Having fun at the SICYC (Shaggers) Rendezvous 2021

Tuesday afternoon (24 August) Steve and Jo (SV Tamanu) having recovered from their overnight passage to Cape Gloucester, came over for sundowners on Morphie. It was lovely to see them again, I think it was about four months ago since we met up with them.

Wednesday morning we had a lazy start. The anchorage at Cape Gloucester was starting to fill up and we wanted to get a bit more space away from the large trawler nearby, so we picked up and found a bit of extra swinging room, which we knew was going to be at a premium during the Shaggers Rendezvous weekend. Around lunchtime we headed ashore to the resort and bumped into Steve and Jo. We hadn’t arranged this but we ended up having an impromptu afternoon ashore which was fun. When we got back we enjoyed the sunset before having an early night.

Thursday morning was the SICYC (Shaggers) registration day for the weekend. So we went ashore around 10am for the ‘group meet and greet’ so had coffee ashore. Was a bit crowded on the beach with dinghy parking….

In the afternoon we headed over to have a cup of tea with Yvonne and Ed on SV SteeLee. Ed built this huge steel yacht himself from scratch. OMG what an amazing achievement – absolutely beautiful – and whereas I was loving the carpentry and wood finishes Richard loved the engine / tool / work room. Wow, has to be the party boat, the huge stern deck is definitely built for it!

Later on we headed over to Tamanu for Steve’s curry night – another recipe to try! We were joined by Mark and Marion on SV Zena who are friends with Steve and Jo, but we hadn’t met before. I made poppadums, raita and mixed coriander salad to take with me for the starters. Thankfully I didn’t need to break into my naan bread supply as they had loads LOL. Another social evening with great food.

Friday morning it was the official day for the Shag Islet prawn and champagne party between 10am-2pm. Everyone turned up in their dinghies to this little rocky islet and we set up camp on this glorious day and chatted to lots of new people. We enjoyed prawns and the champagne (donated by sponsors) and some other nibbles as we just sat around chatting and watching the kites being flown. My favourite was the pirate ship….. There was even a DJ, some dancing, some singing and a musical jam session to keep us entertained.

Sadly Jo was unable to join us as she had a job interview during the afternoon so we kept Steve out with us until she was clear of this commitment. Was a lot of fun and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for this outside event. We met lots of people and caught up with (another) Steve and Jo from SV Lightspeed who we had previously met at the Hog’s Breath cafe in Airlie at our first Shaggers get together. We then returned to Morphie for a clean up and a bit of a rest, before heading back to the resort for dinner with Yvonne, Ed, Steve, Jo, Mark and Marion. Sadly the food wasn’t really up to scratch but we had a nice evening anyway although a bit awkward at the end sitting around the fire pit when a rather inebriated woman refused to return to her boat and wanted to sleep on the beach. We offered her a lift but she wandered off and was found drinking with the staff so we walked away and left her to it…. Oh well…. Lovely moon to finish the night with too.

Saturday was a ‘free’ day in the calendar of events so we had a lazy day on board and did some boat jobs like making water before heading to the beach for sundowners with other Shaggers and returning to Morphie for dinner. There were lots of impromptu beach events going on around us, including an engagement party.

Sunday and this was the final event of the rendezvous weekend – a pirate party at the resort. Well, we didn’t make an effort and just wore our Shaggers shirts, but OMG the way people had prepared for this. Must be their annual event of the year to attend LOL. There were raffles, auctions, competitions and even a minute’s silence for those who were no longer with us.

During the afternoon Steve and Mark headed over to the prawn trawler (who anchors in the bay every day) who was selling direct to everyone that wanted to buy some. So we all got our orders in and they went to collect them in readiness for the following day. The whole Shaggers event donates money to prostrate cancer here in Australia so pretty impressive all round, especially with uncertainties over Covid restrictions / lockdowns etc. We had had a great time and were glad to have been part of it.

