Monday, 22 July 2013

Whitsunday Heaven

Captain Cook, on his first voyage of discovery in 1770, was the first on record to find and name the group of islands now commonly called the Whitsundays.  He discovered and named them on Whit Sunday in that year.   The islands are actually a drowned mountain range and are made up of continental islands - so called because they are made up of the same "stuff" as the mainland - they are distinguishable from the mainland by their fringing reefs with some coral.  But the main coral is located in the outer reef areas some 25 or more nautical miles out towards the sea.  For a long time - nearly a century - this area has been a haven for sailors and then outposts of holiday areas for those longing for a warm place to 'get away from it all'.   And that's where we are now.

The past few days we've been out of range of phones and internet again which is why I haven't been able to blog.  But I think I can speak for both Captain G and myself when I say we didn't miss anything because we've been in heaven.  The wind finally stopped and we've been to and seen some of the most beautiful places I think I've ever been.  So instead of my usual "dump" of words here are some pictures and captions of the places we've been and seen and loved.

Lindeman Island.  There's a Club Med resort on the southern end but we were anchored on the North Western end looking for a National park walk in this photo.  There wasn't a soul around for miles and you can see how far out you have to anchor out to avoid the low tides.  We spent one night here with absolutely no one anywhere to be seen.  We found the National park walk but it was way too overgrown for me to tackle.

We made bread in the afternoon while off Lindeman Island.  I don't remember the last time I tried to make bread!  We had been given some info about a bread mix that can be bought in the grocery store by Ian (Captain of Bogart) and the mix worked reasonably well.  Unfortunately we didn't listen to all that Ian told us - which was to add more yeast than the instructions called for - so the bread was a bit dense.  But all in all we've enjoyed it for toast in the morning.

Pentecost Island on the way from Lindeman to Whitsunday Island and Whitehaven Beach.  No anchorage here and not much usable shelter for yachts but spectacular none the less.  You can see its peak all over the area.

Captain G going for a dip at Whitehaven Beach.  This beach is one of the most celebrated beaches in Australia.  It's a 7km stretch of very white sand - made up of 98% pure silica - which means it is startlingly white.  The wind died and being here was heaven.  We met up with Bogart again and had drinks on the beach with Ian and Sharon.  During the day its fun to watch all the tourist boats, planes and helicopters come in and dump tourist on the beach.  At dusk they all go away.  We spent a fabulous night here.

The view of Whitehaven Beach from the cockpit.  When I took this photo I wanted to show the beautiful colour of the water which is a breathtaking aqua blue.  But the photo doesn't do it.  Wish you could see the colour ... it is stunning.

We moved to Tongue Bay which is north of Whitehaven Beach but  - from a lookout walk at the top of the hill - you can see the expanse of the beach.   Tongue Bay on Saturday night was like a backpacker heaven on earth.  There were about 5 boats that pulled in with young people from all over the world.  When we went ashore early the next morning to walk up to the top of the hill all the boats started bringing their kids over to do the walk too.  There were a lot of them but they were lovely.  One asked me to take a photo of their group and I said "sure" but then I ended up with 8 cameras on my arms .. and Captain G with another 5 or 6!  It was fun.

The Captain and Me on the hill at Tongue Bay.

The anchorage in Tongue Bay.  We saw Dugongs and Turtles in this bay really close to the yacht!!!!!

We're currently at South Molle island.  This used to be a popular resort but no more.  There are a number of National Park walks on the island and we did one of them this afternoon.  This is a shot from the top of the mountain looking down on Southern Belle.  She's the boat in the centre of the photo between the plant shoots.

Me on the walk on South Molle with my "hiking" gear.  My foot gave me a bit of grief during the walk which was about 3.5km round trip but I made it!

A run down room at the South Molle resort...the grounds are kept up pretty much and they bring groups of backpackers here for the weekend but - as you can see - many of the rooms are abandoned.

That's it.  We've had a great time over the past few days...fantastic weather and wonderful places.  The weather is forecast to turn nasty again on Wednesday so we'll be moving towards the mainland and plan to be in the Airlie Marina by Wednesday.


  1. So beautiful! Keep being mindful of your foot.

    I can see some kind of The Shining movie being made at these resorts. The area looks so so so beautiful (and I can see that turquoise in the water) that I find it hard to believe that there are the two areas that have been abandoned. Was it the economy or did folks just get fickle?

    Post and send pics, lots and lots of pics!

    BTW, yeasties need a bit of sugar to wake them up, not just add more yeast. Mix the packet with a spoon of honey and warm water and let it "proof" until it's foamy, then add it to your bread. Yeasties will make more of their own really fast, and you want the newly born ones working for you.

    You made the bestest apple pies. I have crust envy still :)

  2. Hey! I think what happened to a lot of the Aussie resorts was the Australian dollar's cheaper to take a flight somewhere for a more exotic holiday than staying at home. Also places just go out of fashion. The tourism biz is tough because operators have to keep ramping up their point of difference .. for some it just gets too hard and expensive to keep up. That resort at South Molle had lovely grounds but the rooms and general spaces looked like no one had cared for a long long time.

    Thanks for the bread tip I'll do that next time. Goodness I haven't made an apple pie in a while. Mr G kept asking for one for years and then just gave up I guess. I'll have to make one now to prove I can still do it!