Thursday, 27 September 2012

segment 22; Hamilton Island to Lindeman Island

segment 22 : Hamilton Island to Lindeman Island
23rd Sept. 2012 (Sunday )

After spending a day in Hamilton Island, grabbing a few provisions,  catching up on emails and paperwork and signing out of the Hamilton Island marina for two weeks,  we set off once again for an island hop.

The weather was continuing its fantastic run with 5 to 10 knot SE to NE breezes and relatively clear skies, and near flat seas

looking back at Hamilton Island, on another superb weather/flat seas day

LAST WORD explored along the south coast of Whitsunday Island where we happened upon SILVER MINX ( Geoff and Vicki Player and their guests, Chris and Cheryl Pardy ) who were just lifting  anchor and moving to Lindeman Island, and suggested we join them.


As we made our way to Lindeman Island the breeze stiffened to 15 to 20 kts from the NE with small whitecaps forming, but otherwise comfortable seas. Both LAST WORD and SILVER MINX trolled around Surprise Rock ( once for LAST WORD , but several times in the case of SILVER MINX ) .

As SILVER MINX  was circumnavigating Surprise Rock , a passing catamaran through out its lures  and  joined in , obviously thinking  the fishing must  be good. However, the silly fellow  went the wrong way around the rock  and had to give way to NEP who had the smell of Mackerel in his nostrils.

the Catamaran, on the right, joining in the troll around Surprise Rock, but the wrong way

We passed close to Pentecost Island

Pentecost Island
and then passed Little Lindeman Island, then  Capt Barry motored over to Neck Bay on the north western side of Shaw Island (immediately SE of Lindeman Island), but it was too swelly and the current was running at about 3 to 4 kts.

Capt Barry anchored about 30 m off shore, in Plantation Bay ( in the SE corner of Lindeman Island ), and threw out two lines and immediately caught two fish.The first was a grass sweetlip ( which he cleaned and kept for the rear admiral ) , and the second was a stripey and thrown back.

pan sized grass sweetlip for  rear admiral Julie

About 45 mins after LAST WORD  anchored SILVER MINX  sailed on by. Obviously NEP had spotted another rock to troll around before anchoring for the afternoon.

About 2.00pm Capt Barry received a phone call from Vicki Player on board SILVER MINX informing us that they had caught a mackerel , and  inviting  us to join SILVER MINX for a cocktail twilight sail and fish. Of course we readily accepted and brought the two bottle entrance donation  required.

Geoff (NEP ) Player served superb lychee martinis and caviar nibbles  and we enjoyed an hours very pleasant sailing and trolling ( but without a strike on the lures).

Some on board were beginning to doubt NEP's ability to catch fish so far south of Hamilton Island ( after all we were approx. 10 NM south of Hamo ) ,but not Capt Barry, who reminded those on board that we needed the correct bait, ie white wine ( in hand as it does make a difference ) , reggae  music and troll at  5.00pm. Vicki immediately changed the music selection, cleared up the cocktails and opened the white wine and all we had to do was wait till 5.00pm ( about 25 mins away ).

To fill in time Geoff put Julie on the wheel with instructions on the course to steer.

At precisely 4.59pm one of the rods went berko and NEP thought it was a good strike and possibly a juvenile Marlin, as the fish ran for cover ( and all but spooled the line ) and did a small tail dance in the distance (which Capt Barry missed).

HEY, that is not a marlin....and i want my lure back.

After about 20 mins NEP successfully brought the fish to the back of the boat , and we discovered we had a 4 to 5 foot bronze whaler shark. Capt Barry was given the job of gaffing the shark , so NEP could retrieve his lure. However, Capt Barry , being a sensitive new age lawyer with environmental specialty , could not gaff the shark successfully ( ie could not penetrate the tough shark skin   - despite several attempts, so he held the shark firm, with the gaff , against the stern of the boat, while NEP skillfully retrieved his lure, then ( without kissing the shark REX HUNT style ) let the shark go to eat another day.

After the excitement we sailed back to LAST WORD  , and SILVER MINX anchored close by, just as darkness fell..

Capt Barry and rear admiral Julie returned to LAST WORD  to turn on lights ,  for more wine and for the rear admiral to whip up a green salad and potatoe salad to contribute to dinner, and rejoined SILVER MINX  for another superb evening and dinner, only to discover that NEP had caught several more red emperors.

The wind had died completely , and the water was a glassout, However, there was more excitement  in store for us  just after dinner, when there was a large splash at the back of SILVER MINX  when another bronze whaler shark , this one about 5 feet, came in and took  80% of the Mackerel carcass Geoff had hung out  the back of the boat. Of course we all went to see what the commotion was , and watched the shark continue to circle, on the fringe of the underwater  blue light aura, at the back of the boat for the next 10 mins or so.

After several more bottles of wine with our candle lit dinner for 6  , coffee and dessert, Capt Barry and the rear admiral said their goodbyes and returned to LAST WORD ( arms and feet well inside the tender in case sharkey was still about ).

candle lit dinner for 6.....sorry about the picture quality, but you get the idea 

Hamilton Island to Turtle Bay and Chance Bay ( southern side of Whitsunday Island ) and then on to Plantation Bay , southern side of Lindeman Island : 20 NM , 2.7 hrs 78 L total.

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