In the Whitsundays, Scawfell Island and Airlie Beach 03July2010


Ah yes, the Whitsundays at last and the mecca for cruising sailors on the Queensland coast.  We got to Scawfell Island at 0900 the morning after leaving GKI and 125 miles further on.  Scawfell was nice and completely free of all the development we have been seeing at most locations along the coast.  We shared the anchorage, ‘Refuge Bay’ with five other boats, had a walk on shore and Gini, Leif and the French connection went snorkeling so as to look at the coral.  Nice beach, rain forest type jungle and all good.  Next morning we were away for the 50 odd miles up to Lindeman Island and a first night in the Whitsundays, or rather the Cumberland group.  We had by this time got word from Caroline Packham from Melbourne that she was in fact arriving at Hamilton Island on the 29th and wanted to join us for a time but this left kind of tight timelines on the Tuesday to get her so while Caroline wined and dined herself on Hamilton Island we went to anchor in ‘Boat harbour’ on the NW corner of Lindeman Island.  Next morning we slipped the 10 miles around to Hamilton and had a look at how the rich and shameless go on holidays; apparently they have a love affair with electric golf buggies, one wonders what is wrong with their legs!  Caroline was waiting near the dock equipped with wine and we thought fish and chips were the go and a coke at $3.90 apiece; economy shopping here.

The next move was over to Airlie Beach and a night in the Abel Point Marina, reputedly the most expensive on the coast (definitely the shallowest) but close to the pubs and noise of Airlie Beach.  A night out here was the go and an opportunity to probably drink too much.  It seems Airlie Beach is the jumping off point for bucketloads of backpackers and punters wanting to sample the apparent magical qualities of the Whitsundays and the more distant Barrier Reef.  Tourism here is massive and the punters are herded like cattle, boat after boat after boat.  Then there are the bare boat charters, lots of people on U-drive type production boats with nautical skill and experience ranging from a lot to absolutely nothing. They don’t even have to have a boat driving license which probably explains the skippers anxiety over the fellow who seemed determined at all costs to have an intimate encounter with the Gadfly outside Airlie Beach.  Anyway the night out was a resounding success with far too much alcohol consumed and the boat acquiring 6 new glasses and a XXXX bar mat.  There was also the very cunning plan on how to release the fibreglass lion outside the entrance to the ‘Mama Africa’ nightclub, would have made a spectacular figurehead on the boat! Just as well we were too inebriated to put our very cunning plan into practice as we might have been ‘required’ to stay in Airlie beach a bit longer.  It was a good plan though but it’s not as if we were being subtle and the security wasn’t on to us.  Gini of course complained when we went home that she was negotiating a free helicopter ride with a birdie type fellow at the pub, it was rather difficult in her state of or rather lack of sobriety that nothing is free!!!!

Leaping out of bed the next morning we realised our nocturnal sojourn of that early morning had lost us some time for shopping requiring some fast talking with the marina people, apparently chocolate goes a long way.  So while Gini and Caroline went shopping with the very well considered list prepared by David, Leif went and got some fuel, the French connection wandered off to god knows where and David and the skipper did some surgery on a misbehaving windlass.  We dropped the lines at about 1230 and slipped around the corner to get some more fuel but not without some drama.  For the very first time the cable component of the chain-cable steering jumped off the pulleys below the helm requiring some fast engine manoeuvres and rapid deployment of the anchor, all in the middle of the marina.  After quick repairs and deliberation on how the problem arose (fuck knows which is a worry) it was fuel and outward bound for Cid Harbour on the western side of Whitsunday Island.  The weather gods had forecast a few days of stiff SE weather so with strong wind warnings out all the way up the coast we decided Cid Harbour and a few days relaxation would be a good thing.  So here we are sheltering under Mount Whitsunday with large numbers of other like minded souls chilling out, watching DVD’s, going ashore for walks in the National Park, taking photo’s of the turtles that love the bay here (as well as some Dugongs) and hoping that the bare-boat charter people are conversant with the concept of adequate ground tackle.  Great bay we are in, mangroves at each end, good holding off the beach here where we are at anchor, forest running all the way down to the water, plenty of shelter from the thirty knots or so of wind going mostly over our heads and the turtles are very cool. The only problem is that Telstra has let us down somewhat with the internet access which explains the apparent slackness in getting the last blog entry up in a timely manner.  It is however on the edge of service though, so the next very cunning plan is to take the computer ashore, walk up the hill and try to get the last two entries out.  Cheers and beers from the ‘Gadflys’, more as it happens.

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One Response to “In the Whitsundays, Scawfell Island and Airlie Beach 03July2010”

  1. Trish Godden Says:

    Oh the beautiful Whitsundays. I worked on Hamilton island during Uni holidays a million years ago. Does Airlie Beach Hotel still have the toad races? Are you visitng Whitehaven? I love hearing your tales and seeing the photos. I heard that there were a few colds on board, so the warm weather has come just in time. Besides a fantastic Community Cup last weekend and the usual local antics, you are only missing out on the very cold, winter weather here. Looking forward to your next update. Cheers, Trish.

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