Last season we only managed to get as far north as the Whitsundays due to our late start with Covid restricting our annual migration to Queensland in 2020. This season we have made it to Magnetic Island and we are about to venture even further north via some outer reef stopovers.
I am so looking forward to getting back in to the water with my cameras.
My last post finished with our arrival at the Whitsundays. Normally I’d now be writing about Whitehaven Beach, Butterfly Bay, Blue Pearl Bay, snorkeling, walks and sunsets. Unfortunately, our short time in the Whitsundays was mainly spent sheltering from strong SE trade winds. But we did meet up with several sailing friends and two Melbourne boats, both friends from home. AND we did eventually collect our repaired screecher after its rather tortuous Aus Post journey to Airlie Beach.
Sorry, no whales, no racing and no speccy sunsets in this post. Just a catchup on where we are.
Our first anchorage in the Whitsundays was at Happy Bay on Long Island. Not a popular destination, but one that was protected from the relentless SE winds and one where you could get off the boat and enjoy a few walks including a walk over the hill to a low-key resort for a coffee (a Neville walk … a coffee incentive … well … so he thought!). The Palm Bay Resort is small but lovely. We did enjoy a great lunch there but the coffees were barely warm and even a cup of tea didn’t make the cut! Hmmm. Maybe the barista was on leave (most guests had cancelled) but that doesn’t explain why the kettle hadn’t been boiled. We did catch up with Sally and Forfar on Sarisha (New Cal’ rally friends) and Marg & Ross on Adagio, and Terry & Barb on Whiskers. We also enjoyed some sundowners on the beach with the twenty odd boats that were anchored with us.
We then spent a few days in Airlie Beach while Airlie Beach Race Week was on. While it was busy on the water, it was obvious this tourist mecca was suffering with a lack of travellers. We finally collected our long awaited screecher. Australia Post had added an incorrect postcode on their scanning sticker, hence our parcel was long awaited. There were a few nervous moments, but our three packages finally arrived on a Friday so we could depart the following day. There was no calm weather in sight so we decided to head north to Magnetic Island via Gloucester Passage which is always a favourite stopover, and as usual, we had the best meal there at the Cape Gloucester Resort. We also caught up with Marty & Brenda on Waterfront.
The highlight of the passage to Maggie was definitely the fishing. We caught a Spotted Mackerel on the way, our first for the season AND I hooked a Black Marlin! It even jumped out of the water twice. We had the rod out for hours on this particular day with no result. I’d had a snooze (it was a long 10-hour day with little to no wind) and after waking, I wandered outside when the rod went “off”. I mucked around putting my shoes on, grappled with my harness and finally grabbed the rod when we saw the fish jumping out of the water. We did wonder if it was a Marlin so I really didn’t have any confidence it would stay on the lure as they are strong and fast swimmers. But, it did. We got it to the boat … and it was definitely a Marlin! What a beautiful fish. Neville grabbed the line trying to stop the fish from going under the rudder. I managed a very quick and ordinary photo. Then we looked … thought … and yelled “how do we get this fish off??”. That big spear-like snout looked so very scary. Fortunately, as I was ‘phoning a friend’, it released itself, leaving my lure and line in tact. Wow! That was truly amazing.
So, how do I know it was a Black Marlin? I actually contacted two friends. Waterfront was along side us so I phoned and sent a pic to Waterfront’s fishing guru Marty. I also sent a pic to our friend from Chances who’s stuck home in NSW. Gary’s a game fisherman and he certainly knows his Marlins. “It’s a juvenile black marlin, they are abundant from Cape Bowling Green to the lighthouse (at Cape Cleveland). Well done Amanda. You have joined an exclusive club. Aren’t they fun?” And yes, I caught it exactly where Gary said!
So here we are at Magnetic Island with several friends. We always enjoy Horseshoe Bay with a few meals out, drinks on the beach and its calm water anchorage. Unfortunately, Adagio have had to go in to Townsville for some urgent repairs so we will catch up with them further north hopefully.
Next stop, the outer reef … Loadstone, John Brewer and hopefully a few more with weather permitting.