Posted by: glenswatman | July 21, 2010

20100711-20 AUSTRALIA Queensland crewing on a yacht


day starts with clear skies but it soon clouds over.  Back on shore we head out to the new “Port of
Airlie” marina to look around.  In the
sales office we chat to ex Geordie Andrew who tells us we can go through the
barrier to look around.  The marina
enclosure has been created on reclaimed land and $16m spend on making a
beach.  Plots of land are selling around
$2m then you have to pay to build a house and for a mooring.  Spend a bit of time by the lagoon hoping that
the sun will go out and tempt me to swim but to no avail.  We think of our daughter Claire when we see a
canoe go past with a couple of long distance ocean swimmers behind. 



and Netty visited David yesterday and say he seems very positive and should be
operated on today for his kidney stones. 
Jim moves round to Funnel Bay where we are looking out to the huge
P&O cruise ship.  It is a really
strange day for weather with some really hot sunny spells mixed in with cool
drizzly parts.  I have been saving any
recipes from magazines and bought the ingredients on Saturday for Jenny to make
the chocolate orange buns.  With only bun
cases and no bun tin the mixture spills everywhere and is a bit undercooked but
they still taste pretty good.  It’s a
small fish catch for the lads but enough for us for supper.



call to see how David’s op went. He hasn’t had it but says he has seen the
specialist who wants to do a dye test to determine the exact problem.  He assures us he will be fine and insists we
move on.  Jim heads out towards
Whitsunday Island.  Jenny is sat on deck
behind Jim and suddenly gets up clutching her mouth as though sick.  Not so, sat behind Jim he has just passed
wind straight into her face!  By noon we
are anchored at Whitehaven Beach – but not for long.  The anchor has fallen off the chain so we
must move off with Steve “driving” whilst Jim attaches another one.  He’s actually not too bothered as it was an
old spare he picked up that someone else had lost.  Safely fastened up we go ashore to what is
known as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world.  It is a very long narrow stretch of squeaky
white silica sand.  At the south eastern
end we enter the National Park and do a walk up to a lookout but the views are
not over the main beach.  Within the
forest we see plenty of evidence of the recent cyclone that went through with
small trees dangling from big ones.  Walking
along the beach it seems to go on forever and the further you go the less
people there are.  We turn back when we
meet Jenny on her return.  Back on board
she has a go at snorkelling off the back but we have trouble explaining that
she needs to keep her head in the water rather than stick it out when she wants
to breathe.  Jim moves us along to Tongue
Bay, en route we see a charter yacht in the bay dragging the dinghy with the
kids having great fun bouncing up and down in it.  Many people charter boats out of Airlie Beach
and after Whitehaven the next most popular anchorage is Tongue Bay and here we
find 15 yachts.  On shore we walk up and
over the hill to Hills Inlet lookout for the most amazing views of the
beach.  Now we can see why it is in the
top 10 and in fact cannot think of a better sight.  We also walk to lookout beach and see soldier
crabs and all their tiny mounds.  On
returning to the boat it is low tide and we have to wade between the coral.  The shapes, colours and amount of visible
coral is fantastic and we also have to watch where we are walking to avoid a
couple of “blind” Epaulette sharks.  This
has to be the best day so far surpassing Percy in our opinion.



Jim decides now is the time to go out to the reef, conditions must be
good as it is a long way and he likes to stay out there for a few days.  Heading over the ocean the depth reading
shows over 180 metres.  We see a splash
in the distance and realise it is a whale, without altering course we get a
little nearer and it treats us to a couple of breaches.  Anchor by Barb Reef but there are few fish
and it is a bit blowy.  Jim then moves on
to Hook Reef where there are so many fish hauled in they nearly cover the
cockpit floor.  Tomorrow Jim says we will
visit an area with a pontoon and see what we find there.



Jim gets out his smoking oven and smokes a batch of fish for breakfast
using red wine oak chips to give it flavour. 
The weather has changed and is now rough and windy and bouncing us
around.  With a bad forecast Jim heads back
towards the mainland.  We have a good
wind going in and go pretty fast with the sails up.  On Hayman Island Blue Pearl Bay is full with
no spare anchor buoys.  Further on we
pick one up at Langford Island and settle in for the day.  A nice yacht comes past us and we notice it
is named Enid, didn’t know Mum had one!  We
have internet and learn that David needs major surgery as he has twisted and
blocked kidney tubes and apparently has had this since birth.  He also has a kidney infection so they won’t
operate for a couple of weeks until that has cleared.  In the meantime he is going to stay with my
Mum in Market Drayton.  We are opposite
Hayman Island, the exclusive playground of the rich and famous.  Langford Island is just a small island at
high tide but as the tide go out we see it has a sand spit that runs out and
joins up with a sand island.  During the
night we get a message to say Claire has passed her next 2 chartered
accountancy exams and also get a copy of Natasha’s excellent school report.