Monday morning and, as most of the Shaggers had left the anchorage, we moved to the other end of the bay and tucked in behind a hill as we were expecting rain and strong winds over the next few days. Around lunchtime Steve and Jo came by to deliver our prawns that they had kept overnight for us. Beautiful, just beautiful. So I made some sauce for everyone to share / buttered some bread / and cleaned and peeled them in readiness for the afternoon. We also put out another 10m of chain in preparation for the strong winds that are forecast….

At 2pm we headed over to SV SteeLee and we had a prawn afternoon on their stern deck with Yvonne, Ed, Steve, Jo, Mark, Marion, and another Steve and Jo. We had decided that we were going to abstain from alcohol because we really have got quite pickled over the last few days and I even turned down a glass of champagne whilst there! The wind, by this time, had started to pick up and the clouds were building into some interesting formations – Morphie was straining on her anchor and it was starting to get dark. We decided to leave before the weather deteriorated any more so headed back and, thankfully, we made it back on board just before the heavens opened.

Here’s SV SteeLee in the rain behind us….

During the afternoon and evening the wind was blowing with 30 knot gusts and it rained heavily. This continued throughout the night and, this morning, Tuesday we are running our engine right now to get hot water for showers later and are sitting out a gusty squall coming through. We are nodding a bit too but at least it is not rolling too badly. Think we’ll be staying on board all day today.

So we’ll sit out the bad weather here before continuing our trip north once it has passed. From this point people are heading off in different directions but we do hope to catch up with them along the way either on our trip north or on our return south when the season comes to a close. Covid news from Australia isn’t getting any better and a Pfizer-vaccine related death in New Zealand isn’t going to help the vaccination programme either with a Federal Government target of 80% needed to avoid future lockdowns – that could be a way into the future! We will just have to see what happens…..

Anyway, that’s it for now folks. And, to make you all smile, here are some Australian cuties, this time it’s dingo puppies. Sending lots of love and hugs to you all. Please stay safe and well.


Our time in Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach

Sunday afternoon (15 August) the weather cleared up a little bit so we decided to head out on the ‘blue’ bus route which does a circular trip around Hamilton island. On our way back the heavens opened again so we had a quiet night in.

Monday we had a leisurely start and headed to the pool for the day. We were entertained by the songster again so had a nice time and had some wild cockatoo feeding time with almonds (that Richard had somehow managed to pack into our pool bag LOL) with one even sitting on his knee whilst getting fed.

Returning by bus we picked up some supplies and headed to the Yacht Club for sundowners – the bar was closed – but we enjoyed watching the sun go down from the elevated position. Afterwards we had a couple more in the Tavern and then returned to Morphie for dinner.

Tuesday was another pool day and, hurrah, the sun actually came out so we had a relaxing day before heading back to Morphie for another quiet night in.

Wednesday we headed out pretty early and got the ‘green’ bus over to the resort centre where we picked up our electric golf buggy. We then drove around for the morning taking in the spectacular views. Tour over, we then had a few hours by the pool before returning to Morphie for supplies.

Later in the afternoon we drove ourselves to One Tree Hill for a sunset picnic. When we had finished eating we did actually hand feed some of the cockatoos that were strutting their stuff looking for a handout. The sunset was very special with some great cloud formations too. Had been a really lovely day.

Thursday morning it was another cloudy day, the wind had dropped a bit, but then it started pouring with rain. Damn…this was our last day in Hamilton. Anyway, we decided to tough it out at the pool so returned the buggy and made camp under some large umbrellas. The rain stopped but the wind had a chill in it so we actually never got into our swimmers and started to get a bit cold.

So we called it a day at noon and returned to Morphie where we got busy getting ready for our Friday morning departure. We stripped beds and did the laundry whilst also doing some Netflix downloading for when we go back on the hook. In preparation for going into Coral Sea Marina in Airlie Beach – where we had a three day reservation – we went through the cupboards and freezer and did lists. One for on-line click & collect shopping and the other for shopping like meat and vegetables (preferring to chose our own). Back on board we prepped the boat and ourselves for the morning departure – so we did engine checks; navigational checks; equipment checks; and made sure everything was stowed away after dinner.

