We were desperate to get offshore and have joined forces with two other catamaran cruising teams who are like minded. Time to have some fun at the Reef!
It is amusing how things go. The three catamarans have just come off a shipyard after extended time fixing things. So all of us were itching to go: our dear friends Tam, Dee and kids on Oceaneer, a Voyage 500, Glenn, Karen and kids on Clair de Lune, a 46 Fountaine Pajot, who we met at Mackay and us on Anui.
We all love the Reef, are keen explorers and have decided to cruise together for a while. A glaring, that is one of the collective names for a group of cats… quite apt as we will be glaring at anybody else trying to muscle in on our spots! None of us play well in large groups, so that’s as big a team as we want for this Reef wander.
We are spending some time along the outer reef, exploring places none of us have ever been to before offshore of Mackay and the Whitsundays. Now that’s what exploring is about! After such a long phase of boat maintenance, it is just unbelievably exciting to be doing this at last, away from coastal cruising crowds, checking out what is out there: fishing, snorkeling, diving, playing, photographing, relishing our renewed freedom and each other’s company.
We did some serious research before we left. Chris spent hours looking at satellite images, downloading promising ones, saving waypoints, speaking to a few locals to get their recommendations, mapping out a rough itinerary and sharing the information with the Glaring of Cats. This is an overview of one of the regions we are targetting.
The boats are fully provisioned for a few weeks out there, but the weather is king and a week after starting our explorations we have had to come back to shelter closer inshore. We have been between 60 and 100nm offshore, starting with the inner reefs and quickly jumping to the outer reef line where the coral is healthy and fish life abundant. Here is a sample of our surroundings – very therapeutic!
We will resume our outer reef explorations once the weather settles. For now we are sheltered at Scawfell Island with no internet!