FRIDAY 16 JULY – Another
change of wind and change of plan as we head back to the mainland.  Woodwark Bay is very sheltered and we anchor
at the far end.  Walking along the beach
we are greeted by a couple of black dogs who are obviously friendly as they
approaching us by bringing a stick for us to throw.  It is so funny when the stick goes in the
water as they both reach it at the same time and walk out with it between them
as neither will let go.  There are a few
straw roof building at the end of the beach but with huge “no admittance under
any circumstances” signs.  The book tells
us these were erected for the shooting of a TV series “Tales of the South
Seas”.  Shame we can’t take a look
around.  Jim returns up the bay to
another anchorage amongst a few boats. 
Next to us is “As If” and Peter comes over for a chat and book
swap.  In the afternoon I cook up cheese
scones and prepare curry and bread and butter pudding for dinner.  The lads do a bit of fishing and haul in a
few nice sweet lip and parrot fish. 



When I go out on deck I see a mono hull yacht on the beach on its
side.  The owners have beached it in
order to clean underneath but it does look really strange.  Whilst Jim is chopping up bait a friendly sea
gull lands on the fishing table to scavenge what it can.  On the shore we chat to Maz and his Philippine
wife Paz who are painting the boat.  Next
we walk along the shore to gather a couple of jars of oysters off the
rocks.  On return we meet Chris; he is
from Geelong and visiting his Mum & Dad on their yacht.  They have a cute dog called Percy who loves
oysters.  Back on board I have a quick
swim before dinner.  Late afternoon we
head to the beach for happy hour around a fire. 
Chris’s parents Neil & Ellie join us; they are on yacht “Fairweather”
and tell us horror stories of when they first sailed up here through big
storms.  Later John & Di from Tassie
come over for a chat.  Steve gets on
really well with Chris and shares his Bundy and coke.  By the time we are ready to leave Steve is
blathered.  Jim decides it will be safer
to take Jenny & I back first.  He
returns to pick up Steve and arrives back with Neil as well to help.  Getting Steve into the boat he fell headfirst
and bumped his nose, something to remind him of the evening come tomorrow! 



make the short journey round to the southern most of the two “Double
Bays”.  There’s a small shack on shore
that people are trying to do up as a meeting place but it still has a long way
to go. There are poems by a now famous artist, a kerosene fridge and bush
dunny.   Further along Jim & Jenny go on shore for
a feed of oysters but Steve can’t face them (wonder why).  In the afternoon we return to the first spot
for a quiet night.



the wind in the right direction we manage to sail most of the way to through Gloucester
Passage to Cape Gloucester.  There is an
off shore island but also a beautiful beach on the mainland.  Taking a walk we find Monty’s resort.  We walk the beach in both directions and also
find a newer Eco resort.  It’s closed on
Monday and Tuesday but the maintenance man says we are welcome to use the
pool.  It is just beautiful being behind
the beach and infinity style.  Spend the
rest of the afternoon back on board.



a short sail across to Gloucester Island where we anchor off Bona Bay.  Jenny joins us for a pleasant walk over the
hill and across a lagoon to the next bay. 
Retuning is a bit more of a challenge as we try to walk around the beach
rocks but can’t then try the inlet to the lagoon and also fail.  At least by backtracking we end up with a
good long walk.  In the afternoon Jenny
makes dozens of “jaio zi” filled with fish – a kind of tiny pie (like a dim sum
or wan ton) that must be either boiled in water or deep fried.  There’s confusion over the evening meal  as Jim wanted us to have fish & chips
which we were happy with but having seen Jenny spend 4 hours making her meal we
feel maybe we should have that.  It all
turns into a bit of an argument and Jim spits the dummy as he is prone to do.   There have been a few other issues such as
his swearing at us so I say maybe it would be better if we got off at Bowen
tomorrow.  Jim say we might as well get
off tonight, ups anchor, throws the fish, oil and potatoes over board and sets
off.  En route he calms down a lot,
realises there was a lot of misunderstanding including language problems and
says he likes us and wants us to stay. 
We have had some great times but also point out that we can’t cope with
his swearing and cursing us and he says he will try to reduce it.  By the time we get to Bowen we are all
friends again and Jenny is especially happy as she really did not want us to
leave.  The jaio zi are served up and
whilst Jim & I do not like the boiled version the fried ones are delicious.



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