How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Another Wonderful Whitsunday Week

Sunday 29th July 2012
Another Wonderful Whitsunday Week
Warm days, cold nights
My photo that made #1 on Flickr Explore on 26th July 2012, taken in the marina
Alana Rose is now anchored back in Mays Bay after a fun filled week since my last posting.
Mays Bay - Sunday 21st - Monday 22nd
Sunday Sunset - Mays Bay
Received a special message that one of my photos had been picked for ABC News24 weather show slide-show: We really loved this image and are happy to let you know that it's been chosen to feature in a slideshow as part of the TV show 'The Weather Quarter' with Jenny Woodward. ABC News 24 - The Weather Quarter
To see your work just tune into ABC News 24: THURSDAY JULY 26 @ 18.45 & 22:45 - SATURDAY JULY 28 @ 23:45 - WEDNESDAY AUGUST 1 @ 17:45 So over the moon about this one!

Able Point Marina - Tuesday 24th
Meeting Reece at Sorrento's
MrJ and I sailed across the Whitsunday passage to go into the Able Point Marina. This is where we were to first meet up with Reece Birch, our FB friend from Perth. Reece and his wife Shirl had come all the way over from Perth for a holiday at Airlie Beach and a chance to get out to the islands. What else could we do but offer a free ride!

Sailing with Reece and Shirl - Wednesday 25th
Reece and Shirl onboard AR for the first day of their sail around the islands:
A quick look at the charts
Shirl enjoying the ride
Reece, Shirl & Nancy at Hill Inlet
We sailed across the Whitsunday Passage, through Hook Passage and into Tongue Bay where we  walked up to the Hill Inlet lookout before having lunch on board. After luch we sailed back through the Hook Passage and into Macona Inlet for the night.

Reece and Shirl - Thursday 26th
Day two – We wake up in peaceful Macona Inlet to a visit from a group of dolphins, not that you can see them very well in my picture.
Dolphins in Macona Inlet
Sawmill Beach
After a cooked breakfast we head over to Sawmill Beach in Cid harbour where the boys go for a hike over to Dugong Beachwhile we girls play around on the coarse sand beach picking up shells. After a late lunch on board we then sail back across the Whitsunday Passage and back to the marina boat harbour at Able Point where MrJ and I say farewell to Reece and Shirl.

Friday 27th finds us anchored off Able Point once more; this time to go to the shop, get some more fuel in the Jerries and have a Sundowners pizza meal at Sorrento’s with Reece and Shirl before they leave Airlie Beach.

MrJ and I decided to make a Night Run for Cid Harbour as the weather had changed; there was an uncomfortable wind, swell and wind waves coming in from the North.
Sunrise in Cid Harbour
Saturday 28th - We wake up in Cid Harbour off sawmill Beach and after breakfast we move over to the calm anchorage of Mays Bay where we are alone in the wilderness once again.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Mays Bay Whitsunday Island

