There are few places that we visit more than once, so it should come as a shock to most that we spent Christmas in 2015 in the Whitsundays. Yes, that makes the THIRD visit in two years. We absolutely love it there, it is an easy trip from Melbourne, and the boat we chartered in August was available. Win-win.
- Temperature: high of 28C/84F (and humid), lows at night around 24C/75F (fine for sleeping if the hatches were open & there was a breeze)
- Water temp: 27C/81F. Perfect – except it was stinger season so you needed to suit up for anything more than a quick dip
- Wind: 10-15, mostly east south east. Then 30-35 (which was the signal for us to depart).
- Marine life: dolphins, and too many turtles to count
- Successful mooring grab ratio: 2 out of 3 (and the miss was a bad one – missed it TWICE)
- Successful anchor drop ratio: 3 out of of 3
- Mysterious bruises: 2
- Food/Alcohol Spend Ratio: .96
We had literally no plan. Hell, we weren’t even packed at 9pm the night before our flight. The only thing that we kind of planned was food. We never use the provisioning arranged by the charter company – it is usually overpriced, has way too much food, and oh yeah, I’m a picky eater. On our previous charters, Caribbean included, we have just found the local grocery store. In Airlie Beach this is extra easy, because it is the same store we shop at in Melbourne. This time though, we tried something different. A few days before we left, we shopped online and used “click and collect” for the store in Airlie Beach. We forgot a few things on the initial order, but were able to make changes right up until the night before pickup. This saved us HEAPS of time when we arrived, which is good because we needed that time to find a US to AUS adapter (we still buy a lot of our stuff overseas which means chargers are US – but Dick Smith in Cannonvale had one so we were all set).
Once on the water, the wind took us to Stonehaven, so we spent a few days at the top end of Hook Island. Stonehaven is never crowded, is calm in easterly winds, and (assuming the weather gods are with you) is a great place to watch the sunset.
Across from Stonehaven is a trio of islands (Bali Hai, Bird, and Langford) connected by a fringing reef and sandbar. The water is impossibly turquoise, the sand is impossibly white, and the water is filled with turtles early in the morning.
We also spent some time at Whitehaven, which was lovely as usual. One morning we woke to ZERO wind so we decided to take the new drone for its maiden flight. It turned out that there was indeed wind (as seen in the video), and I made all the mistakes of a drone newbie. I flew it backwards, had the camera facing the wrong way, and learned that the “return to home” is not EXACTLY where it took off from. (We brought a piece of wood from the boat to use as a takeoff and landing platform). But it went over the water and safely came back, so we’re happy with the first, albeit sad, flight. Here’s proof that we took it out over the water on its first flight.
We also visited a few new anchorages on this trip, and Cid Harbour will now be on our standard itinerary. There is a nice little walk from Sawmill Beach to Dugong Beach, and if you anchor in the north part of the bay there is a decent mobile signal. There’s also a four hour hike to the summit, which we will tackle on our next visit.
And yes, there will be a next visit.