Friday morning at 7.20 am we left Hamilton Island behind. We had really enjoyed our time on the island. When we left on a cloudy and rainy morning the seas were quite lumpy and it really wasn’t pleasant although we were on a reach before running downwind in 20 knots of breeze so a good sailing day from that perspective.

As we were crossing the Whitsunday Passage in these feisty conditions we were delighted to see some broaching, fin and tail slapping action from whales in the distance. Sadly I couldn’t get a photo as the boat was rocking and rolling too much for me to take a steady shot. Continuing on towards the Molle channel we suddenly had whales broaching in front of us. Oooer…very scary!!!! They were travelling with the swell direction so we came up into the wind to cross behind them. Thankfully they moved away and we continued our passage. Phew! As we got into the Molle Passage the seas just flattened off like a switch had been thrown and we had the most spectacular sail towards Airlie Beach.

Arriving at Airlie Beach we were too early to get into the marina so we anchored off and radioed in. Actually they said you can come in now if you want as your slip is ready – just give us 10 minutes to get someone down the dock to assist you with your lines. Very happy with that so we weighed anchor and worked our way in through the dog leg channel into the marina only to find there was already a boat on the dock we had been allocated. So we radioed again and agreed to continue stooging around in circles while they vacated. This took a while which was annoying – boats are supposed to vacate by 11 am and arrivals at noon. Eventually (by 12.12) we were securely tied to the ‘T’ at the end of Q dock. We quickly cleaned the boat and ourselves up and, because we knew there had been thefts in Airlie Beach from the town dock, we removed all valuables from the cockpit before we left Morphie and walked into town. The marina has security gates but, because it is open to the anchorage where there are a large number of permanent liveaboard boats, anyone with a dinghy can come into the slips.

Well, it didn’t look too far on the map, but from our dock all the way into town took us about 45 minutes.

Definitely getting a taxi back! We headed to the pharmacy first as we wanted to ensure that they had all the prescriptions in place for dispensing the following day. They told us in July (when we picked up the last lot whilst getting our 2nd covid jabs) that they were going to request these from our doctor directly. I had actually phoned them a couple of weeks ago to check and was told everything was OK. So, of course, when we get there they either hadn’t called or hadn’t chased our doctor and they wanted new scripts faxed to them. In the meantime we met an obnoxious Australian bloke who was pissed off that we had pushed in the queue – well, we hadn’t even noticed him so I quickly apologised. At this point he started slagging us off to the pharmacist about how fed up he was. Again I tried to apologise – as it was a genuine mistake – and he was rude to me again. Stressed out from this interaction, and the fact that the pharmacy had not followed up on their promises, we continued on down the main street towards the pub at the Airlie Beach Hotel having phoned our doctors again to pass on the news that they needed to fax the scripts over. The main street seemed a bit more depressed than the last time we had visited so clearly the pandemic is really hurting the hospitality businesses here.

Leaving the Pub we headed to the Hogs Breath Cafe where we met fellow Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (SICYC) members (Shaggers) who were having a social there. This was our first get together and most were in big groups as they cruise in company up the coast going from one of these get togethers to another. Well, as first timers we met another couple who knew no-one else either, so teamed up. We had a nice evening with Yvonne and Ed from SV SteeLee before cabbing it back to the marina.

Saturday morning we were up very early to find that Morphie was covered in cockatoo poop! Not nice….. So we did a quick wash down before heading out in a taxi back to town. We had breakfast out at Garuma – which was very good – and then I headed to the pharmacy while Richard picked up our hire car for the day. Well, the pharmacist had not received the faxes…..so I phoned the doctors again….and they promised to send them by 2pm when the chemist closed for the day.

We then headed to Canonvale to do our shopping. Heavily laden, on the way back to Morphie, we called into the pharmacy again to be told ‘no’. Very stressed I phoned the doctors again and asked them to email them instead of faxing them as this just wasn’t working. They promised, again, to send them by 2pm. So we returned to the marina and unloaded the car. Most of the dock carts were either in use or were obviously privately owned and secured, so Richard had to go on the hunt for one. He parked in the nearest car park and then came back to meet me on the ramp and we pushed and pulled all the way to Morphie. Her berth (Q45) is the furthest away from anywhere so was quite a struggle.

