping.  Jenny is
mystified by many of our products and has great trouble picking shampoo and
conditioner, wanting to read and try to translate everything on the bottle and
unable to explain to me exactly what she is looking for.  We have quite a bit of shopping and Jim
decides we will take it back in the trolley. 
Amazingly no one bats and eyelid as we parade through the streets with
it then abandon it in the bushes near the bridge.  In the afternoon Steve & I go ashore and
make the pleasant riverside boardwalk which leads to Bluewater Lagoon.  This is a huge free swimming area with 3
pools, a water slide and kid’s water fun area. 
I do a bit of swimming, use the slide then make then enjoy a nice hot
shower.    

NICE N EASY, 30 MACKAY, PIONEER RIVER

 

FRIDAY 2 JULY – By
late morning the tide is high enough for us to motor out.  Jim heads up the coast towards Cape
Hillsborough.  It is a bit rough and
Jenny is sick again.  We anchor in a bay
opposite Smalleys Beach.  This is a spot
we visited previously in our campervan and preferred this as we could go out
and explore.  In the boat the shallow
waters and mud flats prevent us even going ashore in the tinny. 

NICE N EASY 30, SMALLEYS BEACH

 

SATURSDAY 3 JULY –
We set off out to Goldsmith Island. 
Another bumpy ride once the winds get up.  Even after arriving at the island we are
still bounced around in our anchorage. 
We are opposite a small island and amazed to see a helicopter fly in and
land by the house.  Jim eventually gives
up and we motor to the next bay which is a little calmer.  It is still not good for fishing.  Already in place are “Twisted” and “As If” a
couple of catamarans who were also at Middle Percy.  Jim gets the hair cutting clippers out.  First I do Steve’s and then mine.  Unfortunately the longest comb he has is a
number 3 so mine ends up a bit shorter than I would have liked – but not as bad
as Jims because when he starts to use them himself the comb falls off and he
doesn’t notice until he sees the huge pile of hair.  At least he will get his monies worth!  Jenny watches us all playing Rummy Kub and
masters the basics but can’t seem to grasp when it is her turn nor that she
must not try to look at other people’s cards. 
In the evening the winds are getting worse so Jim sets the anchor alarm
before going to bed.  If the anchor is
not holding and we stray more than 30 metres from our initial anchorage it will
beep.  Within minutes the alarm shows we
have moved 40 metres and this quickly goes up to 50.  Jim starts the engines and with Steve’s help
at the wheel finds us a better spot. 
With only coral shale to hold us we offer to take it in turns to do
overnight watch.  We stay up until late
playing cards then Jim takes over.

NICE N EASY 31, GOLDSMITH ISLAND

 

SUNDAY 4 JULY – I
get up a couple of times to find Jim resting in the salon and happy to keep an
eye on things from there.  I relieve him
proper at 6am but by now the anchor has stabilised which is more than can be
said for the winds.  He decides we will
hang around here for another day as we are obviously now well dug in.  I’m starting to get a bit bored now, too many
stops with no fishing and no visits to shore to do walks coupled with lack of
good conversation.  Whilst Jenny can read
and write good English her speech and understanding are frustratingly
poor.  I’m getting through a reading book
every couple of days and will be running out soon.  Jenny cooks the evening meal and nearly blows
all our heads off having put 8 red hot chillies into the pot.  Fortunately the plain yoghurt I made helps to
take the fire out of it but I still end up sitting up most of the night with
indigestion. 

NICE N EASY 32, GOLDSMITH ISLAND 2

 

MONDAY 5 JULY – We
leave under sail and again Jenny feels sick but starting inside playing cards
and not using her sickness wristbands doesn’t help!  After a couple of hours we arrive at Thomas
Island and anchor in front of a small beach. 
Jim takes us ashore and we try to do a walk following a dried up river
bed but too much debris has been washed down to allow us to go far.  We call in on “Twisted” and invite Chris
& Margaret for happy hour.  Later
“Christmas Beetle” arrives and Tim comes round and invites us for happy hour
and says he will include Twisted so I should get some good conversation tonight
and may be able to exchange a few books. 
At the moment we are getting poor weather in the morning but today are
lucky to have a nice afternoon.  Over at
Christmas Beetle we meet Tim’s partner Leanne who we learn knows our friends
Rob & Sylvia in Paynesville.  Now
considering these are the only people we know between Sydney and Melbourne this
is quite a coincidence.  It is a most
enjoyable time with lots to learn from the other two experienced crew
women.  Both catamarans were home built
but look really professional.  Smaller
than Jims they are in a different category as Jims is bigger, sturdier, but
also slower on the water.  Tim came from
Walsall to Australia when 7 years old and is now a dentist but on 7 months long
service leave.  With luck we will bump
into them again over the next month.

