How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Gloucester Passage SICYC Rendezvous (Shagger's Do) August 2012 - part1

Gloucester Passage SICYC Rendezvous (Shagger's Do) August 2012 - part1
Cruising Shagger Boats all at the SICYC Rendezvous
Once again I am doing this posting in photos with very little scribing. All my time has been taken up with either taking photos or editing photos and no time to write. But you what they say - "Every picture tells a story"- so I am expressing my story in pictures.
Shag Island in the late afternoon
Sunday 19th  MrJ and I arrived in Gloucester Passage to drop anchor off the Montes Reef Resort and not too far away from Shag Island.
Our first Sunset in Gloucester Passage
You can't really see the little Croc on WOW's dinghy bow
Monday 20th It rained all day but cleared up in the late afternoon. Raewyn and Martin off WOW came over for sundowners and ended up staying for dinner.

Tuesday 21stWe took a stroll along the beach where we met other Shaggers.

We took lots of photos

and then watched a blood red sunset across the sea.
Wednesday 22nd  bought a colourful sunrise
and lots of hard work setting things up.......
while others went off and enjoyed the warm sunshine
but at the end of the day there is always Sundowners with friends.
Thursday 23rd brings another new day............
with a ladies tennis morning
just look at that ball-girl go....!!!
In the evening we had the Shaggers Meet & Greet welcome Sundowners and first party night.



and then we shared a sunset
Friday, Saturday and Sunday will have to be another posting - there are just so many great photos!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sail Across to Gloucester Passage in Photos

Sunday 19th August 2112
Sail Across to Gloucester Passage in Photos
Cold, windy and a beam on sea
20'03.713S 148'26.724E - Gloucester Passage
Just a couple of pics from our sail across to Gloucester Passage on Sunday. MrJ has done a little movie of our sail which I'm sure he would have put on his blog.
Doing 7 to 8.5knts all the way with the tide going with us and we even reefed the sails.
What a hoot of a ride!
the weather turns sour
the seas kick up
but the rain holds off
a beam on sea
and AR is hooting along
into the passage
a safe anchorage awaits
AR now lies at anchor in the Gloucester Passage, just off Montes Resort, with several other boats and many more to come for the SICYC Rendezvous (Shagger's Do) next weekend.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Whales, Reef, Sunrises and Sunsets - Anchored in Line Reef

Sunday 19th August 2012
Anchored in Line Reef
19’43.586S 149’10.693E
Cool nights, warm sunny days
Morning anchored in Line Reef
MrJ and I have been anchored in Line Reef with the closest other boat being some 6n/m away at Bait Reef. We were all alone!
Morning anchored off Black Island
Looking at Stonehaven from Black Island
Friday 17th – We had another lazy morning and not due to any hangover or illness only because we can. It maybe a Friday to most people but to us every day is a Sunday! MrJ and I were out of bed at the usual hour, just before sun-up, sat around with a cup of tea to watch the sunrise, played on the computers for a sometime while we had a leisurely breakfast and another cup of tea. Or was that two or three more cups of tea?

Whale off Hayman Island

Wahles in the shipping channel

Mother and calf

It was then that we decided to sail out to the reef; the weather was kind and the seas were calm so off we went. Just as we were motoring out the Southern Passage between Hook and Hayman Islands a whale was coming in. We slowed but the whale went down. MrJ and I put up the main and genoa once we had come out of the passage and had passed a couple of other cats, one being friends in San Souci, and then up popped a couple of more whales. It was a mother and calf this time, right in close to the top end of Hayman Island and heading straight for San Souci. They saw the whales and stopped to watch and let them pass. What a treat!

