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The Whitsundays

 

Airlie Beach

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Whitsunday Sunset.jpg (6902 bytes)

Sunset from Hamilton Island.  The small island in the center is Plum Pudding Island.   Photo by Peter Lik

The Whitsunday Islands are considered by some to be the best sailing location in the Southern Hemisphere.  While this statement will be hotly contested, they do have the largest charter boat fleet below the equator.   What makes this region so attractive is a combination of the Barrier Reef, 35 Continental Islands and steady SE trade winds.  The combination makes for completely flat water even when the trades are acting up, plenty of easy anchorage's and lots of diving and snorkeling spots.

KooriandA.jpg (7498 bytes)

Koorianda is an Australian built Columbia 33.  One of the traits of the 33's built locally is the mold was distorted early in the production run and all of the boats have a crooked keel which causes them to heel to starboard about 3.

This is the place where I first learned to sail many, many years ago.  In fact Koorianda, the boat that I chartered that time was still there in the charter fleet.  This brought back lots of memories of what now seem like simpler times (they weren't really).  I never did manage to track down my old instructor who used to own the boat and was a partner in the charter company.  It turned out that they had sold the company the previous year and the boat with it.   Well, I guess the world keeps moving and changing.

After checking into the marina, Andrew, Sarah and I took Dragon's Toy back out for a 3 day sail around Whitsunday and Hook Island.  We dove with the turtles in Turtle Bay and walked (Sarah ran) Whitehaven Beach.  This was the first time since Lizard Island where I felt that I could relax and enjoy the environment.  But it was getting on near Christmas and everybody had places to go.  We dropped the boat at Able Point Marina and took off in our separate directions.

Whitehaven Beach.jpg (6854 bytes)

Whitehaven beach is 3 miles of very fine and very very white sand.   This is one of the nicest beaches in the world, just stay out of the bush as there are lots of sand flies.   Photo by Peter Lik

I came back after a few days of Brisbane amusement parks with Siew Pheng and Weng Khin for another 10 days of cruising around the Whitsunday's.  This time we took in Hamilton Island (where I met up again with Nick and Dede of Meshugga), toured the Hook underwater observatory and circumnavigated Hook Island.

After taking Siew Pheng and Weng Khin back to Singapore, I returned to Airlie Beach and had some work done on the boat.  This included repairing the scratches to the keel occasioned by my "practice groundings" along with a few projects I had been trying to get done from some time.  Having all this work done in Airlie Beach turned out to be a mistake in the long run.  The delay caused me to miss the good weather window for heading south and the work ended up being expensive and of mediocre quality.

I still like the Whitsudays as one of my favorite places and I hope to be able to make it back there again some day.

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Last modified: February 01, 2009