Saturday 21th July 2012
Mays Bay Whitsunday Island
Warm sunshine but cold strong SE winds
Tropical sunset
The morning’s task was to get the new computer up and running but I’m afraid that it took nearly all day between cooking and moving AR again. I had forgotten how time consuming some of this stuff is to upload when you are required to restart your computer between each installation. 1600h, all done and now we are ready for another glorious sunset over a tropical sky.
Mays Bay Anchorage: 20’13.468S – 148’56.579E or more to the west end, if you can get in there.
May's Bay offers quite good shelter from South - South Easterly winds. It is just north of Cid Harbour, a nice spot to get away from the usual crowds of charter boats at Cid Harbour has a lovely sandy beach called Bernie’s Beach after Bernie Katchor, with whom it was a favourite spot when he started operations in the early ‘70s with the first crewed charter boat in the area, Nari. May was the wife of Lindsay Heiser; she and her husband were early partners in the Hook underwater observatory, which is now closed, and before their accommodation was finished at the observatory site, they stayed onboard their boat. When the weather blew too strongly from the SE they used to move over and stay in this lovely sheltered anchorage.
MrJ takes his pics to be stitched
Some history I found:
Heiser sold out his law partnership in Brisbane in 1968 and in his 13.6 metre motor launch Lewana took up residence on a mooring at the observatory, later to be joined by his wife May. In rough weather they would move to the small bay just to the east of Lion Point on Whitsunday Island, this to become known locally as May's Bay. By 1970 the Heisers had erected a mobile home unit behind the beach where the resort now stands and moved there from the Lewana. In 1971 a second unit was added adjoining the first and Heiser's son, Alan, and his wife Yumiko moved in to assist in running the venture. The lease to the resort area at that time prohibited the provision of overnight accommodation for tourists but improvements were added by way of a bar and kiosk, a barbecue area, toilets and so on to provide for the day-trippers brought to the observatory by Aircloud. The observatory and associated facilities continued under Heiser's direct control and when in 1975 Alan and his wife returned to Brisbane their place was taken by Lindsay's oldest son, Iain, and his wife Chris and the family remained there until in 1980 the venture was bought by Mackay businessman and hotelier, John Hannay. Lindsay and May returned to live in Brisbane while Iain and Chris took up residence in Cannon Valley where they still reside in 1996. Lindsay died in July 1992
View of AR anchored in Mays Bay from Bearnie's Beach

There's not much snorkelling here to speak of, but if you're desperate, in can be interesting. Don't expect good visibility though. Mays Bay is great area to do some kayaking in or some fishing off the point. I spotted two Sea Eagles round the point and a Masked Booby flying off then beach and there are several Pied Oyster Catchers on the shore.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Computer Rescue to Airlie

Friday 20th July 2012
Computer Rescue to Airlie
A peaceful morning in a calm anchorage
The past couple of days has been like being to hell and back only the adventures, outcome and ending is a hell of a lot better. Late Thursday MrJ spilt my drink over my computer keyboard; for a spit second the world stood still and then there was organised chaos. I was quite surprised how calm we both were, especially me. Maybe I was in shock?  We did the turn the keyboard over draining any excess liquid off and using the blower, hoping that everything would be ok. Well it wasn’t! The next morning when I tried typing my password in half the key were not working. :o( Try as we may MrJ and I could not access my computer; oh, it seemed to be working ok, just no way to get in there. Now was the time for the silent tears!
Crossing Whitsunday Passage
Making the best of a bad situation MrJ decided it was time for action, time to give up our comfortable anchorage to make a mad dash across the Whitsunday Passage and into Airlie to make things right. By the magic of a phone call, he had found a new HP computer on special at Hardly Normal’s and a guy that could take a look at my old computer and so we were underway traversing the passage with wind against tide, a good see running and strong winds.

It was one of those special rides, the ones that you do not stay inside, below for very long; you choose to stay up top on deck for fear of becoming queasy. It was a good sail!
Young Endervour sails past Pioneer Rock as we sail back out
MrJ and I anchored off the marina wall, dropped the dinghy, went into the marina dinghy dock and walked up town to catch the bus out to the Centro Shopping Centre. We did our business at Hardly Normal which included a new computer for me, a new USB plug-in keyboard for the old computer and a free service look at the old computer where the feller disabled the password login and we were in business again. Before jumping back on the bus I grabbed a couple of things at Woolies then MrJ bought us a couple of sandwiches and drink to share on the bus seat while waiting. Back at the marina we were into the dinghy and quickly back on AR and underway again. Underway and making our way back across the Whitsunday Passage to out quiet little anchorage in Mays Bay that we found upon arrival had been taken over by other boats and “our spot” was gone. Buggar!
See all the stuff that is stashed (stowed) for the rough ride across the
Whitsunday Passage; plants and the generator under the table, indoor plants and
anything that moves in the sink and pillows places to prevent things from jumping.
MrJ and I dropped the anchor anyway behind the “spot takers” in deeper water and settled down for the evening. As I went below to have a wonderful hot shower, thanks to the engines today, before attacking the old computer, I could hear MrJ let out a heavy sigh of relief knowing that it was better to do the mad dash than to die with the agony that would have been his world all weekend if we had have stayed in “our comfy spot”. Mission accomplished!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Left Airlie to Sail Over to Mays Bay

