We are in the Whitsundays! After a 6 day crossing which was not so bad we are now enjoying the Whitsunday Islands. We really only had one 24 hour period where the seas were scary and the remaining days were big seas but made better by clear, sunny days and warm weather. We averaged 8.5 knots hitting a top speed of 17 knots with just the jib up! I am learning each time and had 6 evening meals all pre cooked so I only had to heat them up each night. Just as well as even in the catamaran I was thrown around the galley! We only used the jib for the full 6 days as we did not want to be overpowered in high winds. So it all went well.
We cleared customs in Mackay and it was an extremely rigorous procedure. Apparently they had recently apprehended a yacht with a large stash of cocaine so they were being extra vigilant! They swabbed every cupboard and bilge with the same swabs they use at the airport and ran them through an electronic drug sniffer! Quarantine was equally as tough, combing through every nook and cranny for termites and prohibited food. Having cleared customs 11 times now, I can honestly say it was an extreme experience! But we were not hiding anything (well hardly anything) so it went smoothly enough.
Steve and Jim, who came on the crossing with us stayed for 5 days and Steph and Sam joined us on the 15th. Steph’s bump is 24 weeks along and they are both doing well and looking gorgeous:) It is great to see Sam especially as we were not sure he would be able to come.
The weather has been a little disappointing limiting where we have been able to go but we have certainly made the most of it. Hamilton Island is ridiculously expensive and we cannot go in there to pick up or drop off guests without paying $18 an hour to tie the dinghy up! We are not allowed to stay in the marina as our public liability insurance is only for NZ$5,000,000 and they won’t accept less than AU$10,000,000! Never mind we have been able to anchor off and come in the dinghy when we have been going to the airport.
We have been to Airlie Beach which I really like. It is very pretty with lovely boardwalks to the town one way and the shopping mall the other. Each about 2kms but a pretty coastal walk both ways. We are able to get provisions there.
The wind is meant to be dying down over the next 2 days so we will finally be able to see the famous Whitehaven Beach and head out to the Barrier Reef. Steph has done her research and is hoping to catch a giant trevally and some coral trout! For me, I am looking forward to the snorkelling and to walk along one of the beaches rated in the top 10 in the world!
Steph and Sam leave us on 28th and Mal and Jill friends of Rons join us on the 26th until 4th November. After that Ron and I will be making our way down the East Coast of Australia by ourselves! Pretty much our only time alone together apart from a week in Noumea and a couple of days in Fiji! We need to be in the Gold Coast by 1 December as his boys arrive for the Tasman crossing come fishing trip on that date and I will be coming home!
Hard to believe what we have achieved so far…. A dream come true and one I still can’t believe I am living and won’t probably believe until I get back home and look at the photos! And it is not over yet!