We unloaded and stowed all the shopping and checked the emails (as I had asked the doctors to copy me in so I could prove they had been sent if the pharmacy disputed it again). And yes there was one so opened it eagerly only to find that they had only sent mine and not Richards! So rang the doctors again and asked them to send these through urgently. Finally, a couple of hours later, I had them…phew….so took a deep breath….

We moved the car to the long-term car park – no free parking here in Airlie – and paid for an overnight spot. Then we headed to the Garden Bar and had a few drinks before returning to Morphie and then took supplies to the Ocean Club for sundowners. A nice facility here in the marina offering BBQ, free coffee, laundry and ensuite. We met a local restaurant owner up there who said that, if the interstate borders didn’t reopen, he might not survive this year as he is already digging into savings to keep his up-market fish restaurant going (which, apparently, was a real hit with Chinese tourists back in the day). Such a real shame….

Sunday morning and it was sunny – yay! So we headed out to return the car and then had breakfast at Garuma again. Then we walked down to the pharmacy to collect our medication. Then they told us that that they needed the originals posted to them and that they hadn’t ever received them from the last time (despite my phone call to them checking they had!). Shame they couldn’t have told us about this sooner. Bottom line was they didn’t want to fill the prescriptions for us as they had no physical paper back-up, despite the emails having been received. Richard explained that he had only a few days worth of supplies left and we were actually leaving the area in the morning. At this point the pharmacist (a different one) checked the drugs Richard was taking and realised that these were actually quite important. So he decided to fill the scripts on the basis that the originals would be posted to them. Not the end of the saga but at least we were good for another month. I sent an email to our doctors explaining exactly what they had to do now and, hopefully, that will happen. Will definitely call the pharmacy in about a week to check they had received the originals. There is an electronic prescription system here in Australia which has recently been rolled out in Queensland so we have sent a link to our doctors suggesting that maybe this is the way forward instead of this endless mindless paper chase…..

After finally getting this sorted for now, we walked back to the up-market Coral Sea Resort and settled down for the day by the pool. We definitely needed some R&R after this hassle….. Was a beautiful sunny day and we had a great time at one point floating around the pool on the huge bean bags. We met some nice people and enjoyed people watching – this is obviously the place people come to be seen on a Sunday. A lovely time had by all.

Afterwards we walked back to the Garden Bar in the marina for sundowners and then to Morphie for tea. When we got there we found a cockatoo roosting at the top of the mast and he refused to leave despite our banging on the rigging….so Richard got a halyard and swung it around near him and, eventually, he moved on obviously quite irritated by the noise he made!

Monday morning we were up early and headed out again into town for a final breakfast at Garuma and our last minute shopping. We were back on board by 9.30 am and we then washed all the poop off Morphie again….absolutely splattered…..

We filled up with water; flushed the watermaker; did our engine and navigational checks; reset the fridge and freezer for being back on the hook and left the marina by 11 am.

The wind had died so we motorsailed all the way and managed to get through the Gloucester Pass between Gloucester Island and Cape Gloucester on an ebbing tide so had some current going with us. We had our anchor down by 3pm and had a leisurely afternoon and evening on board.

This morning, Tuesday, we awoke to a spectacular sunrise and are delighted that Steve and Jo (SV Tamanu, our British Island Packet friends) have just arrived into the anchorage so are looking forward to catching up with them later today once they have caught up on their sleep (as they did an overnight run to get here). The Shaggers annual rendezvous starts on Thursday through the weekend so we’ll be sat here for a while now.

So that catches us up. The Covid numbers here in Australia (and also New Zealand) continue to grow and lockdowns are in place for a large proportion of the population. Interstate borders also remain firmly closed. The idea that they will consider opening international borders anytime soon when they won’t even let Australians travel freely around their own country probably means that people will remain locked in/out for some time to come yet. Anyway sending lots of love and hugs your way and, to make you smile, here is an Australian wallaby hug.

