Whitsunday Islands, Queensland
11.04.2012 - 11.11.2012 80 °F
"As we lay in the sand and we stare at the sky....
oh my, there's no place on earth i'd rather be....
And our minds were meant to sail
take a rest from our thoughts, take a brake from this world
and we'll feel miles away from the places that we used to be."
- "Miles Away" by Years Around the Sun
We have just returned from our weeklong sailing trip around the Whitsundays - a group of islands in the Great Barrier Reef - with our good friends Pete and Vanessa. After a 2 hour walk around the boat and a 3 hour sailing lesson/refresher with our new found friend/instructor Mark - the beautiful 35 foot Catalina Sailboat "Zig Zag" was OURS!
By the first day, we were tacking and jibing like pros - in fact, we sailed 16nm* from Airlie Beach through Hook Passage and back south to a tucked away mooring* within Tongue Bay. Here we saw heaps of turtles, snorkeled with colorful fish and strolled the spectacular sands of Whitehaven Beach (see photos for proof). During the next few days, we explored the northern inlets and beaches of Hook Island, specifically Maurine's Cove, Manta Ray Bay, and Stonehaven Bay. Here is where we mastered the art of RELAXATION - averaging 10-11 hours of sleep each night, a half case of beer by day (thanks to the boys), and dinner under the stars. The girls "noodled" around while the boys practiced their flips off the bow* - a modern day walk of the plank. Katie also attempted some flips with her wet suit on for protection - turns out back flops still hurt with a 3/2 mm on. Our final days were spent cruising Blue Pearl Bay, motoring the coastline of Cid Harbour by dinghy, and enjoying early morning sunrises and clear starry nights. Oh yeah - almost forgot to mention - we did spend hours at night playing Pass the Pigs (think dice with little plastic piggies instead). It was a hit!
Let us preface that Lukin and Pete were listed on the contract as the "sailors" of the group, however all four of us, much to Ness and Katie's surprise (and excitement), TRULY had to be involved on a daily basis, tacking* and jibing*, steering the boat, making radio calls, and laying anchor at night. We were all old salts* by the end of it. It was a trip for the memory bank - and while we hope to return one day as anyone would, we will remember this week forever.
- *Listed below are some basic definitions for those of us - Katie and Vanessa included - who didn't have the sailor lingo quite nailed yet
- nm = nautical miles (1nm = 6,000 feet)
- mooring = large round offshore buoy/ball to which you lash your vessel to
- bow = front of the boat
- tacking = turning the bow of the boat through the wind by switching the position of the head sail
- jibing = turning the stern of the boat through the wind etc. etc.
- old salts = so much time spent at sea, you have salt crusted all over you?!?