After the luxurious taste of land life thanks to Nanny and Poppy we are keen to explore our ultimate destination The Whitsundays.
What better place to start off than the place of most Whitsunday postcard prints, heavenly Whitehaven Beach…..and we scored as the sea was dead calm (aka no metronoming Mummy!). Not only was it dead calm but the animal life also turned on as we saw Lace Monitor Lizards, thousands of Butterflies, Turtles, had a spectacular whale show of a baby calf trying to learn the moves of his proud Mum and Dad, a Dugong, the BIGGEST lobster I have ever seen ( I swear this thing was 3ft long! I reckon we would have earned a Guinness World Record if we caught it but the environmentalist in us left it as it had survived thus far) and we learnt that if you shine a torch off the back of the boat at night it attracted Squid, which we managed to catch just by dropping a net in (and released like good Greenies).
View looking south from Solway Circuit lookout
After 3 days of heaven at Whitehaven and neighbouring Chance Bay we checked the all important weather forecast (the weather was becoming like a 3rd child we consult with it so much) and saw we were going to get 3 days of yuck winds so we motored around to Cid Harbour which is the go-to area in the Whitsundays when the weather gets unfavourable.
With were aware that we may have a slightly rough night on our first night in Cid as the wind was forecast to blow onshore until 1am when it was supposed to switch and blow to the south. That was ok…. what we weren’t prepared for was the Gearbox of Evil to AGAIN crap itself just as we were trying to anchor, so we AGAIN can only go in reverse…. this time in 1m of onshore swell and with boats all around us (including Jezz, who was becoming our good luck charm). So with waves rushing up the back and into the cockpit we by some miracle of God secure the anchor without collecting the whole bay of boats and settle in for a bit of a rough night.
The night wasn’t too bad but in the morning the wind from the south was blowing a hooley to the point that every boat in the north of the anchorage had made a beeline to where we were in the south….. it was boat Pitt Street when we popped our heads out in the morning. It was the start of what was to later become known as ‘The Windsundays.’
Now bad weather and boats is not fun but bad weather, boats and 2 boys under 5 is best described as HELL. Harry and Ollie have taken very well to being cooped up for 3 days (NOT!) and to amuse themselves have decided to act out WWF until one of them gets hurt. Only solution….. run them! Not a 100m walk along the beach to collect shells but we haul them 3km straight up a mountain to Whitsunday Peak. Harry managed to walk 95% of the way which we are amazed by (and so apparently were others as they took photos of him to show their ‘lazy’ 9 year olds who refused to do the walk because it was too hard ) and Ollie was carried 95% of the way as expected. The views were amazing!
With the gearbox of evil not standing up to the quick patch in Mackay we have to go into Airlie Beach Marina via quick stop at South Molle Island. Molle lives up to its name as the people running it are rather unwelcoming as it is another resort closed to the public due to forces of nature. Such a shame as it is so pretty and at least the beach is not private property as the boys busy themselves making a reef out of various lumps of coral.
We drop the mooring at South Molle and sail to Airlie which is going to take us about an hour. All was ticking along nicely when wham over heels Annie out of no-where. We had heard of the term ‘wind bullets’ which are when a wind gust accelerates over and down a hill on the other side making the wind up to 50% stronger than the average speed and yes we just experienced one first hand. Annie takes it in her stride and rights herself immediately thank god. For the rest of the trip ‘bullets’ provide much amusement watching those who have chartered a sailing boat, put the whole rig up as they sail out of Airlie only to get slammed by a bullet and then watch them scramble to pull all the sails down.
Another reverse into the marina (insert beep beep beep sound) and we get to setting up daycare on the dock as we get the feeling we are going to be here for a while. 5 mins later a lady walks past with 2 boys who look the same age as Harry and Ollie. Could it be our first family? She walks past again 5 mins later and we start chatting. Turns out Anja is also from Pittwater and is looking after and home schooling her boys BY HERSELF on their boat The Argos while her husband Glenn works fly in fly out for a mining company in Perth. When Glenn is off roster they go exploring the islands as a family on the Argos. Anja instantly becomes my new hero in looking after her boys on a boat by herself and any previous princess thoughts of me thinking this adventure has been a little more challenging that I expected have gone swiftly out the window.
Her gorgeous boys Lewis and Freddie and Harry and Ollie instantly hit it off and we stick like glue for the next few weeks doing everything together. The mini wolf pack gets a little unruly when we are trying to manage the 4 or of them on their bikes but apart from that parents and children couldn’t be happier!