A whale and a tail
MrJ and I kept going, heading for the reefs, Bait, Barb, Hook, Hardy’s and Line Reefs. We were heading for the anchorage at Line Reef which is 30n/m out from the top of Hook Island. Most boats head for Bait Reef for pristine diving on excellent drop-offs and they can take one of the few mooring buoys. As MrJ and I do not dive we leave this special place for others that do and go to where the bottom is shallow enough for us to anchor without damaging the reef. The big tourist’s boats, the Wave Breaker and such, head for inside Hardy’s Reef where there are commercial dive platforms, a helipad and overnight accommodation. All geared up for the paying tourists!
Whale at Bait reef
Fantasy World in Hardy's Reef
There isn’t much wind so we are motor sailing out to the reef and on our way out MrJ and I see more whales, mothers and calves, playing and splashing in the shipping channel. There are five boats moored up on Bait reef and another one waiting just out to sea. As we bring AR around the southern side of Bait Reef and in the passage between Bait and Barb Reef we encounter more whales playing and splashing along the fringe of Bait Reef. MrJ stops the boat while we watch the antics. We dare not go in closer for a better look for fear of scaring the whales or more so of hitting the reef. What a fabulous display the mother and calf put on!
A wahle in the channel between Line and Hardy's Reef
It was one hour after mid-day when MrJ brought AR through the coral scattered waters off Line Reef with me standing up on the saloon roof being forward spotted for bombies.  The “good book” and the chart plotters show the depths in metres, anything from 2 – 5mts at datum, the paper chart is in fathoms showing anything from 2 – 5fathoms at datum. We were slowly moving in waters of 12 – 9.5mtrs and anchored in about 9mts of water two hours before low tide. Now if my calculations are right: 9mtrs divided by 1.9 = 4.73fathoms, so maybe the guide book and the chart plotters are WRONG. It would not be the first time!
Looking across Line Reef at water level
It does take a couple of goes to set our wonderful Rocna anchor, no fault of the anchor, just us trying to find the sand patches and not the coral rubble. I am not happy unless the anchor is holding fast in goo firm ground. The first thing MrJ and I did once we were settled into our anchorage was to drop the dinghy to take a look over the reef as the tide was receding exposing parts here and there.
bits of the reef
little fish swim by
The water was not as still as we would have liked due to tide and a slight breeze so we had to contend with a faster drift over the coral then first intended, but I did get to see some of the beautiful sights of small fishes and coloured coral.

Back on board AR MrJ and I relaxed in the quiet of the late afternoon, watching a whale in the passage into Hardy’s Reef. Before that the Wave Breaker left the reef platform, so did a couple of helicopters and then it was quiet again.

Just me and MrJ, the whales and the sunset over an empty sea!

Sunrise on the reef

Saturday 18th – The night at Lines Reef was pleasant enough to sleep with a blanket on and no doona and to wake, feeling refreshed, before dawn to a brilliant sunrise with only us and the birds to see and enjoy. As the golden glow of the sun rose over an empty sea, the warm rays began to heat up the morning.

Me and my sunrise
Whales in the reef channel

With the coming of the morning came a couple of fishing boats heading for the outer reef and once more the whales, playing and splashing in the morning light.

fishing boat in the reef channel
It was one of those nothing kinda days where you just seem to while the hours away with doing nothing. No not really; I think I spent most of my morning, after a late breakfast, playing with photo editing and writing notes. Amazing how much time this takes up and before you know it half the day is gone. So what do you do next? Well take a nana nap on the bow deck of course!
Afternoon on the reef
While lazing up on the bow deck I could see out over the brilliant still water for what seemed like miles and miles; just miles and miles of nothing, nothing but still calm sea, bold blue sky, the occasional bird but not a whale in sight. Maybe they have started their trek south, back to the cold lands of the Antarctica.
The afternoon sun hangs low in the sky
In the late afternoon MrJ and I lazed around in the cockpit reading our books while watching the day come to a close across a still sea and a golden sunset with streak smoke haze across patchy sky.

Another day ends on the reef
Sunday 19th August 2012
ingMy day starts with the sun rising over the reef
I woke up to a cloudy sunrise and whales in the distance. Maybe it was the ones from Saturday or maybe it was new whales travelling south through the reef.

MrJ rolled the covers, prepared AR for our sail across to Gloucester Island some 50n/m to the SW and then had a cooked breakfast before we set off.
A large rock with live coral caught on the anchor

As I pulled up the anchor there was a large rock with live coral attached, caught on the  good old Rocna anchor. I had to get MrJ to dislodge it before we could set off. Maybe there should be acouple of mooring buoys at Line Reef too.

MrJ motored slowly back out of Line Reef across the coral and sand patches. He followed the path that we came in on just to be sure of no bombies or shallow surprises. Once clear of the reef we set the sail and were on our way; on our way to Gloucester Passage, the last of our anchorages in the Whitsunday Islands.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Airlie Beach Race Week – Our Comings and Goings

Friday 17th August 2012
Airlie Beach Race Week – Our Comings and Goings
The days are warming up and I have taken the doona off the bed at night. Yah!
20’05.015S 148’53.405E – Black Island
Black Island with Stonehaven in the background

This morning finds MrJ and I anchored off Black Island; the seas are calm and the breeze is gentle. This week has been very busy with our comings and goings. It has been also busy on the water around Pioneer Bay with the annual Airlie Beach Race week being held. Every time we sail in or out of Airlie we would get to see the racing activities.
chasing eagles

Saturday 11th Aug – Found us still hanging out in Mays Bay doing mundane chores like clothes washing, cleaning floor. MrJ had one of the big hatches out on the cockpit table for repairs to the seal. In the afternoon we sat on deck watching the turtles and dugongs and trying to get some pics of a Sea Eagle and an Osprey in flight.