Bye for now, Jan

Miserable weather so back to Hamilton Island

Saturday evening as we started to watch the sun setting from the cockpit in Happy Bay (Long Island) we noticed the catamaran behind us was swinging a bit too close. With a full length keel we do get pushed around by the current and this was a tide change. As there was another tide change due overnight we decided it would be prudent to pick up anchor before it got dark. Of course it wasn’t that simple as the first spot we chose (which was a bit shallower) was rocky and we couldn’t get a good set, so we moved out into slightly deeper water again and were very relieved that the anchor bit first time. Just before dark too! Phew….

Sunday morning the wind was still howling so we stayed put and did a few jobs. Some hand washing (definitely not my favourite task when on anchor), cleaned the plexiglass panels in our dodger which were pretty salty and made some water to top up the tank. As it was still chilly we stayed below for the rest of the day rocking and rolling in the wind and, of course, the rain returned too.

Monday it was raining, cloudy and windy. By noon the rain had let up and the wind had eased to only 15/20 knots so we upped anchor and sailed towards May’s Bay on Whitsunday Island. Was a feisty reach in the gusty wind conditions but we enjoyed the short trip and, thankfully, the rain held off.

We got a good anchor set with loads of swinging room around us, the bay was beautiful and we even had an internet signal. Just perfect! This was significantly less rolly than Happy Bay so we were happier and had a much more comfortable evening and night onboard.

Overnight the heavens opened again and the rain continued into Tuesday morning. But even when the rain stopped it remained chilly. So we stayed down below relaxing rather than dinghy exploring as we had hoped. The forecast for 20 knot winds and rain showers continue for a long yet so it was not going to improve anytime soon. Sigh….

Wednesday morning, after overnight heavy rain, the bullets of wind over the hills around us were very strong and we were heeling over on anchor. Seriously fed up now as we had another grey, windy, cold day to put up with.

There is no point moving on to explore further as the only things to do here in the Whitsunday Islands are to admire the scenery; go hiking (which is increasingly difficult for me with my dodgy hip); go dinghy exploring; and sit on a beach and enjoy time on the beach. Apart from within the private resorts / islands there aren’t even any beach bars where we could hole up and drown our sorrows LOL. Even the beautiful scenery is spooky in the clouds!

We had booked into the up-market Airlie Beach marina for a weekend (on 20 August) to re-provision etc so we rang to see if we could go in earlier….nope, it’s Race Week so fully booked. We tried the Port of Airlie too but that was also fully booked. So here we have to stay. Later on, still fed up with the weather and not having got off the boat for a while, we decided to bite the bullet and go back to Hamilton Island for the weekend despite the cost. We said we wanted to return so guess it is sooner rather than later…. So we made the call and, yay, they can accommodate us! Woo hoo. Cheered up we had another Netflix night onboard.

Thursday morning it was more of the same, grey, cold weather but the wind seems to have reduced a bit. But then the rain showers came through and with bullets of strong wind we were nodding on anchor again…. Hmmmm…. But at least we were temporarily cheered up by a beautiful rainbow after the last rain shower had cleared away.

Friday morning we picked up anchor and proceeded to Hamilton Island. We had wind over tide at one point as we came through the Hunt Channel between CID and Whitsunday islands and it was pretty horrible for a while with huge eddies and standing waves and that was actually at low slack tide! A couple of other boats started to follow us out but quickly turned around and retreated back to CID Harbour. Guess it must have looked a bit too exciting for them LOL. But we pushed on and got out into the Fitzalan Passage and arrived outside the leads into Hamilton at 10.50am (earliest arrival is 11am). We kicked the fenders over as we were already set up for a starboard tie, so just waited for about 10 minutes for the dock concierge to come out and lead us to our allocated berth. It was a little snug as we were being blown off the dock in 20 knots (and there was a Riviera motorboat in the same pen already) but everything went really well and we were quickly tied up and welcomed back. The guy offered us a reduced rate to stay a week (rather than the three days we had planned) and, as the forecast remained pretty poor we jumped at it. Yay!

