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PostPosted: Oct 8th, '17, 22:01 
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Wednesday 4th - We started the morning with breakfast from the bakery across from the Hamilton Island marina - our last chance before heading out. We also did some last minute provisioning, buying things that need to be refrigerated or fresh.

We set of at 10:30, for a long sail to hill inlet. My main concern was having an easy journey through the Solway passage, but this ment I would be traveling through the Fitzalan passage against the tide. It turned out to be quite exciting, the tide was running quite quickly and I wasn't sure we would make it. Fortunately at maximum throttle we were able to keep up a speed over the ground of between 1.5 to 2 knots, and eventually we popped out like a cork out of a bottle.

After all the excitement of Fitzalan passage, the infamous Solway passage turned out to be a non event. We were arriving a little to fast so I dropped the main about half an hour before we reached it to slow us down. We went through pretty much dead on slack tide. The biggest challenge was powerboat wash and the flukey winds once we had actually exited the channel and wanted to start sailing again.

We finally arrived at hill inlet at 4:00pm after five and a half hours of excellent sailing. For most of the trip it really was stunning - a gentle 10 to 15 knot breeze, which kept us moving along tidy pace, without ever becoming to much to handle. It was partially overcast which kept the sun from having too much bite. We were either beating or shy reaching most of the way with bumblebee absolutely in her element. I think with all of the excitement about destinations, it's easy to forget just how nice the sailing is here as well.

At hill inlet the next problem presented it's self - how to get in. I dropped the family off at Whitehaven beach, and walked along to check out the sand spit which people anchor behind. It looked like a great spot. Next I loaded everyone into the tender and we tried to spot out the entrance. There were 3 seperate channels - The southmost one, which was closest to Whitehaven I had seeen was a dead end. I tried the north most one, and it seemed like exactly what we were looking for. There was a catamaran there and another trailer sailer. I didn't follow the channel the full way in, because it was starting to get late and the tender with all the family on it was quite slow.

Instead we headed back to bumblebee, pulled up the anchor and started down the north most channel. While we were heading in we noticed the trailer sailer heading back out, which I thought was strange - The sun was starting to set and it was getting very late to be finding a new anchorage. By the time I had reached the catamaran, I discovered my mistake. The north channel ends in a cul-de-sac and doesn't continue the full way. I spoke to the guy on the catamaran who said, it was the middle channel I was after. I pondered anchoring with the cat, but I was worried about the chop I would get once the tide was in and all the sandbars were underwater.

So, with the setting sun, we motored all the way back out of the north channel and into the middle one. By this stage my wife had started cooking dinner. It was low tide, but very hard to see how much water was under us, as the light was fading. As we were turning from the exit of the north channel into the entrance of the middle channel we ran aground! Fortunately the sand around hill inlet is very soft - I frequently sank in up to my ankles while walking on it. We were also only traveling at 2.5 knots which helped soften the blow. The impact was still enough to send us sprawling. Luckily my wife didn't burn herself.

After that excitement we managed to make our way through the rest of the channel without incident and settle down onto the anchor just as the light started to fade.

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PostPosted: Oct 9th, '17, 21:10 
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Thursday 5th - today was a busy day of relaxing :) Things kicked off just after breakfast when I took my daughter in the tender to explore the mangroves in the upper end of hill inlet. We saw thousands of tiny fish swimming amoungst the mangrove roots - it's obviously an important hatchery. We also saw a few stingrays, but weren't able to get close - they shoot off as soon as we get close.

After we got back everyone piled into the tender and we headed over to the lookout. By the time we got there it was getting quite busy. The tour boats from Hamilton island were offloading crowds of people to enjoy the beach and climb to the lookout. After staying in such an isolated anchorage it was a shock to see so many people.

The view from the lookout was incredible, though of course there were a lot of people, making it hard to get a good look. We found it best to wait around as the tour groups only tend to spend 10 minutes before moving on, and you can get a good look between the groups.

