This year we took my mum and dad, and my aunty Jan.
Fresh from our PADI Diving Course on Daydream Island, we picked up XTsea from Airlie and made our way to Hamilton Island where we moored in the marina overnight and I picked up Ali, Dave and Jan from the airport. If you think that the taxi drivers in Melbourne have it good, you should take a look at the system at Hammo. The island is only a couple of kilometers long, and it’s only a few hundred metres from the airport to the marina, and the buggers want to charge like wounded bulls. Alternatively, if you walk 100 metres up the hill you can catch a free ferry bus. We did that.
We settled our guests into their cabins, and we all went for a bit of a look-see around the island. We visited the new yacht club, and admired the timber of the furniture but balked at buying more than one round because the drinks were bit on the expensive side. Welcome to Hamilton Island!
Next morning we started off for Whitehaven. Wind was a bit light when we left, but picked up quickly and – of course – was pretty well on the nose. We swung in close to the resort beaches on the way out, and then started to tack towards Whitehaven. We eventually turned the corner mid-afternoon and saw the glory that is Whitehaven beach.
We anchored close to the beach, and went for a swim/snorkel. The sand was incredible, and there were lots of silver fish around who I tried to catch without luck. There were the usual tourist boats and backpackers, but they headed off later in the day to leave the beach to the yachties. Dad and I jumped in the tender and motored off to an area where we could throw some lines in, and the fishing was fantastic! Needed to find some bigger ones, but it was a good session.
Spent an idyllic night at Whitehaven. The following day we found out that there would be a swim event on which promised some entertainment. Swarms of people and equipment arrived and we decided to hang around and see the fun. We positioned XTsea close to the race route right next to the beach, but some stink boat muscled in front of us. A bit more fishing and the day was done.
The following morning we headed off towards Hook Island. It was a glorious day and as I passed Hill Inlet, I saw a boat inside the Inlet and decided to see how far I could get XTsea in. We must have looked impressive because I could see all the walkers on the lookout taking photos of us. Glad we could help…
We then made our way to Hook Island Resort for lunch. We grabbed some old bread and headed to the Underwater Observatory, and had some entertainment feeding the fish. Ali stuck some bread between her toes and tempted fate by putting her foot in the water! Not to be outdone, I put some bread in my mouth and intended to put my face in the water, but woosed it at the last moment.
Headed around to Nara for the evening, arriving reasonably late in the day. We anchored over on the western side in what looked like a good depth and with all our chain out and bedded in for the night after dinner. Jan was woken later that night by a knock on her window, as one of our neighbors had observed our anchor light was moving and had popped over to let us know we were dragging towards the SSE. Lots of damn mud on the achor when I pulled it up for a look.
Next morning we visited the Aboriginal cave paintings as it was a VERY special occasion… some sort of sandfly national holiday or something because the buggers were EVERYWHERE! Some clever soul had left a thong behind where the tenders tie up, and we decided it must have been an official fly whacker. We sprinted up the steps to the cave, took a very quick look around, and sprinted back to the boat, leaving the thong for the next visitors.
We made our way around the bottom of Hook and moored off Bird Island. Everyone except Jan went in for a snorkle and wished we had some scuba gear as the conditions and coral were excellent. Mid afternoon the wind and swell picked up, and with the wind behind us we made some good pace towards South Molle where we anchoredthat evening off the resort that Mum and Dad had honeymooned at many years ago. Next morning we battled headwinds all day and eventually made our way to Henning for our overnight stop.
Next morning we berthed at Hamilton Island and caught up with Simon and Barb and their kids. We popped up to their resort using Simon’s golf cart. Had a swim in their resort pool, and then back to the Marina Tavern for dinner. Simon introduced me to Bundy Stormy. Rum and Ginger Beer. Quite nice.
Next day XTsea was picked up by WPYC staff, and we all caught the same plane home as a group.