July 09, 2011
The new part for the anchor winch didn’t work, so a whole new windlass was ordered, This meant a few trips into Airlie Beach to pick it up, send back the gypsy(part the chain winds around) as Steve had told them the wrong size, and pick up the replacement.
Airlie Beach is where we stock up on water, fuel and groceries. It is very much a tourist town which caters for backpackers and people wanting to do sailing or diving tours around the islands, There is a market held on the beach front every Saturday morming, where we can get fresh fruit and vegetables at reasonable prices. The bananas there are usually about $8 a kilo compared to $15 at the supermarket. For obvious reasons we don’t buy bananas, which is a shame because they are one of my favourite fruits. We usually walk the 3k to the supermarket and get a bus back. It is a nice walk around the waterfront.
While waiting for our winch to arrive we spent some time on South Molle Island. This was a trip down memory land for Steve as he spent some time working here 30 years ago. The resort on the island was very quiet, as are a lot of the businesses here, With floods and cyclones causing a lot of damage, now the high Australian dollar is keeping people away. On South Molle the resort is nearly deserted, They had 8 guests when we called in and had a group of 30 who were arriving in the evening and leaving the following morning. Looking aorund we saw some buildings that had obviously just been left to deteriorate. Such a shame.
While on South Molle, for $5 we could use their facilities, such as swimming pool and showers. So we did some of the walks around the island and had a lovely couple of days there, The pool was too cold for me, but Steve did his usual marathon swims.
Nara Inlet, which is on the bottom of Whitsunday Island, was another stop over. A little bit like the Marlborough Sounds with the hills all around. We ended up staying there for a few days waiting for high winds to settle down. We were invited over to a Canadian yacht called Toketie for games of scrabble, and sushi for tea. It is always good to have nice neighbours when you are stuck in one bay for a while. The only walk here is a short climb up to a cave with Aboriginal paintings. Steve thought they looked recent but the sign said they were authentic. As there was no other walk to do Steve spent one morning climbing up a ridge and looking down on us all from a great height.
While waiting in Nara Inlet, we listened to all the charter boats calling in each day letting the charter companies know what they were up too. Although the winds were up around 30 knots, these boats were still out sailing. One boat called in to report his headsail had ripped so he had cut it down. He was coming in to Nara to do something with it. We watched this catamaran come in with the bits of shredded sail fluttering sadly. Then to top it off the guy on the boat called in to ask which halyard(rope) to cut to get it down. He was promptly told not to cut anything and eventually he worked out how to get it down. Bad enough to have problems like that without everyone else knowing about it and watching. I had to feel sorry for him.
There was another one who got lost. He called up thinking he was at Hamilton Island when he was actually at Daydream island. That call was transferred to phone so all couldn’t hear.
Our next excursion was to Stonehaven on Hook Island. We chose this place because they have public mooring buoys and with the anchor winch not working it was much easier to get on a mooring. Here we saw some turtles and there was some coral around the edge of the bay. There were a couple of boats in the bay whose music entertained everyone in the bay as it was so loud. We call these boats party boats as we come across quite a few,
From Stonehaven we moved up around the corner to Butterfly Bay. The coral here was much nicer and there were moorings here as well. The weather was so calm while we were here, the sea looked like a piece of glass all the way to the horizon. This enabled us to see a whale miles out in the sea. With the binoculars we ciould clearly see it leap out of the water. We are hoping to see some close up in the next few weeks.
Last time in Airlie Beach we went with Linda and David from Toketie to the movies in Proserpine. This was quite an experience. The first movie we have been to with 2 intermissions. It turned out they had to change the reel. However we still enjoyed the latest Pirates of the Caribbean.
Tonight we are going to watch the Crusaders Game with some other Kiwi cruisers at a sports bar in Airlie Beach and that is it for this time.