After the lookout we headed a little further into the inlet to a smaller beach, with nobody on it. We were able to enjoy a quite lunch, then spend some time wading in the water looking for stingrays. We were able to get quite close to done before they startled and swam off. I was also able to swim and see some from underwater using my goggles. It was incredible to see them fly along underwater.

After our lunch we headed back to the boat to chill for a bit, before I took the kids over to Whitehaven beach to swim. The current at the exit of the inlet was very strong, but we had lots of fun making sand castles. The kids also found hermit crabs in the water. They put a little water and sand in their snorkel facemasks to make a 'habitat', then filled them with crabs which they gave names.

After such a busy day it was a relief to get back to the boat, have some dinner and fall into bed.

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PostPosted: Oct 9th, '17, 21:11 
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Friday 6th - Today we spent 5 and a half hours sailing from hill inlet to Nara inlet. I wanted to get through hook passage at slack tide, so we left at 7:00am. We had a nice reach towards hook passage, but as we approached it the wind died. We had to put on the engine and hurry to get through while the tide was slack. Even though there was little wind, there was still a considerable amount of chop in the passage.

Once we were through we had very flukey sailing conditions up to Nara inlet as there were many bullets and wind changes comming off the mountains.

At Nara inlet we walked up to see the Aboriginal art at the rock shelter. It was amazing to think that there have been people living there for 9000 years. The signs and information were very good, particularly the spoken stories. My daughter has been studying Australia's Aboriginal people at school, so she in particular got a lot out of the visit.

While my wife was making dinner I spent yet more time playing with the ALDI fridge! It has been working better, but the temperature has been gradually rising, until it's now at 15c. I had a look at the solar charge controller which shows the battery voltage. It's reading 12.9v - a full charge. I have a power socket right next to the battery, so I've moved the fridge over to that. Perhaps the wireing in the boat that leads from the battery to the original socket was too thin and it was experiencing too much of a voltage drop? If this doesn't work my last resort will be to cut up the fridge cable again and wire it directly into the battery. The battery definitely has power to spare, there just seems to be some issue getting it to the fridge!

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PostPosted: Oct 9th, '17, 21:51 
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Saturday 7th - today was spent slowly heading towards Hamilton island, as we will be spending the next to nights there.

We sailed out of Nara inlet and stopped just outside at Ravens cove. 100 magic miles showed some snorkeling their. Unfortunately the tide was rising and the visibility poor. There was a swift current running which made it hard to see. There were some nice fish in the rocks closer to the shore.

Next we moved on to May's bay as there is supposed to be a bommie off the beach that I was planning to snorkel on. We had an early lunch and I scouted out the area in the tender. The tide was at its highest and I couldn't find the bommie, so we decided to move onto our final anchorage in Cid Harbour.

At Cid Harbour we anchored just off Dugong breach. We spent some time playing on the beach, before heading off on the tender to explore. The first place we stopped was at the mangroves. The tide was out and we had to wade through shallow water, and sticky mud. With every step the mud would suck at your boots and send clouds of billowing black silt through the water. Around the roots of the mangroves there were some really interesting crabs - they had bright yellow stripes on their claws. If you came close to one it would wave their claws at you aggressively while retreating untill they could hide down a hole.

I turned around and saw the kids trying to follow me through the water and muck. I warned them to go back to the tender - there wasn't much to see, and it was hard going. However of course they wouldn't listen. As they came towards me, we saw a huge crab - easily the size of my fist - bright yellow stripes, large claws. Of course it started waving it's claws at us and dashed for the nearest cover. The nearest cover in this case being the cloud of muck billowing through the water around my kids feet. The kids saw it making a beeline for them, claws raised, and started screaming and tried to run. But of course their feet were stuck fast in the mud. Each managed to pull one foot loose. They stood their, balancing on one leg, screaming and crying until we managed to carry them - thoroughly traumatized - back to the tender. It took me a while to stop laughing enough to explain to my wife what had just happened.