Thursday 19th July 2012
Morning Drizzly Rain
20’13.468S – 148’56.579E
Left Airlie to Sail Over to Mays Bay
Deserted Airlie Beach
MrJ and I spend the past three days anchored off Able Point once again. The weather had stayed fairly reasonable making it possible to get ashore a few times.
Shagger's banner out front of Quadrant Marine with Manger Colin and us

Tuesday MrJ and I walked into Airlie Beach but before we could even get a few feet away from the public dock who should we run into careening down the street on their hired motor scooters, Ken and Rhonda the masterminds for the Shaggers SICYC. Of course the only thing to do was to go and have a coffee at the marina cafe and catch up on all the gossip from around the traps.

The Whitsunday Sailing Club is offering SICYC members free club membership for the month of August and is eager to have any Shagger and their boat to become involved with the annual Airlie Beach Race/Day which is being held in Airlie on Sunday 18/07/12 and coincides with the Whitsundays Race Week and the Hamilton Island Race Days.
View from the Whitsunday Sailing Club - I can see Virginia's boat out there.
Backpackers play Boules to while away
the winter afternoons

MrJ and I did get our walk into town and hard a rather yummy Pot Pie for lunch at the Whitsunday Sailing Club. I though downtown Airlie was empty of people a few weeks ago; not as quiet and barren of people as this day with hardly a soul to be seen. Must have something to do with the winter weather and that the school holidays are over. The weather held off long enough for MrJ and I to get nearly all the way back to the dinghy before a light drizzle of rain began making us wet before we could get back to AR. There was no time for a hot shower as we were due over at a new friend’s boat in half an hour.

The new friends that MrJ and I went over to visit were Ken and Millie Castle off a Leopard46, Rhiannon – a beautiful big catamaran. Ken and Millie (and dog Mouse who is deaf and blind) have been friends with Ric and Shel off Neriki since last cruising season. Ken and Millie once owned and worked a Winery and vineyard in the Hunter Region before they took off on their boat some five years ago. Lovely people; it was such a pleasure spending a sundowners in their company idling the hours away with interesting chit chat.
Looking back towards the Able Point anchorage
Wednesday morning MrJ and I sailed across the Whitsunday Passage to Mays Bay on the western side of Whitsunday Island. We left the protection of Able Point with its cloud covered hill tops behind for the gusty wind swept waters of the Molle Channel and Whitsunday Passage. AR was hiking along between 7 – 9knts with a fresh breeze and apparent winds of 21-28knts; on a very close reach we were doing very well with sea spray coming over the bow.
Sea spray over the bows

MrJ and I have not anchored in Mays Bay before; we have been past many times and seen other yachts/boat at anchor and the cruising guide books all say that Mays Bay is a good anchorage with good holding in S-SE winds up to 25knts. Now we have the chance to see for ourselves.

Whitsunday Passage

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Fogged In at Hamilton Island

Sunday 15th July2012
Fogged In at Hamilton Island
The entrance to Hamilton Marina
Well here we are, MrJ and me still sitting in the marina on Hamilton Island. At least the rain has stopped and the sun has been trying to shine. Every morning we have been fogged in, Saturday morning being the worst, bringing down a pea-souper fog till late morning with drizzly rain in the early morning. When the fog began to lift letting small amounts of sunshine MrJ and I went for a walk. The cloud cover over the islands was still fairly low, low enough to be just touching the top of the highest hills with a blanket of mist in and around some of the waterways between the islands. Friday it rained all day making everything wet, wet, wet and miserable.
MrJ scrubbing the shade clothe
MrJ and I didn’t have time to be grumbling about the weather; no time to be sitting the rain out by hiding inside the boat either. We only came into the marina to get some chores done and fill up with water, so we had to get on with it. MrJ took the washing up to the laundry, washed down the back deck and scrubbed the back shade clothe while I tried to wipe dry and de-mould inside of AR. These tasks began on Friday with the washing and drying continuing on through Saturday. Nothing on board will dry and I am over forever having that wet feet feeling. :o{}
Fogged In
On the brighter side of life we have met some really wonderful people in the marina. The family, two doctors and their teenage daughters, on a boat in the next berth are extremely friendly and generous people; today they catch a flight out to go back to work. The berth behind us has hard a run of charter boats coming in for one night’s stay then leaving the next morning.

