Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Whitsundays Holiday - Part 2

Day 2 – Monday 13th October
Continued from here:

The sun finally rose after an interminable night in Cid Harbour (2). It had been a very hot night, but because it kept raining we were unable to have our hatches open so it was rather stuffy in the cabin. Milord snored and twitched until I was ready to kill him and I had managed to get sunburnt the day before which didn’t help, as every time I moved in my sleep that woke me up too!

(How silly is that? Lily-white after a Sydney winter we walk into the tropical sun without any sunscreen or even a hat. Born in Africa, living in Australia – I have no excuse! Milord also has no excuse, and his burnt baldness was bright red for days until it started to peel. Nice.)

Milord volunteered to move into another cabin for the rest of the trip, which made a great improvement and will go on the to-do list for next time! The beds on a boat are just too small to share with a large man.

Apart from that our anchorage had been perfect – out of the wind and practically no rolling.

I made coffee and orange juice and unearthed provisions from the bottom of the chest fridge, and Milord cooked us bacon and egg sandwiches on the deck barbeque. Although we had the occasional rain shower it was pleasantly warm and we were sheltered by our awning. We tidied up, consulted the charts, packed away the awning, raised the anchor and headed north again.

We were headed to Butterfly Bay on Hook Island for a spot of snorkelling, which involved us sailing past our proposed night anchorage in Stonehaven (3) on the way. We got to Butterfly Bay (4) a couple of hours later, took the dinghy to the reef and dropped its little anchor on a patch of sand, and slipped into the sea.

Diving in the Whitsundays is horrible. The islands are close to the mainland so there is plenty of runoff carrying silt, plus the tides get compressed and churn up a lot of muck too. The visibility is not great – probably about 5m (15ft), so once you get to 5m it’s pretty murky down there! We dived on our last trip and didn’t enjoy it, so this time we had decided just to snorkel.

The reef and fish are superb, although the visibility isn’t very good. The water was 26C which is a little chilly – we didn’t wear wetsuits but a shortie wetsuit would have been nice - I might have to buy one! I did wear a “stinger suit” which is a full-body swimsuit that protects you from sunburn and coral. I’m glad I had that, because whenever I went swimming without it I came up in little incredibly itchy welts on my body that lasted a week, possibly caused by bits of jellyfish or nymph anemones. Luckily I’d thought to pack antihistamine ointment and pills.

We snorkelled for about an hour and we saw huge napoleon wrasse and a school of baby barracuda in addition to the normal oodles of fish among the coral. It was pretty good.

Then back on board for a shower, and we headed back to Stonehaven with a ham and cheese roll and a beer in hand.

Dinner was barramundi (fish) on the barbeque with salad and white wine, watching a spectacular sunset. Our anchorage was a bit rolly and gusty, but we hoped things would settle down in the night.

...continued here.

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