Monday 19th May
Well we finally made it to the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands & are really loving relaxing on the pure white sandy shores of Whitehaven Beach and snorkelling in the clear waters of Butterfly bay. With names like Daydream island how can we go wrong? The whitsundays are perfect for moving anchorage everyday and just taking it easy for a while. I've been showing Jimmy around as it was here almost seven years ago that I first discovered sailing while working on a charter boat trying to make cash to keep on backpacking! Nothing has changed and we've found ourselves anchored next to my old rivals & making fun of all the tourists in their very unattractive sting suits (they have to wear them because of the jelly fish).....Ingvil pointed out that they look a lot like Tele Tubbies going for a swim.
We celebrated Norwegian Independence day, 17th May, with a trip to Airlie Beach on the main land and Back packer central. The bars were packed and we partied the night away with hundreds of happy drunken people, the down side is that we're still trying to recover. It was this day last year that we arrived in the Marquesas after 25 days at sea, I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by. The plan now is to finish up some work on the boat as we have to stitch sails, brew some more beer and top up on fuel and water. We've had beautiful hot sunny days for over a month now so fingers crossed it keeps up and we can make a jump up to Magnetic island in the next couple of days. From there we'll move on up to Hitchinbrook and island hop up the coast to cape york, hopefully stopping along the way to get in some dives on the Barrier reef.
With over 140 boats now signed up for the Indonesian rally everyone we meet seems to be on the same schedule as us and from what we can tell there's going to be a lot of socializing and a lot of fun to come!! Check out the rally web site on the links up above.
Saturday 10th May
The past three weeks have been hectic, we’ve sailed over 300 Nautical Miles spending no more than two nights in any one place until reaching the Keppel Islands and all with Jimmy’s mum on board! Pat flew into Brisbane on the 21st March with over 150lb of spare parts, new clothes, bottles of rum, DVD’s and player, Girl scout cookies (delicious biscuits sold in the states by the Girl Guides- for those non Americans), New shoes, hundreds of zip lock bags (very important on a boat) and much, much more. After all that what space was left she managed to squeeze in a few clothes for herself!
We didn’t give her much of a chance to settle in before heading out of Brisbane to more exotic anchorages. However things didn’t go so smoothly as we’d expected….it started with us wrapping the second anchor line around the propeller and having to get a local guy to dive into the murky, bull shark infested water (Jimmy wisely decided not to do it himself) to cut and pull it free. All went well but it put us a couple of hours behind schedule and so we pushed to get to our first anchorage before it was too dark. No problem except we were anchoring between a row of sunken ship wrecks and the beach with not a lot of space for mistakes, we put on brave faces and maneuvered in. All went very smoothly until Jimmy went down below to switch on a light and found himself standing in water! Someone (we’re still not sure who) left the salt water pump in the bathroom switched on and so water was pouring into the boat. He swiftly found the problem and got it under control long enough to get the anchor down and review the damage.
The next two hours were spent getting the water to drain out into the bilges and washing the carpet out on deck with precious fresh water. When at last it was finished and we were getting ready to prepare dinner the wind and swell in the anchorage picked up and we began to roll back and forth as if we were in a rough passage. The rest of the night was spent trying to hold ourselves in our bunks and Jimmy decided the only way to stop Pat falling out of bed while asleep would have been to Velcro her in!
We survived the night and we’re all happy to get away out to sea the next morning even though it was an overnight passage to Fraser Island and the following day we had to cross the Wide Bay Bar. I think at this point Pat was starting to think twice about her choice of a ‘relaxing vacation’. The Wide Bay bar turned out to be very interesting as we watched boats ahead of us disappear through a line of breaking waves, knowing we had to go next. We got lucky and our timing was perfect, the breakers were all around us but we passed through safely (we later found out a 40ft Catamaran had been flipped over here a week before). To celebrate Pat decided that we should treat ourselves to a calm night and hot showers and so we happily pulled into the marina in Tin Can Bay.
The next week we spent day sailing the coast and exploring Fraser island, the largest sand island in Australia, hunting for our first sight of a wild Dingo’s and relaxing by the pool at the beautiful ‘King Fisher Resort’. With only one sleepless night caused by giant fruit bats fighting for a place to sleep in our rigging! Before long we were underway again and after another couple of day sails and one overnight we made it safe and sound to The Keppel islands. This was the end of the trip for Pat so we decided to spend a few days taking it easy before heading to the main land for her flight home. We hired a car in the town of Yeppoon giving us a day to do some sightseeing and visiting a zoo so at least pat could go home having seen a glimpse of the Koalas, Kangaroos, Dingo’s and Cassowary birds!
Pat flew out at six thirty in the morning so it was an early trip to the airport and a very sad farewell. The time always seems to fly by when anyone comes to visit and it’s never long enough. We really enjoyed having her with us and hope we didn’t make her suffer with too many rolly days at sea. We spent the rest of the day making the most of the rental car and shopped till we dropped stocking up for our trip around the top end of Australia and Indonesia. We haven’t brought this much food since we left Panama and there was no room left in the car once we’d finished!!
So now you find us sitting in another rolly anchorage on the Keppel’s trying to figure out where we can possibly store everything over a much needed rum and coke. I have to admit we are pretty exhausted but with the Whitsunday’s only two days sail away there’s no rest for the wicked and so much more to see!!!