With our boat guests back in Melbourne, it was all go on Saturday to get everything done in Townsville for a departure the next day. Six loads of washing, refueling, and re-provisioning… But what this has allowed us to do is sail south without needing to stop at Airlie Beach, because with lighter weather returning, you can guess where we’d rather be… yap, at the Reef!
We made two big hops: Townsville to Cape Upstart – 60 miles, and Cape Upstart to Hayman Island in the Whitsundays – 70 miles, to be in a position to head out to the outer reefs on Tuesday. As we were offshore of Hayman Island, we were tempted to keep going straight to Bait Reef, but it would have put us there late in the day, not a good time to arrive. Better be safe than sorry!
We might have looked like we were sailing with main and jib up, but the motors were ticking along, particularly on the second day when there was hardly any breeze and a glassy ocean.
We would have liked to get to Gloucester Island on the first hop to shorten the next leg, but the dog clutch on our port engine was playing up and slowed us down, forcing us to motor sail the first morning on just one engine, something Anui does not do very well. Captain Fix It Wadie needed to attend to the clutch somewhere calm and Upstart Bay was it! I am very proud of his ability to keep our boat running.
We are operational again and are quite excited because we might be able to meet up with cruising friends Neville and Amanda on Bossa Nova, who we have not seen in a year. It will be a great opportunity to catch up on each other’s life, show them our new abode, snorkel together, play with the underwater cameras, all in those rare dreamy conditions at the outer reef. Not a bad way to celebrate Wade’s belated 60th birthday!
It looks like we will be at the reef for the rest of the week. How lucky is that?! With several days of calm weather, we intend to venture to more spots we have never been to, before continuing our southward descent.