Are we mariners yet? I doubt it but we have started the process.
Colleen and I, (along with Geoff of WPYC) have succeeded in delivering XTsea from Mackay Marina to Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach.
Arriving into Mackay on Tiger Airlines, we were greeted by my Aunty Jan and cousin Simon who were in Mackay for an impending birth. They took us to Mackay Marina where Colleen saw XTsea in the flesh for the first time. It was all that she had hoped for and more! Her delight was plain to see as she scurried around opening cupboards. I could see the wheels turning in her head as she worked out what might go where.
XTsea was missing a few essential items and we needed to provision for the trip. We did a quick stocktake, and took Jan and Simon back to Simon’s in-laws, and then went shopping using Jan’s borrowed car. Dropping the foodstuffs back at the boat, we went back to Jan and Simon and then picked up some linen and odds and ends from Barb’s parents who were having a garage sale.
Geoff joined us later in the day as the plan was to head out damn early the following day to take advantage of tide and wind conditions, and we hit the sack.
Leaving before dawn, we motored out of Mackay Marina with only the odd fishing boat showing any activity. Not a lot of breeze at that point so the Yanmars were called upon to do their stuff. We pressed the appropriate buttons, and the autopilot soon had us heading north.
The plan was to get to the Whitsundays and drop Geoff off to catch a ferry back to Airlie and give Colleen and I a few days to perform seatrials to shakedown any issues we might find. Mackay to Daydream Island is about 80 nautical miles and the last ferry left well before dark so there wasn’t a lot of time to dawdle. Breeze was light, and we found motor-sailing gave us the best speed over ground so with sails up and Yanmars humming along we pushed on.
DISASTER!!! Maybe it was the sea conditions, or maybe it was the diesels, but Colleen and I started to get a bit queasy. Heading down below for any time felt bad. I could manage OK, but it became too much for Colleen and she was soon feeding the fish. You can guess what I was thinking… We have just made a HUGE committment and the love of my life is crook as a dog the first time we head out!
Colleen eventually has nothing left to bring up, and we try to make her comfortable up forward on some cushions in the sun. Keeping her fluids up, I convince her to try some ginger beer which seems to help. By mid-afternoon she has recovered for the most part.
Geoff and I hop about the boat exploring. We whacked up the screecher, but without a lot of wind and with the diesels doing most of the work it is of no use so we pack it away again. I explore the Raymarine system, firing up the rader and playing with everything. We arrive at the north end of Daydream Island around 3:30pm and pick up the public mooring for the night. I ferry Geoff and his gear across to the island in the tender, and have to use the oars as the motor wasn’t working. Colleen was having a good laugh at my lack of ability. As we waved Geoff off with heartfelt thanks we settled in for the night wondering what the poor plebs on Daydream Island were up to.
Next morning Colleen and I up-sail and head east through Unsafe Passage between North and South Molle Islands. Heading up Cid Harbour, we anchored for lunch and a swim. This is the first time Colleen discovered one big benefit of catamarans… they are great to swim under if you need protection from the sun! After a nice lunch we upped anchor and headed off, and then checked our copy of 100 Magic Miles and found we had just been swimming in a Hammerhead shark breeding area.
After dropping XTsea back into Airlie, we had a bit of a rush to get to Proserpine for our flight home, but Geoff was on hand to once again save the day and he ferried us to the airport in the nick of time.