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