After that we headed off to explore Lady Islet, a tiny island at the top end of Cid Harbour. We managed to see mangroves close up, with no mud or killer crabs. The beach was also covered with tiny hermit crabs and other sea life.

After Lady Islet we completed our tour of Cid Harbour by motoring past the MV Banks - a large ship which washed up on the rocks during cyclone Debbie. The ship seems in good condition, though my guess it it may not be worth the cost of the salvage.

We returned to Bumblebee as the sun was starting to go down, thoroughly tired after a long day.

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '17, 06:29 
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I had issues with cigarette plugs and fridge, ended up wiring in an Anderson plug direct to the fridge batt and cut the fridge cable, putting Anderson on either end of cut section so you could still fit cig plug if needed. Never a problem after that.
Trip sounds great and enjoying the reading!

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '17, 10:05 
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Terrific reading Luke. Motor sailing the Solway Passage and past Frith Rock was most exciting for us as well. You just did not know if the boat was going to get past that rock safely. We went through that in full tide and the speed of the water rushing past that rock was very intimidating to me. I noticed that from the photos posted by Duncan Haward that there are now very well constructed steps leading to the Aboriginal caves. Those caves at Nara Inlet were also a highlight to us and our granddaughters when we visited there. At the time the meaning of the drawings had not been figured out. I wonder if there is now a story behind the drawings.

As many others on TSP I am enjoying reading about your adventure.

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '17, 17:17 
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Thanks for these posts Luke. It's great to have something to refer to while we are planning our Whitsunday adventure (from Melbourne as well). John

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PostPosted: Oct 15th, '17, 21:00 
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Wanton wrote:
I noticed that from the photos posted by Duncan Haward that there are now very well constructed steps leading to the Aboriginal caves. Those caves at Nara Inlet were also a highlight to us and our granddaughters when we visited there. At the time the meaning of the drawings had not been figured out. I wonder if there is now a story behind the drawings.


The access is very good and the area very well organised! Unfortunately the meaning of the paintings has been lost and it seems we many never know. There is a panel with buttons which play various recorded audio snippets from the Ngaro Aboriginals. They talk quite a bit about the major dislocation and destruction of culture that occurred. They also speak about rediscovering their culture and roots and how important having the caves which show their ancestors have lived on that land for thousands of years is.

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PostPosted: Oct 15th, '17, 21:01 
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Johny wrote:
Thanks for these posts Luke. It's great to have something to refer to while we are planning our Whitsunday adventure (from Melbourne as well). John
I'll be posting a wrap up post at the end, with a bunch of info. Hopefully their will be some useful suggestions in there!

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PostPosted: Oct 15th, '17, 21:05 
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Sunday 8th - I woke up to cries of amazement and wonder from my family: "wow, look at that!", "It's incredible, I can't believe it". The tide had dropped really low during the night, and there were various small corals, weeds and fish only feet under the boat. It was actually quite lucky that I had raised the centerboard and that I haven't anchored further in, otherwise we would have hit the bottom. The water was glassy and you could see all kinds things on the bottom, including some giant sea urchins.

We headed in to use the toilets on the beach and found lots of crabs and other shellfish when exploring around the low tide line.

The sail into Hamilton island was eventful - it started off with us drifting through Cid harbour with no wind. By the time we had gone through the hunt channel and were off Henning island, it had blown up quite a bit. The wind was against the tide which threw up quite a chop. We tacked off Henning island with what looked like plenty of room to miss the rocks off its tip. However when I looked at Navonics it showed our course running right over the rocks. I figured it must be the tide pushing us off course and corrected. As we got closer Navonics still showed us running over the rocks - it seemed like the closer we got, the stronger the tidal flow. In the end we landed up sailing within about 50m of the rocks before we got around them.