Carting the washing

Thursday night there was a group of young males, all mates from years ago at Uni, who meet up once every year in a different location on a Lagoon40 catamaran. This year they chose the Whitsundays, next year it could be Moscow as one of the lads had suggested after a few too many rums. Hahaha!

Friday night we had another family group with teenage kids on a Seawind1000 catamaran. Two of the boys slept in the saloon leaving the plastic curtain open. I wondered if the wet foggy air got to them like it had come into our covered cockpit saturating everything again. So far today that berth is empty but the day is not over and we may well get another boat by late this afternoon.

Another person we ran into was Daniel who used to work at the MBTBC Marina in Manly QLD where we base ourselves for our medical checkups in the between seasons. Daniel now works for the Hamilton Island Marina assisting the coming and going of boats. There have been a few other people that have stopped for a chit chat on their walk down the marina finger. Sometimes it is AR that catches their eye, sometimes it is my herb garden on the back step that draws their attention or sometime it is just because we are there on deck or in the cockpit and make time to say G’day.
Marina Village
With all our washing finished and a bit of sun shining through the clouds, MrJ and I went for a walk to the other side of the marina/waterfront complex. Like we really need to be doing more walking after how many trips to the laundry and office to get money changed for the machines over these past two days. This time the walking was for enjoyment not for working, there’s the difference.
I just love how the main mode of transport on Hamo Island is by golf buggy; hundreds of them and such a great idea for everyone to be able to get around, for a price of course. Another way to get around the island is by the free bus service which does a complete loop of the whole island and runs continually all day enabling anyone to hop on and off when and where they like.

The esplanade along the marina waterfront is known as the Marina Village and it is where the shops are located. There is a general store/newsagents, a supermarket, a Post Office, boutiques, a Dive Shop, a Real Estate, a bakery, a fish shop, gift shops, a Ice-creamery, restaurants, a pub, art galleries, cafes, boat hire. At one end of the long road is the marina office and work yards, at the other end sitting out over the water is the famous Hamilton Island Yacht Club with its unique marine architectural design.
The Hamilton Island Yacht Club
The Hamilton Island Yacht Club was designed by Australian architect Walter Barda, a distinctive and authentic Australian style.  The design features a tarnished copper roof of aquamarine leaves encasing three levels of vast facilities; the shape of the roof is inspired by soaring silhouettes of full sails. The decks are expansive cantilevered terraces that stretch over the waters of the Marina and Dent Passage. The main deck is called the Bommie Deck which does have the look/feel of a rock bommie sitting out away from the main structure but joined by the deck and there is the Mast Head Deck which has a tall mast and rigging as its centre feature and a “to die for” sunset view out over the Dent Passage. A true celebration of marine lifestyle!
The sunset view over Dent Passage
Saturday evening, last night in, MrJ and I do sundowners on the deck of the Yacht Club (absolutely gorgeous) before dinning at Manta Ray Cafe for one of their gourmet pizzas in a totally laid-back atmosphere.  The cafe’s outside deck overlooks the marina with its display of numerous boats and in the evenings the colourful night lights of the Marina Village reflect across the water. The Manta Ray Cafe also served local seafood, meaty mains and Italian pasta dishes and drinks are served in the sociable bar.

This morning, Sunday morning has brought in a little fog which lifted as the strong winds bullet around the hill. Now it is time for us to leave and find new anchorages out there in the islands amongst the grey mist and rain.

