Time to show the kids what life on a boat is about.
They are teenagers, so without internet, Xbox, or mobile phone service it was always going to be a struggle.
We flew into Mackay on Tiger, and grabbed a Europcar rental for the drive to Airlie. Very different landscape, and coming from drought-ravaged Victoria all the greenery was a welcome change.
Arrived into Airlie, provisioned up, and spent the first night in the marina. Damn hot!
Leaving the marina, the kids were useless. We could have used assistance, but the kids just hang back and don’t even look like wanting to help. Frustrating to say the least.
We headed to Shoalhaven for the first night, and jumped in for a bit of snorkelling and to cool off. Stinger suits had been recommended and purchased, but after a few uses we gave up on them and took the risk. Spent the night rocked by the waves and slept the sleep of the truly tired.
Heading off next morning, I neglected to zoom in the chartplotter, and we headed a wee bit too close to a marker. Looking over the side, I thought that the water was so clear that the bottom looked very close, and then CRUNCH! We grounded port hull. Oops.
We spent lunch in Butterfly Bay. Cassie and I went for a longish swim and had a Batfish encounter. A few Batfish started circling us, and underwater they might have looked bigger than they actually were but they looked pretty damn big! They followed us back to the boat and chased us up the ladder. After our swim we headed around to Hook Island Resort.
Picking up one of their moorings, we went ashore and visited the underwater observatory. Built in the late 1960’s, the technology of the time resulted in small windows and not a lot of view. Possibly the windows needed a clean. The fish viewing platform was good though, with thousands of fish turning up to battle for bread.
Back to the resort we stayed for a meal. The resort looked to be in wind-down mode, and the meal was nothing to write home about. Back to the boat after dark for sleep.
Next morning we found that a school of big Batfish had found us. We fed them some bread and they seemed to know that they were protected because they were quite daring.
Next overnights stop was Henning Island to ensure an early arrival into Hamilton Island the following day. We stopped for lunch and a swim in Cid Harbour and then picked up the mooring at Henning. Getting into Hamilton the next day, we spent some time swimming and explored the shops and chandlery.
All over Hammo they have signs saying not to feed the birds. Cassie obviously can’t read because she fed a cocky on the boat and then the next thing you know a whole bunch had swarmed by to get in on the act.
Leaving Hammo the next day, our destination was Whitehaven. Cassie did some work on the helm, and took us around the north side of Hamilton Island and took us in quite close to the Hamilton Island resort beach. Breaking away from the island, we beat into a bit of a headwind and made slow progress towards Whitehaven. Andrew had a dose of seasickness on the leg to Whitehaven… maybe next time he won’t sit in his cabin all the time.
Arriving at Whitehaven late in the day, we dropped the pick for the first time but thanks to the fantastic holding of the Whitehaven sand we didn’t move an inch all night.
We had to leave unexpectedly to grab some urgent supplies from Hamilton Island, but took the long way there around the south side of the island. I motored around outside the marina while Andrew took Colleen in on the tender. We spent the night at Henning Island again where I managed to catch a fish.
Next day we headed over to Daydream Island where we picked up a mooring. We all then went ashore and took full advantage of the facilities. Andrew and Cassie and I all played waterpolo with some of the tourists, and Colleen had a bit of a paddle. Colleen and Cassie did water aerobics too. Colleen and I went on the fish feeding tour, and then later on we all played a game of minigolf.
Daydream have a seafood banquet and Colleen and I booked in for that. Dropped the kids back to the boat and then after a quick shower at the visitors centre we went in for the meal. Quite acceptable, but not the best we have had.
Next day it was back to Airlie. Stayed overnight in the marina and drove the same rental back to Mackay for the flight home.