After all the excitement of the trip it was a relief to pull into Hamilton island marina. We spent the rest of the day relaxing in the pool. We also booked in a snorkeling trip for tommorow to the great barrier reef.

The other bit of good news is I think I have finally sorted out the fridge problems. Since I plugged it into a different socket, it's been maintaining a steady 4c. It's a relief to know it's all actually working and that we have steady refrigeration - it only took half the trip to sort out!

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PostPosted: Oct 15th, '17, 21:08 
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Monday 9th - Today we went on our snorkeling trip to the great barrier reef. It's something I've been on the fence about doing for quite a while - afterall isn't the point of towing our boat all the way here, that we can go and see all kinds of coral by ourselves, without having to take tours?

In the end I'm really glad we did it! It was a fantastic experience and we got loads of time snorkeling on the reef - 3 hours in the water all up, which was quite a day!

The reef was absolutely stunning - anybody who was concerned that it was damaged after Debbie shouldn't be. There was an incredible variety and number of corals, and endless fish. We saw everything from enormous maori wrasse to tiny multi coloured fish, no larger than a 20c piece. The kids swam really well and didn't get tired until the very end. The biggest problem was they kept swimming off in different directions to see things.

Talking with the kids it has been the highlight of the trip so far. While it was expensive, I think in the end it was well worth it Some experences are truely priceless.

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PostPosted: Oct 16th, '17, 08:15 
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Great to hear Luke. Yes that trip will be with you and your family for life.

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PostPosted: Oct 17th, '17, 20:40 
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Tuesday 10th - Today was our longest sail yet - 7 hours from Hamilton island all the way up to Stonehaven anchorage on Hook island. This is going to be our last trip out. In 5 more days we need to be back in Arlie beach starting to pack. So today was all about getting us into position so we can spend the rest of the trip exploring around the top end of Hook island. So far the winds have been northerly, so we haven't been able to explore all the great snorkeling sites on Hook islands north side. Hower its forecast to turn to the east, then southerly which should open up some good anchorage's.

The trip it's self was fairly ordinary. The wind was flukey and we landed up motoring for long stretches. First we were running, but the angle was never right, and we landed up having to keep gybing. Then it died before coming back from completely the opposite direction. Now the angle was never quite right to beat upwind so we kept having to tack. It was a relief to finally arrive at Stonehaven and pick up a mooring.

Once we were anchored a turtle swam up to our boat. Apparently he does the rounds of the boats here looking for lunch. We had been forewarned to bring some fish - advice which I had ignored thinking "what are the odds that an actual turtle will swim up to us?". The kids were unimpressed, as they had been begging me to bring "food for the turtle" ever since they had herd about it. We scrambled around trying to find something he would like, but the turtle truned up his nose at bread, dry crackers and carrot. He gave my rudder an expiremental nibble before swimming off.

I went for a snorkel trying to sort out where the good locations were but had little luck. There was a bit of coral, but the tide was too high to swim down to it. I also found fields of coral rubble. It's obvious this spot had been hit hard by Debbie. Afterwards I drove around in the tender, but couldn't see much. I did meet a lady in her tender who was in charge of a snorkeling tour group. She pointed out some good spots including an area where there is a giant clam. We will have to check it out in the morning when the tide is lower.

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PostPosted: Oct 17th, '17, 20:42 
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Wednesday 11th - I had a fairly miserable nights sleep. Even though there wasn't much chop bullets kept coming down from the mountains pushing the boat side on into the waves. It would then build up a nasty pendulum motion and the centreboard would start thumping around in its case. It ended up rocking so much I started feeling queasy.

After breakfast it was low tide, so I took everybody snorkeling. Since there are reef protection markers I couldn't anchor the tender, so I landed up copying what the tour groups were doing - I drove the tender over the good spot and got everyone to jump off, then idled along next to them making sure they were ok. Unfortunately this means everyone but me gets a swim. My family landed up swimming along the reef all the way to the beach, so my wife held onto the tender while I swam out and had a look. While we were snorkeling I saw another group from a yacht- it seems one of the swimmers was pulling their tender along on a rope around his wrist. Perhaps tommorow I'll try that approach.

