Mooloolaba to the Whitsundays

We finally departed Mooloolaba on October 18th after 6 fantastic weeks. of sun, new friends and good food. A special thanks to ‘The Doc’ Michael Ryan and family and Hamish Thompson and family.

Departing mooloolaba - mouth of the riverOur departure through the river entrance was a far cry from when we arrived. A beautiful sunny day, no wind and calm seas. Our entry was at midnight on a dark windy night with big seas running across the entrance. Anyway we made it in and we made it out again.

This was the first time that Mat and I were the only crew so it was with a little trepidation that we set sail. (well motor actually).

Our track took us to Double Island Point at the entrance to Wide Bay just south of Fraser Island. We overnighted there and then set off early the next morning for the long trip up the Fraser Coast.

During the day we decided to continue on to Lady Musgrave Island. This meant that we began a four hour watch cycle. Our ETA was around midday on Thursday morning.The lagoon at Lady Musgrave Island

After an uneventful 30 hours we arrived at Lady Musgrave and entered the lagoon. Entering the lagoon at Lady Musgrave Island

Wow what an experience. A narrow entrance had been blasted through the fringing reef and from a distance it really did not look like we would fit! We actually had 5 to 10 meters on either side as we slid past the sharp coral into the most beautiful calm inner lagoon.

Entering the lagoon at Lady Musgrave IslandThere were quite a few boats at anchor but we had stacks of room. The entrance to Lady Musgrave

We spent the afternoon napping and getting ready to depart at dusk so that we would arrive at Yeppoon at around 8am the next morning when we were to collect Hamish, our new friend from Mooloolaba. Hamish had managed to contact us to say that he would like to join us for the trip to Hamilton Island.

We arrived at Yeppoon at low tide meaning we could not safely enter the harbour so Mat collected Hamish in the tender.

We headed north to spend the night at Port Clinton. A huge harbour with hardly a soul in sight. We departed early the next morning headed for the Percy Isles. Saturday was a magnificent day, calm seas, blue sky with a light sea breeze.Mat getting ready to hoist the foresail for the first time

We decided to hoist the foresail for the first time which required a bit of fancy bow sprit walking from Mat.

We also decided it was time to try our luck with some fishing.

and…………….Mat bringing in his first tunaMat's first tuna Our first tuna!! Very tasty it was too.

We arrived at the Percy Isles around 9:00pm that evening and anchored off the beach on Middle Percy. Just beautiful! Must come back again and spend more time here.

Sunday morning we headed for Scawfell Island for our last stopover before reaching the Whitsundays.

After a beautiful morning the sky began to cloud over and as the wind began to increase we had a double strike with both rods screaming. After a lot of hard winding Mat & Hamish both pulled in a large tuna.A double hook up. Mat and Hamish working hard...... and then we got two moreShortly after the weather turned quite nasty with a strong southerly change. We approached Scawfell Island late in the afternoon in strong winds and rough seas. The anchorage on the north side of the island provided excellent shelter and was home to 5 other boats when we arrived.

Our first drama since leaving Sydney………

We were towing our second tender and as we were manoeuvring to set our anchor I ran over and cut the tow rope. A message on the radio from neighbouring yacht Captain Silver “…..do you have your tender on a long line?” prompted me to run out of the wheel house only to see the tender about 200 meters away! “……not that long” I responded as Mat and Hamish launched the other tender and went to recover the stray.

All good, no damage and we ended up having a a terrific dinner with our new friend Kim & Kim from Captain Silver.20161023_222054 We spent Monday at Scawfell Island as the weather was still unpleasant and as we were in no rush we used the opportunity to do some work on the mizzen mast. Mat spent most of the day up the mast installing our new wind monitor and a new anchor light. I ran an connected the new wires and as well re-wired the stern light.

Tuesday morning saw us well rested but a little hung over as we departed Scawfell. We decided to hoist all three sails for the first time and then in a modest south easterly breeze headed for the Whitsunday passage and Hamilton Island.img_0551On the way Mat jumped into the tender to take these pictures. It was a big surprise to us just how well Last Vintage sailed.

Under full sail for the first time - WhitsundaysWe had approximately 15 knots of breeze which meant that with the motor off we managed between 4 and 4.5 knots. Given that we know very little about sailing we reckon a ‘real sailor’ would probably get even more boat speed.

WE arrived at Hamilton Island quite early in the afternoon and anchored in a small bay not far from the marina. Hamilton Island marina - finally!Fees were prohibitive for a boat our length and anyway we are only 3 minutes away by tender.

We went in for a drink before having dinner back on board.

Hamish returned to Mooloolaba and we had a quiet day tidying up and doing some washing.

An interesting footnote: We have been running 100% on solar power since leaving Mooloolaba. The system is working brilliantly!

For bigger pictures click here

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