Wow we are lucky country to have such a beautiful place at our doorstep. The Whitsundays are 74 magic islands north of Mackay, most of which are off the usual tourist strip resulting in untouched, natural beauty with marine life abound. The downside….. it is windy!!!
We left Mackay and headed to Brampton Island which is about a 3 hour sail. On route we got our most solid lean up of the trip as Annie reached into 20 knots of wind and we were flying to our destination. That was until I hear the little voice of Harry. ‘Um Mummy there is water coming in your bedroom’…… oh God the WORST words you ever want to hear on a boat. I launch myself downstairs to see that Mummy has left one of the hatches open. Of course it is the windward hatch so water is pouring through straight onto my side of our bed. I swiftly close it and think ‘Well that would be karma to me for not fulfilling my hatch role.’ Generator on and 2 hours later with the hairdryer I finally dry it enough to think I don’t have night incontinence issues.
We arrive in Brampton Island which was once a salubrious resort but now in a very sorry state of repair. It is such a shame that so many of these resort islands like Great Keppel, Brampton, and South Molle are now shut. I do unfortunately understand why they are closed as the cost of running them would be immense. (They need to run generators 24/7 for power = $$$ fuel.) and the cost to rebuild after a catastrophic event such as a cyclone would be hideous. Recent cyclones are the reason why all of them are shut. (Don’t worry though as China is on the way to save them and is buying them all up and turning them into 7 star resorts that we cannot afford to stay in. The Wangsundays??? Such a shame and sorry, patriotic rant over…..)
We also saw our first sharks of the trip cruising up and down the beach a metre from the shore. They were little black tip reef sharks barely a metre in length and Harry was BESIDE himself as he followed them up and down the beach. They were much more frightened of him than he was of them and darted off whenever he tried to jump on them in the water. I feel sorry for the humble shark……. It has been manipulated into this horrendous flesh tearing beast courtesy of the movie Jaws when the reality is that you are more likely to be killed by a horse or a dog than torn to pieces by a shark. Google it, you really are! Good news is that the terror of them is driving people out of the water which means more waves for surfing 🙂 . In my 20 years being in the ocean I have only seen them twice and both times was in the Hawkesbury River, not in the open ocean. Food for thought…….
After Brampton we sailed to Goldsmith Island where we stopped for a lunch break and dip. Another stunning place, another turtle or 10 and here we met another character of the trip ‘Steve’. Steve proudly greeted us in his red budgie smugglers and gold chain and next to him beached was his Lightwave 45ft catamaran that he had custom-made. Steve instantly became our new hero as his ‘customisation’ included a spa on deck, he had huge engines installed so that if bad weather came he could do 22 knots (a la cruiser speed) to get out of there, and he could beach the thing meaning that his boat could sit on any beach he wanted and not have to worry about the tide. Annie on the other hand as you can see in the photos is anchored 50km away from the beach as any closer we would have been on the bottom. So with these boat improvements Steve has been sitting here on his free private beach for 2 months having the time of his life. Live the dream buddy, live the dream.
We leave Goldsmith and the short hop over to Shaw Island which is to be our anchorage for the night. Shaw, although not as physically beautiful as Goldsmith or Brampton (if I had to be picky!), has its own unique attribute in that the beach is covered in thousands of shells that look like little donuts. I have never seen a beach that has a concentration of one type of shell and we busied ourselves collecting them for Art Class. Ollie later knocked over the bucket full of these little shells into the traveller tracks much to the delight of Ric so again out comes the generator and the vacuum to suck them all out.
Along the way I have developed a strange new-found passion, not self preservation or nails or cooking or anything womanly like that, but fishing…… and I am are determined to hone my skills and become the next Rexette Hunt.
Along the way we had caught a couple of small Mackerel and Flathead while at anchor but nothing whilst we were actually moving which is how you land the biggies. The gentleman we bought the boat off had left a variety of nautical books on board one of which was called ‘The Cruisers Guide to Fishing’ so I got stuck into it in the hope of becoming a little more successful in my new obsession. Poor boys, down went Dr Seuss and my evening reading now consisted of what various lures worked and how far you should troll behind your boat and at what speed.
When we left Shaw the next morning I was up at the crack of dawn retying the lines and lures ready for the next sail based on what I read and low and behold within the first 5 mins the reel went bang but snapped a second later. At first I was upset at the fact I had lost the fish and my $20 lure but I was more mortified when a pod of dolphins were going crazy in the water right where it was. Holy crap did I just hook a Dolphin??!!??? I will never know but I keep telling myself that the dolphins were just going after the fish I had hooked and I didn’t impale the next Flipper.
Anyway, 30 mins later the rod goes wham again and this time I think I have caught my first 500kg marlin, only to realise that when it gets to the boat that it is a 50cm Mackerel. Still thrilled though and in my excitement of reeling him in he flicks off at the last minute and Mackeral blood, guts and scales fly all over the cockpit. The boys think this is hilarious as it flops about and I see Ric actually has a smile on his face despite his steering area smelling and looking like a seafood shop. We let Mr Mackerel go and I have a brilliant idea to clean up the cockpit with dishwashing liquid. Hmm, not so brilliant when it instantly becomes a full blown slip and slide and Ric nearly breaks his knees just trying to move to his steering position.
After the Mackerel moment the wind drops and to the point we are flying along at 2knots. We decide that it would be an opportune time to get the Multi purpose sail (MPS) out for the first time which is a beautiful sight to see and speeds us back up to 7 knots.
Our destination today is Hamilton Island Marina where we are to spend the week on land with Ric’s gorgeous parents. They have spoilt us rotten and hired a villa for Ric’s birthday. The highlight of which is a really big spa which I think we all soaked in at least twice a day each. Mmmm, spa. We had an amazing week with them which is best described by photos below of what we got up too. Thank you Nanny and Poppy!! xx