We continue our Southern Whitsundays Series by finally escaping from Thomas Island and heading to Shaw Island, a short distance away. We could have sailed there but we motored to recharge our batteries as after several days of overcast weather, our solar panels were struggling and Wade was fretting! Days of gale force southeast wind made the sea lumpy, with a nasty beam chop! But we did not have far to go.
Shaw is a very substantial island, one of the largest in the Whitsundays. It is not very wide, but it is long with several isthmuses where you can easily walk across the island from west to east. Here is an overview map.
We rounded Burning Point at the western end of the island and anchored in front of a little sandy beach.
As we arrived at low tide, we were able to get relatively close in, but the shore shoals a long way out and when we went ashore for a wander, we looked like we were anchored miles away! With threatening skies, a loud cloud base and the sand flats extending for miles, it made for quite moody shots.
The appeal of this anchorage is that there is a “Significant Bird Site” for the threatened Stone Curlew. We saw a few birds, including a Reef Egret which had just caught a fish, and a couple of Pied Oystercatchers, but no Curlew!
Gone was our solitude! Two big motor boats were anchored further out when we arrived and as the day progressed and the weather improved, three other yachts came in which is to be expected when the cruising book shows this to be a suitable anchorage for superyachts! Despite being busier, Burning Point was a very pleasant and calm anchorage. You could hear the wind howling on the other side of the island, yet we were sitting comfortably in totally flat water! And one big advantage: internet and phone coverage! It was so nice catching up with friends and family.
We headed off the next day and motored the length of the island in the hope of finding a different protected spot to stop at. There is another anchorage at Neck Bay, next to one of the isthmuses, but the current there runs swiftly at 3 or 4 knots and the reef extends out a long way.
We could just imagine spinning wildly at anchor in contrary wind and tide and a stranded dinghy if we explored ashore, so we decided to not anchor elsewhere along Shaw Island, and instead head for Lindeman Island which will be the subject of our next post. This will also be our last in the series.