Whitsundays Fun

For our second week with Grant & Debbie on board, we have continued to enjoy a mix of experiences both over and under the surface in the Whitsundays: sails in lively conditions, snorkels at the islands, bush walks up the hills, and just hanging at anchor. This is what cruising is about: seizing opportunities, doing what the weather allows, being open to the accidental but also relaxing, having fun and enjoying a nap when you feel like it!

This is a map of our trails and tribulations this last week:

As usual we have had to work with the weather which has been a bit rowdy. We sailed back from Bait Reef last Friday all the way into Cateran Bay at Border Island.

Grant at the wheel – it is blowing at 25 knots on the deck!
Heading back from Bait Reef, aiming for the furthest island to the left on the horizon
PB for Grant: 12 knots – rooster tail in our wake

We hid at Cateran Bay from 25 to 30 knot winds for a couple of days. It did not stop us from getting ashore and climbing up the saddle for a good view of both sides of the island, or watching baitfish balls and baby reef sharks off the beach. However in the main we chilled out, read, snoozed, cooked tasty meals… no snorkeling there, as being battered by chop did not appeal.

Debbie, Grant & Wade
Cateran Bay, with Anui moored on the left
The view from the other side of the saddle

With the wind easing a tiny bit, we ventured out for a brisk downwind sail to the northern most tip of Whitsunday Island and lucked out with a mooring at Cairn Beach. The aim was to snorkel on the little reef along the beach and do a nice walk ashore. We had never snorkeled there and although the visibility was poor and the current strongish, you could still enjoy lovely soft corals and a good work out to swim back to Anui. There are areas of rubble, yet the variety of species of soft corals gives you hope there might be some recovery.

And the next day the real workout was the scramble up to the Whitsunday Cairn, a volcanic rocky escarpment. It was a bit overcast and showers cooled us down after the climb, but we enjoyed the views and the exercise.

Tuesday saw us move around to the other side of Whitsunday Island, to the iconic Whitehaven Beach. No matter how often you have been here, it never fails to impress. But when it is your first time as was the case for Debbie, it is a breathtaking sight. The colours of Hill Inlet are to die for with the many shades of blue, turquoise and aqua. And the sand on the beach is like icing sugar: super fine and white, made of silica rather than crushed coral.We anchored overnight at the southern end of the Beach and did another walk to get panoramic views.

Hill Inlet
The view from the Southern Whitehaven lookout, looking towards Chance Bay on the left and Whitehaven Beach on the right.

After several days of unrelenting ESE, we were hoping the weather gods would give us another window to return to the Reef. We made an attempt on Wednesday however the wind and showers got the better of us. We persevered for a while but in the end we felt it was safest to turn back. We came in to Chalkies Beach, opposite Whitehaven Beach, had a snorkel among the soft corals, said hello to Nemos, had a few swan dives from the bow of Anui and a celebration of Wade’s birthday.

The birthday boy in full flight – Action shot by Debbie

With the weather clearer but still a little windy, we were torn between attempting to get to the reef again, or opting for one of the southern islands for a change of scenery. In the end we chose to sail to Lindeman Island, discretion being the better part of valour. It was a fun sail close to the wind and once again the services of George the autopilot were not required. Grant had fun at the helm!

Sailing past Pentecost Island
Coming into Boat Bay, Lindeman Island

As this post is published we are climbing to the summit of Mt Oldfield for magnificent views of the Whitsunday Islands, a fitting end to Grant and Debbie’s stay with us. It is back to Airlie Beach on Saturday!

16 thoughts on “Whitsundays Fun

  1. Lovely to see you all having a good time, and thanks for putting these beautiful images and your story on the web for us all to see.

  2. Maree and I both thought the image of Debbie, Grant and Wade looks a bit like the Victorian thinks it’s warm, and the Queenslanders think it’s not. Or perhaps it’s sun protection. Happy days.

  3. 9.2 for Wade’s dive (assuming the entry was as good as the mid air style)!
    Stunning underwater pics yet again!

  4. So pleased you had a good time with the cousins and showed them some of the wonderful things to see on the reef & islands. Loved the dive Wadie, I hope your birthday was enjoyable

    • Thanks Sue, it was very enjoyable! We had a good mix of activities as well as just chilling out. Hope we can do this with you also next year!

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