There is the scenic side of Cid Harbour, particularly when viewed from the summit of Whitsunday Peak, a climb we did a few days ago, and then there is the frightening side of Cid Harbour where two people got mauled by sharks this week.
Cid Harbour is a popular protected bay on the western side of the Whitsunday Island. It is an easy, convenient spot to anchor because it is large, shallow and can shelter many dozens of boats quite comfortably. Sawmill Beach in the center of the bay is also the start of two nice walks; one is the short and flattish amble to Dugong Beach, the other is the steep climb to iconic Whitsunday Peak. The Peak is well worth the effort because it offers panoramic views of the islands once you reach the top.
You certainly don’t go to Cid Harbour for privacy, that’s for sure. And now you don’t go there for a swim either! As most of our Australian followers will have heard, a lady and a child were badly bitten by a shark on the thigh in two separate accidents on two consecutive days. We heard all the commotion on the marine radio as their rescues were unfolding. Both were airlifted by helicopter to Mackay then Brisbane and are reportedly in serious but stable condition.
It was shocking to hear, but at the same time not totally surprising. The water has been quite turbid around the Whitsundays. Imagine pouring milk in turquoise water and that is what it looks like around the islands – you cannot see what lurks under your hulls. Not far from Cid Harbour are Nara and Macona Inlets on Hook Island. These are reputed to be spawning ground for Hammerheads, not the best spot for swimming!
Everybody says it is unusual that a single shark will attack repeatedly and fishermen have reported catching large sharks in the days prior to the accidents. So there are a few of these beasties around. Nobody knows exactly what type of shark did the damage but among the most likely sharks to attack people, bull sharks favor shallow waters – the same places humans prefer to swim. Tiger sharks also have a duly earned reputation for being man-eaters. Both will attack people inadvertently, but once bitten their victim suffer huge blood loss which can be fatal.
The Fisheries Department have set up baited drum lines and caught two tiger sharks! Stay out of the water in that bay!
We must admit that as we sit out a blow in Woodwark Bay, a mainland bay north of Airlie Beach with our friend Sue on board, we are feeling a little timid. Let’s hope the weather improves and we can return to the clear waters of the reef!