As for the reef at Stonehaven, it was interesting. There were large sections that had obviously been devistated by cyclone Debbie. Huge heads of coral that had been broken off and thrown on their sides. Fields of broken coral. But then you would swim across a pristine section filled with colourful corals and fish. It must have been incredible before the cyclone - it's still well worth seeing now. This is the first part of the trip where I wished I had come before the cyclone.

After our morning swim we motored around to Butterfly bay. We kept getting strong bullets off the mountains and the wind kept changing direction as we went, so we were always head to wind. Once we exited the narrows between Hamilton island and Hayman island the conditions became really uncomfortable. There was short sharp chop about 1- 1.5m, but it was comming in from two directions at right angles to each other. The boat got thrown around all over the place. Fortunately nobody got seasick.

We arrived at butterfly bay at 12:00 to find it empty. Getting one of the moorings for the night was one of my main worries so it was great to see them all available. I definitely didn't want to be making the return trip to Stonehaven. However when we hooked a moring we got a nasty surprise - they had a 2 hour limit. We moved onto the next one to discover it too had a limit. It was about this time that my wife said "Hey, that fridge is up to 16 degrees again". Thoroughly flustered we decided to pick up one of the 2 hour moring and take some time to sort things out.

Firstly that damn fridge - it seems that not a day has gone past where I didn't have some sort of issue with it, or needed to figure out why it wasn't running properly. It turns out this time the issue wasn't with the fridge, it was with the solar panel. There must have been some sort of salt build-up or corrosion in the solar plugs and the battery hadn't been charging. This had presumably been happening for a day or so and the battery was flat. Some WD40 cleaned the plugs and got us charging again, but it was the afternoon so the time left to charge the battery was minimal.

Next for the two hour morings - I read through the relevant 100 magic miles section and it said that if you were legally on a moring at 5:00 you could stay on it until 9:00. Adding in the two hour limit this ment if we picked up a mooring after 3:00 we could stay all night. I figured we could hop around morings for while until 3, then pick one up for the night. I also jumped in the tender and drove around the other moorings and the nearer bays to see if there were any without a limit - unfortunately they were all 2 hour. The swell was also worse in the other locations as well.

It turns out I shouldn't have been so worried about strictly adhering to the 2 hour limit - some of the big yachts that arrived just after we did picked up a mooring and stayed there all night.

Afterwards there was still some time to kill so I took the tender out with my son and did some exploring. There was a nice little beach where people had made a little cairn of stick and had been putting shells and other little 'treasures'. We contributed some shells we found, half a coconut shell and an old axe we found sitting at the base of some trees.

In the evening we had a total power failure. The solar charge controller has a low power cut-off which stops the battery from being damaged by being discharged fully. It kicked in around dusk. Luckily dinner had already been cooked and we were just killing time. On the plus side we got a great view of the stars and the milky way, without the moon it was a very dark night. We also were able to see small biolumicent animals swimming around the boat.

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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '17, 07:34 
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Just jumping ahead a bit to give an update - you probably have noticed I've fallen behind in posting quite a bit.

We are currently stuck at a motel just out of mirriam vale - the Bruce highway is closed due to flooding! If the road doesn't clear soon I'll head back to Gladstone. Looks like there are some things in town to do and a wider selection of camp grounds and motels.

Anyway, regular updates will resume shortly. I've got about a week's worth of writing to get through!

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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '17, 19:38 
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Thursday 12th - Today we did loads of snorkeling in Butterfly bay. We started by taking the tender to the spot recommended in 100 magic miles. However when arrived there was nothing but a mountain of broken coral exposed by the low tide. It's obvious that cyclone Debbie hit that particular spot hard. Further into the bay we found some very good locations - I can see why people recommend Butterfly bay as one of the best snorkeling locations in the Whitsundays. One of the highlight was being able to swim of the back of our boat from bommie to bommie. There were also some beautiful fields of a type of curly leafy green coral. We also found a giant clam that was at least as a meter long.

