Well, here we go again, with heavy heart, I begin to write to you and reminisce on another wonderful trip to paradise. I didn’t even get past the hellos on arrival at the CYA office this time without becoming emotional! Meeting Mel after catching up in Melbourne, John, Abby, Charlotte and Kim just made us glad to be back. Sal and I just love the place, but it would not be anywhere near as good without our family at CYA.
Ok, this trip was different from our other trips that we have had as the weather gods were not favourable (to say the least), but we managed to convert our first-time sailing friends from Perth who, despite the weather “ would be back in a heartbeat”! Maybe that says it all. Even with just a couple of beautiful days interspersed with 40 knot Easterlies and torrential rain, new recruits could appreciate the magic of the Whitsundays.
Day 1 – Stonehaven Bay
Well, we headed out of Port and into a brisk SE wind and set course for Stonehaven. This is the first time we have sailed ‘Harley Girl’ and we were impressed with her as we sailed across the strait. The trolling lines were set with the hope for fresh Sashimi for dinner and of course anticipation increased as we approached one of the last moorings as many boats were on the West side due to the Easterly winds. The new crew worked well, and we picked up our mooring like an F1 team changing tyres at the Albert Park GP!
After our new crew drank in the beauty of Stonehaven, the skipper pulled the cork out of a cheeky red to celebrate our safe arrival and we settled in for dinner, fishing, and laughs.
Day 2 – Chalkies Beach
The next day saw a feast of bacon and eggs cooked up for breakfast as we fuelled up for a trip down to arguably the best spot in the Whitsundays, our beloved Chalkies Beach. On the way down with full sails and running at 6 to 7 knots, the skipper hooked up with a nice Tuna which created much excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately, the piscatorial predator won the fight and was gone to fight another day! After cries from the crew of ‘pants down’, the Skipper managed to get the crew focussed on the job at hand as we reset for Chalkies. Soon enough, the Skipper’s reel began to sing again and after a short struggle, he landed a nice Spotted Mackerel.
As we approached Chalkies, a tinge of sadness welled up as we remembered the unforgettable trip 7 years ago when our great friend Tim proposed to Lisa on the gorgeous pure white sands of Chalkies Beach. What a day that was and what wonderful memories.
Well, the crew did their thing and soon we were moored safely and heading off in the Tender to experience some brilliant snorkelling over the beautiful reef. The Skipper had the privilege of swimming with a turtle for the first time and what a memorable experience that was! Chalkies does it again!
Day 3 – Whitehaven Beach
The next day, we headed over to Whitehaven and spent the day and night their chilling out, swimming and generally enjoying the beauty of the place as day trippers came and went for their 1 hour glimpse of the rare beauty that is Whitehaven. In a blink of an eye, they were whisked away and they were off again. You just can’t beat having the freedom to come and go as you wish in your own boat like Harley Girl! How we felt for those poor day trippers!
Day 4 – Cid Harbour
Day 4 saw us head North and West to seek cover from the impending wind and rain that was forecast. We headed to Cid Harbour where we safely anchored with plenty of chain out and relaxed with some fishing as we eased into Cid time. That night, the rain came and came and came! By morning, we saw 104mm in the gauge. Then another first as we watched the waterfalls cascade over the rocks and into the harbour around the shoreline. We had to drop the Tender in again and go and explore. We were reminded of the extremely wet year so far as the unmistakeable smell of the cool, moist mustiness of vegetation filled our nostrils as we approached the shore.
That night, another first as Spanish Mackerel schooled around the boat. They just couldn’t resist the lure and one sacrificed itself for our dinner plates! Yum. Lots of reef fish caught (via our newest crew member Nicole) who achieved a personal best catch rate over the week, and all were released!
Day 6 – Back to Port
Day 6 dawned and the clouds hung heavy and low in the harbour. The previous rolly night meant little sleep was had and the crew was tired and unsettled. We waited for the scheds and the updated forecast before reluctantly deciding to head back to Port a night early to enjoy a good night’s sleep and a drink at Sorrento’s.
Day 7 – Airlie Beach
Alas, Day 7 arrived, and it was time to begin the transition back once again to becoming a mundane land lubber as we prepared to spend a couple of days in beautiful Airlie before heading home.
And here we are, now back home as if waking from a wonderful dream and thinking about our next trip back to paradise and our wonderful friends at CYA,
We are looking forward to seeing Mel in Melbourne in August and anything that we can do to help guys, then we would love to contribute to making your trip down here as beneficial as possible. Maybe we can help on a stand and give you a break for a couple of hours?
Thanks once again for your magnificent hospitality, the wonderful hamper, your friendship, and the wonderful ‘Harley Girl’ making a fantastic trip even more fabulous!
Best wishes, hope you are on the mend Mel and see you all soon.
Love and best wishes to all,
Darren and Sally, Clay and Nicole