There were two other private boat in the anchorage and then late in the afternoon a charter boat, a Seawind 1000, comes roaring in to drop its anchor in front of AR. MrJ was a bit concerned that they had settled too close in on the fringing reef; he called to warm them but the skipper of the charter boat seemed to be okay with it and stayed all the same.

Sunday 12th – It was an early sail across to Able Point, dropped the anchor of the northern wall of the marina, jumped in the dinghy and went to the A finger in the marina, walked up to the bus stop and caught the bus into the Centro Shops. All because we need to pay some money off our phone bill before Telstra gave us extra charges! MrJ and I had brunch at the cafe before returning to Able Point on the bus. I stayed ashore while MrJ returned to AR to get the trolley and then we walked into Airlie Beach to get some beer and wine, getting back to the boat in time to watch some of the race boats coming in.

boats racing

Gary & Mercedes

During the afternoon Gary and Mercedes came over for a chat and afternoon tea. They too enjoyed watching all the race boat coming in.

Monday 13th – Today was Kerrin (MrJ’s big stepdaughter) and my sister Marion’s b/day, cheers to them both.

in the marina harbour at dawn
It was another very early start for MrJ and me, getting AR into the public dock at 0630hs to water up and wash down the decks. I walked around to the local shop to buy bacon and egg rolls for our breakfast before leaving the dock. You are only supposed to be on the public dock for 20mins but if no other boats comes along it is ok to stay a little longer.
cruise ship in the bay
MrJ and I sail out of Airlie for Mays Bay once again, before the crowds of race boat get moving. On the way out we pass a large passenger liner anchored way out in the bay. Sailing across the Whitsunday Passage we see whales, a mother and its calf playing and splashing in the sea. Such a beautiful sight to see!

mother & calf

Back in Mays Bay one of the little yachts is still there, he is a lone sailor and has been in Mays Bay for two week getting supplies brought over by another yacht. MrJ and I are back to doing our chores; washing the sheet and fixing hatches.

taken from Mays Bay
Tuesday 14th – MrJ is still at it, fixing the big hatch. The job is much bigger than I had first thought, getting the sealant to seal and set properly is very pains taking at times. I had decided to defrost the main fridge/freezer as our next trip across to town would be our last time suppling up in Airlie Beach before we start to head north again. There are more whales in the Passage, I could see them just the other side of the Lion Point but too far for my camera.
waiting for the bus

Wed 15th – Another 0630hs start to the day finds MrJ and me sailing back to Able Point where we walk up to the Whitsunday Shopping Centre for our food supplies. We catch a taxi back to the public dock where all the bags are loaded into the dinghy to be taken out to AR. I stay on board and have the joyous time of unpacking the groceries. Anything packaged in boxing has to be removed and/or put into contains so that we keep the cockroaches away. Cockroaches absolutely love cardboard packaging to lay their eggs in around the glued joins.
MrJ does the washing

MrJ does a fuel run with jerry cans in the dinghy and then we did some more washing. Our little plastic twin-tub washing machine will only take small loads so we find ourselves doing the washing a lot.

MrJ and I were invited over to George & Maree’s boat, Warp Drive, for a BYO sundowners and BBQ. George and Maree have decided to get married after being together for many years; they are having their ceremony on the beach at Montes resort at the Shagger’s weekend and have asked me to do some photo shots for them.

early morning at the public dock
Thurs 16th – Today MrJ and I were a bit lazy today and didn’t get into the public dock for watering up till mid morning. This might have had something to do with the terrible hangover that I was sporting after the great party the night before.
Stonehaven anchorage - Hook Island
We headed for the northern part of the Whitsunday Island taking a mooring in the Stonehaven Bay for a light lunch and a well needed afternoon nanna nap before moving across to a mooring off Black Island for the night. We see a whale in the channel heading south.
young Sea Eagle stretching its wings

On Black Island there is a Sea Eagles nest with young birds and a mother in the nest. I sit in the lighting of the setting sun watch the eagles at their games and feeding till the sun’s warmth disappears and I am forced to come into the protection of our covered in cockpit. I wait for the sun to set then retire inside for the night to eat sleep and wait for another fun filled day.

Days end at Black Island - looking back to Langford Island