After lunch we motored around the corner to Maureen's cove. The main reason was to empty the porta potty at the toilets there, but I took the opportunity to go snorkeling off the back of the boat. It must have once been an incredible spot - you could easily swim from bommie to bommie. Sadly every one of them had been stripped almost completely bare. Some still had a few soft corrals but others were basically bare rock. Somehow there was still a lot of marine life. Reef fish were everywhere - I wonder how they survive without all the coral. I did see some parrot fish nibbling on weed off the rocks so obviously they don't need coral to eat.

When we landed at the beach it was easy to see where the coral went. The beach is nothing but steep mounds of coral rubble - it would have been about a 3m climb to the peek. It was also blisteringly hot - the coral rubble was bleached white and reflected the sun right back at you. Behind the toilets and picnic area there was a dry stream bed we were able to explore along some way. It eventually petered out into scrub.

After Maureen's cove, we returned to Butterfly bay. It was high tide and the sun was setting behind the high mountains that ring the bay, so it wasn't a good time for snorkeling. Instead we took the tender for spin to go have a look at the mangroves. I let my son drive us back - his first time driving something with a motor. He did a great job, and loved every minute of it.

I jury rigged a sway preventer by moving the boom all the way out and hanging a bucket filled with sand into the water from the end. The idea is as the boat tries to sway from side to side the bucket will drag in the water and resist the swaying motion. Hopefully it will result in a better night's sleep.

Tommorow we are going to try and duck around the east side of Hook island to Mackerel bay for the day. I've heard it's another great spot for snorkeling, but with the current easterly winds it's not suitable for an overnight anchorage.

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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '17, 20:16 
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Good report, I prefer Crayfish Bay over Mackerel Bay. Its hard to anchor but if the winds right you can sneak in behind the south eastern headland. As boats don't usually go there due to lack of moorings it was unspoilt. The cyclone is likely to have given it a hard time.


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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '17, 20:26 
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Friday 13th - Today will be our last full day cruising the Whitsunday. We were planning to stay out a further night and return to Arlie beach on the Sunday morning. However we picked up the forecast on the radio this morning and Sunday will blow up to 25 knots. Rather than trying to sail back in that we have decided to head back Saturday afternoon.

Knowing that today will be our last day has tinged everything with sadness. When I'm sailing or swimming I can't help but think that this the last time I will come this way. Earlier in the trip there was always the chance that we would come back and see a spot again if it was nice - perhaps if the wind was right we would pass back through Whitehaven beach or Chance bay. Now every spot we are seeing for the last time. This trip has gone on for a long time, and I have certainly drank my fill. But that doesn't meen that I won't also regret it ending.

This morning we left early for Mackerel bay. I've been wanting to see it for quite a while as it's apparently one of the best snorkeling spots. It's been very exposed to the prevailing winds and swell, which means it hasn't been suitable for an overnight anchorage, but we should be able to duck around to it for the day. We experienced some chop off Pinnacle point with waves reflecting off the rocks as we rounded the corner of Hook island. Otherwise it was an uneventful trip.

The snorkeling was incredible. We dropped anchor and were able to play out enough rope so that our stern was about 20m from the reef. At the start of the swim there were a whole series of huge bommies forming the fringe of the reef. Unfortunately they had been stripped of all their coral by Debbie - they must have been incredible. They were still stunning to see. The visibility was excellent and the sun right overhead, so it sent long shafts of light plunging into the depths. There were lots of fish and other sea life about. I managed to spot part of a huge rock lobster - his antenna must have been about 75cm long, so I can only imagine how large he was.

