Thursday, 11 December 2008

Whitsundays Holiday - Part 5

Final post about the holiday - continued from here.

Day 6 – Friday 17th October

We’d been hearing weather reports forecasting very strong winds arriving on Friday, and as the route we needed to follow would be taking us into the teeth of it we decided to get going extra early in case we had to motor the whole way. We skipped breakfast and raised anchor at 8am (which is the earliest you’re allowed to move in a chartered boat). We were due into harbour at 10am.

Shortly after leaving our anchorage at Chalkies Beach (10) we sailed through the Solway Passage (11) between Haslewood and Whitsunday Islands. While doing so we noticed the water acting bizarrely: the tide being squeezed there created awesome whirlpools and standing waves! It was a bit freaky but the boat glided through just fine.

You can sort of see the water acting wierd here...

The wind was picking up a bit, but it wasn’t quite on our bow and we were able to catch enough to sail along without needing the motor. We emptied our toilet tanks well offshore (gross, but you have to) and tacked back and forth a couple of times to clean the side of the boat… the smell is unbelievable until it’s all gone! We followed the southern coast of Whitsunday Island until we reached Hamilton Island, and sailed widdershins (I’m guessing that’s not the right mariner’s term) around it to reach the harbour (1). It was 9am – we’d made excellent time!

We radioed the marina and they told us to go away until 10 as our berth wasn’t ready. Go away? Go where? It was windy and choppy out in the bay so we headed for the lee of the nearest little island, dropped anchor and cooked our last breakfast aboard. Then at 10 we went back to the marina, found our berth and tied up. The rep from the boat company was there and he debriefed us and made sure we hadn’t lost anything while I scurried around cleaning and packing and trying to figure out what to do with all the food we had left!

Finally we ended up ashore on Hamilton Island with a pile of bags and food, and called for the courtesy shuttle to take us to our accommodation for the next two nights.

Our apartment - very nice!

Day 7 and 8 – Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th October

Hamilton Island is a popular holiday resort. It has a special place in my heart because back in 2005 when I flew to Australia to meet Milord after 6 months of an online relationship he took me there for a few days. That was in late winter (although it’s the tropics so not exactly cold) and we stayed in an exclusive child-free hotel with private pool and restaurant. I was thoroughly blown away and couldn’t wait to go back!

This time we were there in summer during a school holiday and we were staying in a serviced apartment block with awesome views across the sea. Oh, the humanity! Families and kids and screaming babies and teenagers having loud parties (don’t hate me – I’m just not used to it). The experience has put me off resort holidays for the rest of my life (or until we have little kids anyway).

We were utterly exhausted after our trip and all we wanted to do was loll around in a non-rocking environment recharging – which was lucky really because the weather was awful! The high winds arrived bearing rain, but our balcony was in the lee of the building so we could have the sliding doors wide open to the warm wet air and watch the rain pounding down on the soggy families below. We stocked up on beer and wine and read books or snoozed as the mood took us.

The view when the sun comes out.

We generally cooked in the apartment, but for our last night on the island we had a couple of drinks in a pub overlooking the marina and dinner in a very nice restaurant nearby. For our last day the sun came a few times and I attempted to even out my sailing tan, and then Milord and I made our way to the airport and flew back to a beautiful scorching hot Sydney Sunday evening, trying to get our heads around having to go back to the work the next day.

It was an amazing holiday. I felt like we’d been away for a month rather than a week! Expensive and exhausting, but a real change of pace and scene. I look forward to doing it again in a couple of years (unless we have kids of course – I can’t imagine having a baby or toddler on a boat).


Suzanne said...

Thanks for sharing the details and especially the pictures. That apartment's view would make me want to barricade myself and never leave!

waterbob said...

Hi Chick
'widdershins' - counterclockwise, anticlockwise, or reversing course all work for this old sailor.