Most cruising yachts left for their migration south a while ago. Why are we still hanging around so far north at the beginning of November? Because we are booked in at Mackay for the warranty servicing on our Yanmar engines.
So this week was about killing time. Generally when the northerly winds have arrived, we are well and truly on our return south so we rarely get to visit those anchorages on the southern side of the islands. We discovered two we had never been to before. Here is the tour!
Turtle Bay – Whitsunday Island
We started with Turtle Bay which had one boat in it on our first day, although a whole fleet of charter boats the next. This bay is lovely, with a series of sandy coves. This is what it looked like from the air:
We took advantage of the gentle conditions and clear water to clean up the waterline as Anui’s boot line was fringed with bright green hairy algae! She now looks much better. It should tie us over until she gets lifted out of the water and antifouled.
Bengie has been enjoying her beach walks. It is good to get her moving again. Her fur is growing back as she is no longer over-grooming, she eats well as long as you give her what she wants, but very stroppy otherwise. She is getting difficult in her old age and we are still watchful.
Waite Bay – Haslewood Island
Beautiful Waite Bay on the SE side of Haslewood Island was another new find.
We had a little look at the fringing coral, but it was not very good and neither was the water clarity. It is however interesting to note that Waite Bay acts as a ‘feeder’ reef and produces larval coral recruits for other reefs in the area, so it is a significant marine habitat.
This gallery gives you a glimpse of what was there. Click on the first image to see more details and scroll through each photo.
We went for a dinghy ride at high tide to the surrounding beaches and spotted a couple of juvenile sharks patrolling the shallows. Better not stay too long in ankle deep water as they are rather curious, fast and flexible! The light was interesting as were the colours of the rocks.
The northerlies picked up to 15-20 knots so on Tuesday it was time to take a sled ride to Keswick Island, 40nm south, the last of the Southern Whitsunday islands. It is a handy spot to come to before we make our dash to Mackay. We stayed there for a couple of days. This aerial panorama was taken last year and shows the SW side of Keswick and neighbouring St Bees Islands. This time we are anchored in the Egremont Passage between the two isles, so we don’t have to keep moving with the change of wind direction and have plenty of clear space during the thunderstorms!
With a SW change forecast, the breeze getting quite strong until next week and thunderstorms, we decided not to dance around with the anchorages or scare ourselves coming into the marina in 20+knots, and instead headed early to Mackay on Thursday. We are at the marina until the middle of next week. It will be an opportunity to catch up with friends. We will also line up a few things at The Boat Works which will give us a timeline to get back to SE Queensland.
Stay tuned for our next post on our intended itinerary back south.