So we then got busy. We washed the salt off Morphie; filled up with water; flushed the water maker; sorted out the laundry; had lovely long hot showers ashore; and did some shopping at the IGA and the bakery. We then treated ourselves to a night out at The Tavern where I enjoyed watching the antics of the bush stone curlew who was stalking any scraps under the tables. A lovely looking chap although Richard reckons he had ‘dead’ eyes. Was great to be out and about again.

Saturday morning it remained windy and overcast but, who cares, we are going to the pool whatever happens LOL. We got ourselves organised and headed to the bus stop and, as it pulled in, the heavens opened. Never mind, just a passing shower, and we got off at the resort centre and found two sun beds under an umbrella so settled in for the day. Out of the wind it was quite pleasant and we even sat on the pool edge with a drink listening to the live music for a short time when the sun broke through. The songster was the same guy as last time and he is starting to grow on us a bit, and thankfully he didn’t murder another Adele song LOL. A couple of times we had showers but the brolly kept us dry.

We returned to Morphie, got ourselves cleaned up, and headed back out to the Tavern for sundowners although Richard did manage to make friends with a seagull – nothing to do with the almond that he might have had in his pocket, honest guv! Had been a lovely day.

This morning, Sunday, and it is cloudy and raining. So I’m blogging while Richard is catching up online. But we have a week here in this lovely spot so not stressing too much if we don’t make the pool again today. We have also booked a buggy for the day on Wednesday so we can go out and explore the island a bit more so really looking forward to that.

Well the lockdowns here in Australia are getting worse (and the vaccination programme seems to be totally flawed) with the Delta variant spreading quickly in New South Wales and most interstate borders are either closed or require compulsory 14 day hotel quarantine even if you are issued a border permit to enter. Felt really sorry for the returning Olympic athletes who, as they had arrived into New South Wales (a Covid hotspot) on their return from Japan had to do 14 days hotel quarantine in Sydney on arrival followed by another 14 days hotel quarantine on arrival into their home state. Not exactly the welcome home they could have expected! So, as last year, we are restricted to Queensland but we are lucky as this is a huge state and we still have plenty to see. Guess we may get caught up in a local lockdown at some stage but we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that doesn’t happen. We do realise how lucky we are to be here but it isn’t home and we miss you all very much. So this week I’m sending you another weird Australian creature – this one is called a thorny devil. Interesting little thing although not sure it counts as cute.

Bye for now, Jan

Hamilton, Long and Whitsunday Islands

Friday evening (30 July) having completed all our domestic duties and got ourselves cleaned up, we headed to the Marina Tavern at the top of our ramp for a bite to eat and a couple of drinks. We were expecting it to be pretty quiet as the Hamilton Island marina was only about 60% full and the resort had even lower occupancy at around 20%. These stats have obviously not been helped by the latest Covid lockdowns and interstate border closures. There are also some residencies on this private island although a single family continues to own the entire freehold. Surprisingly the Tavern seemed to be very popular with residents and holidaymakers alike and was quite buzzy. We were lucky and found a small table on the balcony and enjoyed a nice dinner and a few drinks before we returned to Morphie for the night. It had been a very busy but productive day.

Saturday morning we had a late start. We wandered to the ice cream parlour ‘bus stop’ on this cloudy but warm day and waited for the ‘Green’ bus to take us over to the over side of the island to the centre of the resort. The buses on Hamilton are complimentary and the Green one runs every 10 minutes or so on a loop – great service. We arrived at the resort and had a look around before settling down to enjoy a lazy day by the main pool area.

We did dip our toes into the pool expecting it to be warm as there were a few people swimming and bobbing at the pool bar but the water was absolutely freezing! They are a hardy bunch these Australians LOL. In the afternoon there was a guy playing live music so we moved sunbeds so we could watch as well as listen and then we had a couple of frozen mango cocktails whilst we sat on the pool edge dangling our feet. Was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Around 4.30 pm we headed back on the bus to Morphie, got ourselves cleaned up and changed, before we headed to the iconic building at the end of the marina which houses the Hamilton Island Yacht Club. Within the Yacht Club there is an embedded race boat – Wild Oats – which also belongs to the owner of the island (who are vintners). Hamilton has an exclusive feel to it and reminded us of Mustique, although Hammo (as the locals call it) is open to visitors and day trippers who arrive in droves each day on the ferry.