I will post some more pictures when we are safely anchored somewhere, sometime later today.
Cheers for now.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sitting on the boat in Hamilton Marina - Wet, Wet, Wet...............!!!

Thursday 12 July 2012
Wet, Wet, Wet...............!!!
20’20.816 S – 148’56.972 E
Nearly a complete white-out as we approach the marina entrance.
Needed nav and steaming lights at 1100hr.
Sitting on the boat in Hamilton Marina but have not been ashore yet. Too bloody wet...!!!
Full foul weather gear for this trip

According to an article on the ABC Roger Stone, Professor in climatology has been quoted in saying:
“This is the last fling of a particular weather event. The rain pattern being experienced in the state's northern sugar regions is something that we have not seen in a hundred years. This is off the scale in terms of rainfall for this particular time of the year and with this type of pattern...this is right up there with the extreme levels. It is probably not over yet before it clears up quite dramatically."
So far he is right about the rain; I just hope he is going to be right about the “clearing up” bit.

Raining in Hamo

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Memories of Other Days

Tuesday 10th July 2012
Rain, Rain Go Away, Come Again Another Day!
High winds and rain is all we have been having for the past few days and there is no sign of the rain letting up. Yuk! Means MrJ and I are stuck onboard inside the confines of the saloon finding things to do; trying to keep dry and warm. Playing on the computer is my main option or knitting, cooking and reading are other options or all the above in the one day can be the possibilities. Let’s have a look at what I have been up to on this day over the past six months.

Memories of Other Days - all pictures taken on the 10th day of each month:
January 10 - Evening, anchored in Frying Pan Bay Lake Macquarie NSW while visiting the HouseHouse over summer.

February 10 - Sunrise after an overnight passage from Coff's Harbour NSW to The Seaway Gold Coast QLD

March 10 - Marina time and early morning walks along the esplanade at Manly Boat Harbour Brisbane QLD
April 10 - I am spending my time in the MBTBC Marina by taking photos of just about everything.
May 10 - Keppel Bay Marina. Two weeks after leaving Brisbane the afternoon of ANZAC Day in April and have made it to Keppel Bay
June 10 - Evening anchored in the Newry Islands - one of my favourite places to visit
July 10 - Today, anchored off the Able Point marina Airlie beach QLD - rain, rain go away, come again another day

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Mundane Days - Airlie beach

Monday 2nd July 2012
Monday sunrise
In the morning MrJ and I went for a walk up to the Whitsunday Shopping Centre. The day temperatures are still warm enough to be in shorts and t-shirt to walk along the boardwalk to the shops where we picked up a few grocery items and then walked back to the dinghy and home.
The same local mono-hull boat that was alongside at the public dock was still sitting there. Originally their story was something about a broken anchor winch and not being able to anchor out. That’s fine but I do know that some of the other boaties were beginning to whinge about the mono’s continuing presence as this boat was taking up precious space and time on the only public dock in this area.
In the afternoon MrJ went over to Neriki to help Ric put his sail back up while I stayed home and did some cooking. I made a traditional Lasagne from scratch, for our dinner and it was so yummy that MrJ had seconds.
The anchorage
I rang Carla and her kids, Isabella, Olivia and Edward and Manda and her kids, Kai, Bridie and Piper. It was so good to hear their voices again, to hear of all their adventures whether at play or at school and to know that they are all safe and warn in their own little place.

