After three long days and through both calm and rough waters, we have now arrived in the Whitsunday Islands. It is such a relief to have calm anchorages and late starts to the day (well, as late as Eli and Amelie will allow).
We left Rosslyn Bay Marina (Yeppoon) at 3 am on Friday morning for a long passage to Middle Percy Island. It was a reasonably calm passage with hardly any wind. With only 5-10 knots of wind directly behind us for most of the day we motored the whole day in order to cover the 105 Nautical miles we had to before sundown.
After a somewhat restless night from about midnight onward, we left Middle Percy Island for Scawfell on Saturday morning at 6:30 am. The Bureau of Meteorology prediction was for 15-20 knot winds and 1-1.5 m seas. What we experienced was 25-30 knots and 2 metre waves with occasional waves up to 3.5 metres across a very exposed patch of water. Because we had to sail an almost dead run downwind, we sailed on headsail alone achieving speeds averaging between 7.5 – 8.5 knots. Unfortunately with the rough seas, Eli didn’t fare so well and was a bit seasick along the way. We anchored at Scawfell Island before sundown and had an amazing vista of stars with a clear sky that evening. Geoff even saw a falling star (meteorite) which fragmented into a bright shower of sparks. We had a very welcome peaceful night at anchor.
On Sunday, 21st June we again left early at 6:30 am to continue towards the Whitsundays. With slightly abated seas, and winds of between 23-26 knots it wasn’t long until we started to enjoy the protection of some islands along the way. Sailing downwind now with double-reefed main and full headsail we had some great sailing towards the Whitsundays and up through the Whitsunday Channel. We averaged 8-9 knots of boat speed through this section with peak speeds of 11-12 knots when the wind rose above 25 knots. Having now arrived in the Whitsundays, our destination was Cid Harbour to shelter from the strong winds and waves.
Once safely at anchor in Cid Harbour, we simply had to take Eli to shore to play in the sand. We simply wouldn’t get away with not taking him another day. So, we all piled into the dinghy (baby Amelie included in her special lifejacket) and headed to Sawmill Beach on Whitsunday Island. Sandy beaches and a bucket and spade are what Eli thinks sailing is all about now.