WED. 11 OCTOBER 2012
Rear admiral Julie was first up at 6.15 am and Capt Barry surfaced at 7.00am and Graeme shortly thereafter. It promised to be another sunny day.
We started the day with the genset on for an hour or so to process a load of washing and drying, and then Capt Barry visited SILVER MINX to discuss plans for the day.
|OUR ANCHORAGE AT MACKEREL BAY, IN 22 M OF WATER|
The plan was to up-anchor and make our way to Whitehaven Beach ( as Graeme had not been there) , and when the tied came up, Capt Barry was to launch the large tender so we could all venture up Hill Inlet and sink the crab pots.
The passage to Whitehaven was lovely. The seas were calm , the sun was out , and the wind was about 10 kts.
|GRAEME GETTING A TAN AND SOAKING IN THE SCENERY|
|Capt Barry and Graeme in relaxed mode.|
|a plug in the top of Whitsunday Island|
LAST WORD arrived first and selected a anchor point about 400 m off shore , in about 5 m of water , about half way down Whitehaven Beach, just as the wind kicked up to about 18 to 20 kts from the NE.
As LAST WORD was rolling about a fair bit, Capt Barry decided not to launch the large tender. So we tossed over the small tender and added the 3 hp motor. Graeme insisted we fill the integral fuel tank, as he did not want to run out of fuel and have to row back in the strong wind.
Rear admiral Julie , Graeme and Capt Barry piled aboard the small tender , and we made it ashore without getting too wet.
Graeme and Capt Barry lifted the tender well up the beach and employed the cork screw anchor ( as the tide was on the rise ( about 3 m ) , and we intended to be ashore for some time as we planned a long walk to the northern end of the beach .
|Capt Barry getting the cork screw anchor ready to bury|
|Julie collecting shells|
|PERFECT - GRAEME AND CAPT BARRY IMITATING LIVE STARFISH|
We went right up the beach to Hill Inlet ( which at low tide is only accessible to small craft ) and took pics of the sand and creatures at work on the beach.
We waded out into the water ( which at high tide would be up to 4 m under water, and at one point , Capt Barry expressed the idea that wading through the shallows was not a bright idea, as we may step on a stingray. At that point we all stopped, and Capt Barry pointed out a strange formation in the sand about 2 feet in front of Graeme. While we were all standing still examining what it might be, it suddenly revealed itself as a medium size stingray and scooted away from us.
Capt Barry's comment must have been some sort of divine intervention , as one more step and Graeme would have had a very sore foot. A stingray barb inflicts a very painful injury.
|THUMBING A RIDE AS SILVER MINX WENT BY|
|save me from the BIG BAD ray , my HANDSOME CAPYTAN|
After that close encounter we took a closely examined shortcut out of the shallows and onto dry land.
By the time we arrived back at the tender SILVER MINX had anchored next to LAST WORD and the wind was blowing 20+ kts.
|LAST WORD and SILVER MINX rolling at anchor off Whitehaven Beach|
We telephoned Geoff and Vicki ( on SILVER MINX ) and decided to up anchor and proceed through Solway Passage to the southern side of Whitsunday Island in search of a more protected anchorage at either Chance Bay , Crayfish Bay or Turtle Bay.
Just before up anchoring, Capt Barry dived over the back of the boat to check out the blue underwater lights, and clean the middle one which had a slight clear crusty growth over it.
After Capt Barry's quick swim, we managed to retrieve our anchor , which took a bit of manoeuvring due to the strong wind, and get under way.
|leaving Whitehaven and the turbulence behind|
For those not familiar with Solway Passage , it is very turbulent patch water, due to the sudden changes in depth.
One minute you are in 60 m then 6 m then 129 m then back to 15 m, and on top of that the passage between Whitsunday Island and Hasle Wood Island is very narrow , and funnels the water into a narrow passage ( for a potentially huge , ie 4 m , tide variation to pass through ) and immediately to the south end of the passage lies Teague Island and Frith Rock.
As LAST WORD negotiated the passage and surrounding waters our speed went from 8 kts to 12.5 knots to 10 knots , without any change in engine revs, and one could feel the boat being pulled sideways at various points , in the turbulent waters.
|the bottom is all over the place and rises and drops sharly|
After negotiating the passage LAST WORD anchored in Crayfish Bay, and Capt Barry whipped out a rod and caught a grassy emperor, whilst waiting for SILVER MINX.
We were invited on board SILVER MINX for a twilight sail and troll , a not to be missed experience, and so we once again launched the small tender with 3 hp motor (which travels up on the boarding platform when making small passages), and headed over to SILVER MINX.
|How LAST WORD carries the small tender for short trips. Easy to launch and retrieve , and the soft bottom is not likely to get punctured being dragged behind|
|leaving LAST WORD on anchor at Crayfish Bay as we set off for a twilight sail and troll on board SILVER MINX|
|Capts Barry and Geoff on SILVER MINX . A drink is essential in the warmer climate|
The twilight sails are very relaxing .
|round we go and .......|
|watch the rocks change colour in the setting sun|
|Pentecost Island to the right of centre|
After returning to Crayfish Bay , Capt Geoff ( aka NEP ) anchored close to LAST WORD , and we settled into a fab meal of calamari, red emperor and salad .... with more fine wine ....of course. The fish were all caught by NEP , prepared and cooked by NEP , and of course, sensational.
TRIPS : TOTAL OF PASSAGES, 22.2 NM, 2.75 HRS, 88 L TOTAL, AV 8+ KTS AND AV 32 L/HR TOTAL.