We have left The Whitsundays. We are officially heading south … home!
After dropping Tim at Hamilton Island for his flight home, we were eagerly waiting for that ‘N’ to appear in the wind forecast. Eventually it came. A week of northerly and easterly winds. Time to head south.
We provisioned in Airlie Beach (the butcher and the grog shop took big hits) and said our ‘temporary’ goodbye to Easy Tiger (heading south to meet us after their visitors depart).
So armed and ready, we departed.
The stretch of water between Mackay and Great Keppel Island/Yepoon has limited secure anchorages. It would normally take four or five days of sailing (obviously weather dependent), has no phone or internet coverage and many of the anchorages are quite exposed from many wind directions. Hence, the need for a 5-7 day forecast of favourable winds.
And then … “Don’t Get Shot At This Season” … ???? (See pic below).
The Defence Force operates in one of the more secure sections of this coast, Port Clinton. In its wisdom it closed off three anchorages along this coast between Oct 2 and Nov 29. Unfortunately they were anchorages that allowed boats to day-sail between hops. Closing them meant sailing overnight. Fortunately common sense prevailed. We believe some serious lobbying took place with some local MP’s and while the Defence Force’s activities have continued, the three anchorages have been opened for us weary southern sailors.
Today we arrived at Great Keppel Island (GKI). After long days of sailing … 49, 59 and 69 nautical mile days, it was lovely to arrive to beautiful white sand, clear turquoise water and a bay of other boats who are also sailing south. Aqualibrium (from Paynesville) is also travelling with us and Skellum (also from Paynesville) has just arrived. Not to mention the other familiar boats we have also seen along the journey.
We look forward to a few days enjoying the Keppel area. Walks, snorkelling, swimming and kayaking are all planned.