With the wish to be in phone contact with home and our friends on ET, we decided we would only venture a short distance to Whitehaven Beach. We have two ‘must do’s’ when we visit the Whitsundays … Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. Our friends on Chances and Vivacious were at Whitehaven and had been keeping in phone contact with us via a walk up to the new Whitehaven Lookout.
While the weather has only been in the low 20’s for some weeks now, the sun is usually shining and we have got very used to blue skies. Whitehaven never disappoints. Bocce at sunset on the beach, kayaks and swims. We also walked up to the two lookouts – Solway Passage and Whitehaven Beach – with our phone of course. National Parks are adding and upgrading walks on many of the islands we’ve noticed. Maybe to encourage the tourists back? (Along with the installation of underwater sculptures at various island reef locations, which we are yet to see.) It is certainly much quieter this year. Cyclone Debbie’s damage to the Whitsunday island’s reefs in 2018 (along with the Cid Harbour issue last year) seemed to have had an impact on the charter boat numbers.
And of course then there’s the view from the Hill Inlet Lookout. National Parks have extended the two lookouts to three and they are upgrading the track with more user-friendly steps and pathways. We took in the view from above at high tide and from below in our dinghy at low tide. Quite a contrast. We’re not sure that any yacht could access the inlet at the moment as the sandbanks are quite pronounced.
But the highlight of our Whitehaven visit this time was an unexpected snorkeling adventure. Vivacious had ventured out across Solway Passage in their tender, to investigate a bay that we all sail and motor past, but never explore … Pig Bay. Not exactly a tropical kind of name! Nor inviting one. It gets its name from the wild pigs that used to inhabit the island. The next day with the sun shining and low tide in the middle of the day, we set out in our dinghies across Solway Passage. There were strong currents and eddies but all quite safe.
Map and location of Pig Bay
We all felt the snorkeling in Pig Bay was the best we’d seen in the Whitsundays since Debbie. There was lots of healthy soft coral, colour, a spread of hard corals, white sand, shallows as well as a long deep edge and an array of small and bigger fish, even turtles. Quite a surprise. I tried out my new wide-angle wet lens concentrating not so much on the fish, but composition. Coral doesn’t move!
I also saw a green turtle which seemed to be having a snooze amongst some soft coral. Fortunately, it turned out to be a deep sleep, as I managed to dive down several times without disturbing it. Eventually it caught on I was being a bit too nosey and scooted off.
Pig Bay was a find, we’ll be back!