Sunday, 5 October 2014

19 - 21 September 2014 - Whitsunday Cruise

The day of the cruise arrived and we spent the morning packing and preparing for our adventure. At 2 PM we departed for the harbour where we had snacks and met our fellow passengers before heading off on board the "Whitsunday Getaway" which is a 43 foot sailing catamaran whith 4 ensuite cabins, so only 8 passengers and 2 crew are catered for. We left the harbour at 3 PM and slowly motored out until we passed the harbour limits and then set sail for Whitsunday Island. We were introduced to our cabins where we dropped off our gear and headed on deck to enjoy the sail across the Whitsundays Passage through which Captain Cook sailed in 1770.

We arrived at our overnight anchor point off Whitsunday Island in the Hook Passage where we were protected from the prevailing winds. We had drinks and snacks followed by a scrumptious meal. We got to know everyone a bit better before retiring to bed. Our cabin was big enough for a queen bed, a small cupboard and a miniscule bathroom with a toilet and shower hardly big enough to turn around in. Well it was comfortable enough and we had a large porthole in the ceiling through which we could see the stars and get a cool breeze.

In the morning we were up before dawn and all the others to see the sunrise with a metallic blue sea in the pre-dawn light. Turtles were surfacing all round us and some dolphins cruised by. We had breakfast and then set sail for the Hill Inlet just over a low hill from Whitehaven Beach. We climbed the hill to the lookouts for some stunning views of Whitehaven Beach and the Inlet. After the photo-shoot we headed down to the beach for a swim in the crystal clear water.

Back on board we had lunch while we sailed for Luncheon Bay on Hook Island where we had a snorkel on the fringing reef. The visibility was not great but we had a good time with some new fish. After the snorkel we headed for our second night's anchorage on the west side of Hook Island at a place called Baird Point.

In the morning we had a short sail to Langford Reef on the Langford Island sand spit. We saw numerous turtles but again the visibility was not great but the corals gardens were stunning. After the snorkel we sailed back to Airlie Beach while Keith developed some photos for other guests so they could see some of the fish we snorkelled with.

Back in Airlie Beach we bid our fairwells to our Irish, Spanish and German fellow passengers and headed back to the caravan park with our fellow Aussie caravaners to recuperate from our hectic but most enjoyable cruise.

Sailing to Whitsunday Island
Sunset in the Hook Passage
Pre-dawn light on the second day
Turtle surfacing for air
Whitehaven Beach from the Hill Inlet Lookout 
Whitehaven Beach and Inlet
Parrot fish being cleaned by Cleaner Wrasse
Goldbarred Butterflyfish
Sunset from Baird Point
Langford Island sand spit
Soft Corals
Captain Phil at the helm

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