Last days in the Whitsundays

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:

Turtle Bay looking south

The series of beaches in Turtle Bay

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.

All cleaned up!

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.

Waite Bay, looking south with Pentecost Island in the gap
Waite Bay looking north at low tide

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.

Keswick Island

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!

Keswick and St Bees Islands
SW side of Keswick (left) and St Bees (right)


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.

19 thoughts on “Last days in the Whitsundays

  1. Pretty idyllic looking anchorages ….. apart from those sharks in the shallows, it all looks so languid …

  2. Looks lovely at Keswick and St Beez Neez!!
    Just in Sydney awaiting our connection to Hamo and we get the vessel this arvo!!
    Excited !!!
    Talk soon.

      • No dramas Chris
        We know that you don’t want to hang out with us Charter Plebs

  3. Really looking forward to the great weather forecast and some wind to get the sails up
    And sundowners as well !!
    Talk soon

  4. Good to hear Bengie the cat is going well, and is making sure she has good stuff to eat 😉

    • Hi Murray, Bengie has become incredibly fussy. You give her the stuff she likes and she woofs it down, but if you try to sneak in some ‘diet’ food supposed to help her, she complains bitterly and does a piddle somewhere inappropriate. She is also a bit stiff and sore from arthritis so we have ended up getting a second litter box which we have put under the desk so she does not have to climb up and down the big steps. We’ll see how that helps the behavioural issues! Gotta love old age!

  5. I never fail to be amazed at the spectacular color of the waters–they are incredible when seen from up high or from a lower level (or even underwater). I sympathize with Bengie as she ages. She is a bit ahead of me in human years, but I can already start to feel a few extra aches and pains and perhaps I too am getting a little more fussier. I absolutely love your drone shots, Chris, and that last shot in the post is especially breathtaking. Wow!

    • Hello Mike! The colour of the water over a sandy sea floor and in the sun always seems nearly unreal… shades of aqua, teal, blue.
      I am continually working on the drone shots to refine how I get the right angles and perspective and so they don’t all look the same. Pleased you enjoy them.

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