NICE N EASY 33, THOMAS ISLAND

 

TUESDAY 6 JULY – It
is a poor morning with rain but the upside is a stunning rainbow going into the
water at both ends – as they say every cloud has a silver lining!  Arriving in the Whitsundays we have internet
but get sad news that one of our squash friends from Newport has died.  We pass the holiday resort area of Hamilton
Island, not too appealing backed by high-rise. 
Not a soul on the beach or on the balconies of any of the
buildings.  Anchored at a cover on the SW
of the island we go ashore and collect lots of oysters.  There are many charter boats in the area and
it is interesting listening to their radio conversations about all the problems
they are having.  Amazingly you can just
turn up at the rental company and hire a boat with no previous experience.  We give them all a wide berth.

NICE N EASY 34, WHITSUNDAY ISLAND

 

WEDNESDAY 7 JULY –
Jim does us proud with a cooked breakfast.  Set of towards the mainland and call in at
South Molle Island.  Steve & I stayed
there in 1994 and want to see how much it has changed.  Calling in on the radio they tell us it is
$22 (£13) to anchor and $5 (£3) pp to come ashore – we don’t.  End up just next to Airlie Beach at Funnel
Bay but too far out to take the tinny in to enable us to walk on shore. 

NICE N EASY 35, AIRLIE BEACH FUNNEL BAY

 

THURSDAY 8 JULY – Jim
has suggested we might have a couple of nights anchored off Airlie Beach so we
can do laundry, take the bus to the shopping centre, have a walk, use the free
lagoon and have a pizza at the restaurant. 
We begin with the laundry but by the time it is done Jim has had a
change of plan, says we are just going to pick up bread and leave.  Wish I had known this as I would have had a
bit more of a walk.  Feeling very
frustrated not being able to fit in a decent walk every couple of days, as Jim
is not a walker it doesn’t seem to bother him at all.  We head off to Hook Island then into the Nara
Inlet.  It is a beautiful spot like a
mini fjord with nice sculptured sandstone rocks.  Jim anchors at the end well away from the
rental boats.  In the evening after Jim
& Jenny have gone to bed we feel the boat being nudged and then hear an
almighty splash. We pop outside and can hear something in the water doing heavy
breathes.  There are no strong torches on
board so we can only follow the sound with our ears but it sure sounds big like
a dolphin or maybe even a small whale. 

NICE N EASY 36, HOOK ISLAND, NARA INLET

 

FRIDAY 9 JULY – Heading
off further round the island we have Internet connection and learn that David
is in hospital.  Due to the time
difference there is little we can do until later.  We make our way to Butterfly Bay where there
should be good snorkelling.  As we arrive
Jim asks Steve to go to the front to pick up a mooring buoy but doesn’t explain
that he should be stood up to do this. 
Steve narrowly escapes another dunking. 
Anchored up we wait for low tide to snorkel but by then we are getting
wind gusts approaching 30 knots and blowing the water along sideways.  No good at all for snorkelling. 

NICE N EASY 37, HOOK ISLAND, BUTTERFLY BAY

 

SATURDAY 10 JULY –
Unable to get Internet of phone reception in Butterfly Bay Jim offers
to return to Airlie Beach so we can get updates on news from England.  We learn that David has 3 kidney stones and
should have an operation on Monday so we will stay near land to get updates.  Jenny is delighted that we are back on shore
and loves looking around Airlie Beach. 
This is really a backpackers resort and on Saturdays they have a street
market with clothing, produce, jewellery etc. 
Our friends, the owners of Taylorwood resort, are there so it is good to
have a brief chat with Rogin and Linda. 
Jenny can spend hours wandering shops, Jim has a few chores and Steve
& I volunteer to do the big shop.  $3.20
(£2) buys you a bus ticket for 2 –hours. 
Plenty long enough for us to go to Woolworths at the Centro shopping
centre and get back with 8 bags full of goodies.  We have ring side seats on the yacht for a
stunt aircraft flying overhead. 
Initially we have a heart stopping moment when we hear the engine stall
and the plane go into free fall with smoke coming out.  Jenny spotted Chris & Margaret from
Twister whilst walking round and they come over for a happy hour chat.  Later we go ashore for a “Dominos” pizza
followed by the free Internet at MacDonald’s.

NICE N EASY 38, AIRLIE BEACH

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