Tuesday 3rd July 2012
Feeding our faces
In the morning MrJ and I caught the bus to the Centro Shopping Plaza in Cannonvale. MrJ bought some new undies in Best and Less but I had no luck getting the shorts that I wanted. I checked in Best and Less, Big W, Rockmans and Millers; the summer stock was finished and now the winter stock was out. We then had a look in Rivers where MrJ bought some new shirts and BCF where we bought some small butane bottles for our single portable burn which we can take ashore on the beaches to cook a BBQ, before catching the bus back as far as Home Hardware on the Shute Road where we bought some water hose. I had a quick look in the Vinnie’s shop nearby; it was packed and was interested to see how many young backpackers were in there buying up. This must save them heap not being able to carry too much on their backs and at the end of their trip any clothes that are still okay will get returned to a second hand shop somewhere before they leave the country.
From the Vinnie’s shop we walked up the road to the Whitsunday shops stopping at the computer shop on the way. The fellow in the computer shop gave me some good advice that was to buy another external hard drive to back up all my photography work.  At the Whitsunday shops MrJ and I went into a Dick Smiths shop and bought the just that hard drive for my computer.
Full moon over the marina
What a morning of shopping and walking! MrJ and I needed to replenish our energies by ordering a sandwich and coffee at Marino’s Cafe and sitting for a while.
The same mono-hull had been still attached to the public dock; now the story goes that they were also waiting on delivery of an outboard motor for their tender. On our return from the shop the boat had moved off leaving the public dock free once more.

Wednesday 4th July 2012
Empty streets
AR is still anchored off the western break wall in Pioneer Bay and will be for some time with high winds expected right through to next week. The days and nights are getting cooler, I had to wear a pair of jeans and a light jumper up town this morning but had the jumper peeled off by after lunch time and back on again round three thirty flourish.
I walked into the township of Airlie via the waterfront boardwalk and up the main street where there was not much happening for being the middle of school holidays. The most movement on the street was some road works happening which slowed the trickling traffic to a crawl. There were some tourist on the footpath and in the shops but still not as many as I had expected. Time are really tough in the tourist towns these days. After looking in a couple of shops and not getting anything I decided to catch the bus up to the Whitsunday Shopping Centre where MrJ and I went the other day and boght a toy dinosaur for one of my photographic challenges. ha, ha, ha!!!! Should have seen the looks I got on the way home, taking photos of my new toy sitting on the grass, in the park garden or on the rock pools. hahaha!!!!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Back in Airlie Beach

Sunday 1st July 2012

Back in Airlie Beach
Sunny and warm
20'15.893 - 148'42.429E
Smoke in the evening sky
Friday: MrJ and I had a good sail on Friday over from Cid Harbour to Able Point where we are at anchor. Unable to get alongside at the public dock to fill our tanks with water, we anchored out the back of the moored boats once more, not too far away from Neriki.
The walk into Airlie

Saturday: 0800h MrJ and I dinghied into the marina and walked into Airlie Beach to go to the market; buying some fresh vegetables and meat from the local produce stalls. MrJ got himself two more books to read.

Airlie Beach & markets
At the markets we ran into Shelly and Ric off Neriki and Sandy and Kelvin from Grotty Yachty and then it was off for an early lunch/morning tea was a homemade beef pie and an iced coffee.
Back on AR; MrJ went back in the dinghy with the water jerrys to fill and then we did some washing, washing the bedding and towels. MrJ does the washing onboard as he is the person strong enough to lift the water jerrys to fill our little wash machine. I usual hang the washing out on the lines that we have strung over the fore dace. While MrJ get the washing going I had already started with the cleanup inside.
There was even time for a short afternoon read/rest on the tramps before a quick shower before going over to Neriki for the evening.

Sunday: No rest for the wicked! Up and off early again, this time taking AR into the marina boat harbour to get her water tanks filled.
Alongside at the public dock
We motored inside of the protective break walls just after 0700h to find that there was another boat at the public dock. I called out to them to get the reply that their boat was broken down and that we could tie up alongside of them. Which we did and that is how we got our water; by stretching our water hose across the other boat’s deck to fill our tanks and jerry cans.

Just before we had finished one more boat came in; a larger catamaran than us, Penrod II, a big yellow cat owned by a friend Ken. No sooner had we moved off than he was coming alongside too. There was a lot of movement early in the boat harbour, tourist boats The Wave Breaker and Camira the large purple catamaran were on the move plus the interisland ferry Orca. MrJ put AR in line, in the middle of these other boat to leave the harbour to return to our old anchorage from last season beside the western break wall of the marina.
Another morning in another anchorage
Bacon and eggs for breakfast and listening to Macca, Australia All Over on a Sunday morning!