We enjoyed watching the sun going down from the Yacht Club and people watching all the twenty-somethings that frequented the place – presumably on the bank of Mum and Dad as the drinks were certainly not inexpensive – but had to be done!

Sunday morning we were up early and wandered the main street checking out the variety of shops including the studio selling statues – presumably for landscaping private villa gardens. As you can see the main form of transport on this island are electric golf buggies.

We then headed out again on the Green bus to the resort centre for another day by the pool. This time we made camp near the pagoda where the musician sits so we could watch and listen again during the afternoon. Richard went a bit crazy wanting to bob at the pool bar and insisted we get into the pool – which we did – and then we posed for our photo with compulsory cocktail. Actually once we were in, it wasn’t too bad but I certainly wasn’t staying immersed for another one LOL.

So we headed back to the pool edge and sat with our feet dangling listening to the music again. The guy didn’t have a great voice actually but he had an amazing repertoire as he didn’t repeat any of the set from the Saturday into the Sunday. I did wish he hadn’t attempted Adele though…. We really enjoyed watching the antics of the cockatoos who seemed to be able to hear the opening of a crisp packet from a long way, swooping in to sit on the top of the umbrellas hoping for a taste.

Around 4pm we used the hotel facilities to change out of our swimwear and caught the Blue bus to One Tree Hill where we enjoyed the views and watched the sun go down from the bar. This is obviously a regular event for the residents and guests alike as the hill was really busy with people and even some kids sitting in the trees watching the scenery. We loved checking out the cockatoos that were trying to cadge food. Was a lovely way to spend a few hours – absolutely spectacular scenery.

We then returned to Morphie back on the Blue bus to the marina and had some fish and chips on the boardwalk before turning in for the night.

Monday morning and I was up early to head to the supermarket which, according to the blurb, opened at 7 am. Well, I got there, and it didn’t actually open until 8.30 am so I aborted that plan and returned to Morphie. Back on board we continued with our usual checks to make sure we were ready to go back out on the hook. With this done we headed to the laundry to do a final wash (beach towels etc) and had breakfast in the bakery, enjoying the company of some more cockatoos and small rainbow lorikeets as we sat on the boardwalk. But, because we didn’t feed them, they moved on quickly so didn’t get a photo of them sadly.

Back on board, we radioed the marina to ask permission to come alongside the fuel dock and was asked to wait for assistance – about 15 minutes later the dock concierge came round in his pontoon boat and we slipped from the dock and followed him to the fuel dock. We pulled up alongside and while Richard filled up with both diesel and petrol I did a quick run to the IGA supermarket (which is located virtually opposite the fuel dock pier) and picked up the fresh provisions that I was looking for earlier. I rushed back as quickly as I could and Richard had just finished fuelling up so we hadn’t hogged the fuel dock longer than was necessary – phew!

We slipped away from the fuel dock – radioed the marina to say thanks for their hospitality and assistance – and worked our way towards the channel. Annoyingly, a large motoryacht (must have been 60+ feet) cut the corner coming around into the channel so we had to stop suddenly whilst he straightened up to give us room to pass port to port. Not impressed – he must have been able to see our mast as he was steering this vessel using a mobile joystick from the height of the bow of the boat. Oh well….

We left Hamilton Island marina behind us having had a really great weekend and vowed to return.

We had light airs and a glassed out sea but, with a lift from the current we had a lovely sail on our way to Happy Bay, Long Island. And on the way we saw more whales. Yay!!! We had our anchor down by 12.30 pm and relaxed on board for the rest of the day.

Tuesday morning we awoke to a very heavy dew – Morphie was so wet it looked like it had actually been raining LOL. So Richard spent some time wiping the topsides down. We then had a lazy morning on board and in the afternoon went exploring in dink. We passed by the beach in Happy Bay but didn’t go ashore there as this is just another defunct resort waiting for a new owner. We were careful to avoid the extensive reef and isolated bombies as we traversed the coastline and continued around to the next bay also avoiding the derelict pier that sticks out into the water. The scenery is just stunning here.

