Diving Whitsundays

We only had a few days we could spare in the Whitsundays with our daughter before we needed to start heading north so we can get to Darwin in time for the Indonesia Rally we are joining in late July. We managed a good whirlwind tour of the islands and two nice scuba dives. She had a great time I think on the dives, and is proving to be very helpful with sailing. First we sailed up to the Pinnacles on the NE corner of Hook Island. This was an excellent traverse of the cove from the mooring towards the pinnacle rocks at a maximum depth of 15m. We saw a nice variety of coral and typical coral fish and some pretty nice colors. We identified a few new species I hadn’t seen before. Although sometimes manta are spotted here, we didn’t see any this time. There was silty visibility initially, but it cleared up with a tide change. Photos from both dives are in the album further down.

We started to head to Border Island that same day, but it was too late in the day so we stopped at Mackerel Bay. The next morning we had a nice sail to Border Island and grabbed the only right-sized mooring at Cataran Bay. Other boats arrived shortly after us and we got a tip on where to dive from a tourist boat driver. There are nice coral ledges on the southwest side. A shallow dive no deeper than 9m. But, with nice coral canyons and ledges to look under. Plenty of colorful coral and fish and I wasn’t board after 45 minutes, but Trisha was a bit cold despite the full 3 mil wet suits.

Photos mostly from the two dives:

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That afternoon, we had a very pleasant upwind sail to Whitehaven Beach. On the way, we were hailed by our friends on s/v Northfork on the VHF. Turns out they are at Shaw Island with a broken windlass. We also got a call from s/v Worral Wind with guests at Butterfly Bay. We did a quick walk at Whitehaven Beach in late afternoon to the lookout and on the beautiful white sand beach. We also visited friends on s/v Saroca who I had met in Bundaberg.

The next morning we motored in calm airs to Hamilton Island to return the scuba tanks I had rented, and got some fresh veggies. We then decided to go even further south 10 miles and visit s/v Northfork. It might be our last chance to see them unless they get up to Malaysia next year. We had a nice lunch and got to see their growing baby who we first saw in April.

We left right after lunch and mostly motored overnight (very light winds astern) towards Magnetic Island. Around 4 AM we had enough wind 10-12 knots to sail some downwind with wing-on-wing. A few hours later, I woke up the crew and we set up our new spinnaker for the first time. It was beautiful to see! But, we had to take it down 3 hours later because the wind angle was taking us off course. Unfortunately, after over a year since the last time we raised the spinnaker, we forgot an important step and managed to get our spinnaker sheet caught on a prop. Ugh! No worries, it only took 2 minutes to dive and get it unwrapped, but the line was cut.

We arrived about 4PM in Magnetic Island and will do some sightseeing before continuing north on another overnight run. Arriving at the same time as us was s/v Saroca.

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