As we swam around to corner of the reef we entered a section closer to shore which was in pristine condition. There were fantastic soft and hard corals. Closer into shore we saw the highlight of the trip - a white top reef shark! As we have swam more the kids have gradually shifted position from being terrified of sharks, to kind of curious about them, to wanting to see one. They were really excited to spot the shark - it looked like it was dozing in a shallow nook formed by some rocks and coral. It must have been about 1.5 to 2m long. When they saw it the kids swam over, and the shark lazily moved ahead to a new spot. I had to actually keep the kids back as the new spot was a dead end and I didn't want the shark to feel trapped.

After our adventures snorkeling we had another uneventful sail back to Butterfly Bay. The weather has been so calm that I was almost thinking that I should say the night a Mackerel Bay, but it feels very exposed. Also I know that even a tiny bit of swell is enough to set the boat rocking and rolling. My DIY sway preventer with the boom and bucket did seem to make for a more comfortable night's sleep though. I will have to use that trick again.

When we arrived at Butterfly bay, I saw the fridge is on the blink AGAIN! It wash showing an 'Error 3' and the temperature was 16 degrees and steadily rising. The solar charge controller showed the pannel was charging the battery perfectly and the battery was almost full. I had no real ideas, so I tried turning everything on and off and unplugging it plugging it back in multiple times. After about the 3rd round I sat watching it for 15min and the temperature started dropping, so it seems fixed? My wife has a theory - the fridge secretly loves me and it jealous of my attention. If I don't do anything with it for a few days it will start playing up until I play with it again. It does seem to be the only theory that matches all the available evidence and observations ...

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PostPosted: Oct 24th, '17, 08:30 
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Well, I guess I better finish this!

Saturday 14th - We had a good night's sleep due to the roll stabiliser I jury rigged out of two buckets hanging off the boom. They didn't stop the boat rocking entirely, but the stop a big pendulum motion from building up.

After breakfast we sailed around the corner to Stonehaven anchorage and went for one last snorkel. Compared to Mackerel bay Stonehaven no longer looks so amazing. The visibility was poor and the conditions overcast. I did get to see a large giant clam, as well as two huge bailer snails. They must have been at least 30cm long, if you include it's huge snout.

My wife and daughter swam up to the beach while my son and I swam all the way back to the boat to fetch the tender and pick them up. Once I had everyone in the tender together I told them "Now we start our journey home. Everything from here is part of our trip back to Melbourne". My son actually started crying. It's been such an amazing trip, we are all sad to see it come to an end.

The sail back to Arlie beach started very slowly with light flukey winds around the mountains of Hook island. It wasn't until we were well into the Whitsunday passage that the wind filled in steadily from the south. Both kids had a good long time at the helm of Bumblebee. It was great to see them sail the boat - I have been trying to get them to steer for quite a while, but they have always said they were afraid because Bumblebee was so large. They both did a great job, despite some of the chop we were experiencing.

We arrived at the jetty of the Whitsunday sailing club after 5 hours travel. We decided to have a celebratory dinner for the end of our voyage. We went to Fish D'vine and had the seafood indulgence.

The jetty at the Whitsunday sailing club provided a miserable night's sleep. There was a wedding on at the yacht club, which of course had many long speaches, before the DJ started up. The party went on late into the night. Meanwhile there was a stream of yachitties in various states of ineberation who were arriving and departing on their tenders all through the night. Tomorrow we will be staying at an apartment I've booked via Air BnB, which we are all really looking forward to.

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PostPosted: Oct 25th, '17, 07:51 
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Sunday 15th - Today was a busy day of packing. It's incredible just how much work needs doing to get the boat ready for towing back to Melbourne. Apart from just hauling it out and de-rigging, I needed to pack away the bimini. Flush both outboards, then drain the fuel tanks and carburettors. Wash, dry and pack away the tender. Wash down not only the boat, but the car which was coated in dust from sitting in the yacht club car park for weeks. Finally I needed to pack the outboards inside the cabin and reorganise everything for travel.