We ‘checked in’ to the Palm Bay resort at reception and had a wander around the facility including crossing over to the over side of the narrow island to check out the rocky coastline. This resort consists of individual villas with a small pool and a large guest kitchen for everyone to use in the communal / bar / lounge area. Although a bit more upmarket than a large public BBQ area as the resort supplied all the crockery, plates, condiments, cooking utensils etc and there was even a place to leave your dirty dishes to be cleaned after use. Perfect for a totally isolated getaway but not sure we’d want to stay there…. They were very cruiser friendly so, before we left, we purchased a drink from the bar and sat on their beach deck to enjoy the scenery looking out to sea. Very chilled.

We then returned to Morphie and sat on the coachroof watching the whales meandering around in the Long Island Sound – this time it was a mum and her baby. Really can’t get enough of this! As it was quite warm we had dinner in the cockpit before retiring down below for the night.

Wednesday morning we dried Morphie off again after more heavy dew and then had breakfast in the cockpit. The forecast was for strong South Easterly winds so we decided to head back to CID Harbour (on Whitsunday Island) to sit out the blow. We had also been in contact with John and Stella (SV Exocet Strike) who had recently sailed into the Whitsundays from Scarborough Marina (near Brisbane) having luckily left before lock down. We had another great sail and even went the long way round to keep going LOL. We got a good anchor set not far from them and got ourselves tidied up. Later on John and Stella came over for sundowners so it was great to catch up with them again. Was a lovely evening.

Thursday morning the wind kicked in overnight, as forecast, and we were pleased that our anchor held well in the gusts of 30 knots or more.

We stayed on board all day and watched the comings and goings in the anchorage. This is a large bay so most boats are quite well spaced. During the afternoon the Young Endeavour (a Tall Ship training boat) came into the anchorage and we enjoyed watching the youngsters being put through their paces onboard. We had another quiet evening and actually ended up putting the duvet back on the bed during the night as the temperature dropped again.

Friday morning Richard kept busy doing boat jobs: he cleaned the shower bilge; ‘flushed’ the watermaker as we don’t need to use it for a few more days; and fixed the leak on the heads shower hose. I started this blog but will not finish it here at CID Harbour (Whitsunday Island) as the internet is just too slow and erratic. The forecast continues to show fresh SE winds for the next few days but there are numerous anchorages / islands with shelter from the trades in this area that we have not visited yet so will return to Happy Bay tomorrow and take it from there. We enjoyed a beautiful red sky before turning in.

This morning, Saturday, we picked up anchor around 8.45 am and said our farewells to Stella and John as we passed them on our way out of the anchorage. We’ll catch up with them again soon and will look forward to that.

We picked up some current and made good progress under engine despite heading straight into the wind and, once we had cleared the Hunt Channel (between Whitsunday and CID Island) we pulled out a small genoa to make our way across the Whitsunday Passage towards Long Island. The sea state was boisterous with a steady 20 knots of breeze with higher gusts and we got pretty wet with waves breaking into the cockpit. Halfway across we saw a whale who was quite close to us but he quickly dived – and, at this point, the bilge alarm starts going off adding more excitement to the mix. I headed down below to check the bilges and there was nothing untoward – the switch gets wet with the water sloshing around and it stays on until we physically dry it out, which we weren’t going to do until we were back on anchor. As we rounded the top of Long Island we furled the genoa away and the furling line came out of the drum. Great!

We had our anchor down by 11.15 am and got a good set straight away. Richard sorted out the bilge and the furler whilst I continued with the blog. There is a communications tower on Long Island so the internet here is pretty good! The forecast remains windy for the next week or so and there is even some rain predicted. So we will probably sit tight here for a few days now. Hoping for some more whale encounters too…..

So hope you are all well at home and continue to enjoy more freedom as restrictions are eased. Stay safe and well and look after each other. Sending lots of love and hugs your way and, today, you get a cheeky rainbow lorikeet to make up for the fact that I didn’t get a photo of them at breakfast the other morning!

Bye for now, Jan