It helped out that the weather was overcast, but it was still an enormous amount of work. At the end of the day we retried to our Air BnB rental. It was incredible to fall into a real bed, though I was so exhausted I was asleep almost right away.

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PostPosted: Oct 26th, '17, 18:17 
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Monday 16th - Today we finished up the last few bits of packing and had an otherwise thoroughly relaxing day. This is just what I needed to get ready for the huge trip back. I didn't realise just how tired I was starting to feel, until today when I have had a chance to stop and take stock. I guess all the sailing, swimming and packing up really were starting to catch up with me.

Today we did some shopping for gifts in Arlie beach. We also spent some time swimming in the lagoon - the kids have been complaining that they still haven't done enough swimming! Finally we headed back to the apartment we have hired to wash clothes, have an early dinner and zone out in front of the TV.

One notable thing did happen - it started raining. This is the first day of bad weather we have had in the entire trip! Thankfully it's happened just as we are leaving.

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PostPosted: Oct 26th, '17, 20:39 
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Hi Luke
The rain was the start of the bad things, but I am sure the good things will be remembered first. We have enjoyed your log, reminds us of cruising with our own children at a similar age. Do as much as you can while you can.

I would like to know more about your damper, you first mentioned a bucket of sand, then a bucket of water, was the bucket submerged ?

Look forward to your next adventure.
Peter

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PostPosted: Oct 27th, '17, 23:44 
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luke.sleeman wrote:
I would like to know more about your damper, you first mentioned a bucket of sand, then a bucket of water, was the bucket submerged ?


Here is a pic of our jury rigged sway preventer in action:

Image

The rope forward and the mainsheet keep the boom out to the side. On the end is a bucket with a bit of sand in the bottom. Its underwater. It just dampens the swaying motion. Every time the boat rolls, the bucket resists being dragged up through the water. The sand just makes sure that the bucket sinks through the water and doesn't float around on its side. For stronger stabilisation you can add more buckets! It didn't eliminate the swaying, but it did seem to stop it building up to annoying levels.

Its somewhat similar in principle to the"Rock 'n Roll" boat stabilizer which whitworths sell for $399. Apparently the rock 'n roll thing is amazing. On the downside its $399 and something extra you need to carry. The 'bucket on the boom' system is free and uses stuff already on the boat :D


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PostPosted: Oct 27th, '17, 23:45 
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Tuesday 17th - Today was the first day of driving and it proved to be an eventful one! The journey began well enough - we put plenty of miles between us an Arlie beach. Just after lunch we stopped in at Yeppoon to look at a boat. We have enjoyed the cruising, but the past few weeks have also made us dream of something a bit larger.

As we went further south though the rain intensified. We started to pass by flooded rivers, which got more and more specular. Soon they were almost bursting their banks and the fields were starting to look more and more waterlogged.

It all came to a head just after Mirriam Vale about 4:00. There were emergency vehicles blocking the road and the whole highway was underwater. Cars and trucks were being turned around. By a coincidence we had stayed at the Mirriam Vale Motel on the drive up and it was great. I gave them a call, but they were already full. Apparently the only place with any space was the Koorawatha Homestead Motel up the road. I quickly called them up and managed to get the last room.

When we arrived the downpour had intensified. The carpark at the motel was a about 15 cm underwater. At reception there was a long line of people trying to find accommodation and the receptionist was helping by phoning around all the local hotels and motels to try and find space. The first thing the receptionist said when we checked in was "If we lose power, we are also going to lose the water, so I suggest you get some water from the tap and put it in a jug when you get into your room"

I spent the night watching the weather radar and the QLD roads website, hoping that the rain would clear. If it doesn't my plan was to head back to Gladstone and wait for it all to clear out.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '17, 22:35 
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Thanks Luke. Even the multihulls were finding the slop uncomfortable at Magnetic Island.
Peter

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