Blow from the south they said, and blow from the south it did. We set off from South Percy in 20+ knots and it stayed up there most of the day. We sailed on with headsail only all day. The only real decision for the day was Scawfell or Brampton as our next anchorage. Scawfell was a little closer to Percy but 20 miles further from our next destination. Greg had booked a flight from Hamilton Island the next day leaving in the afternoon so we needed to get there in the morning. As such we chose Brampton. We arrived after dark but I knew the anchorage well. There may have been some short words at some point as I tried to explain how some of the features worked on the chart plotter to some other crew member, in the dark, after a long day and under pressure of not running aground. Anyway, we survived the night.
The next day Greg awoke to find that his flight had been moved from afternoon to midday. This wasn’t going to work so after we upped anchor Greg went o work on Qantas to sort out flights. Lindy and I went to work on fishing. The later was not so successful. We both and lines out and the managed to cross over each other and get completely tangled. Maybe this is what the Ghostbusters meant when they said don’t cross the streams!!! Lets just say there are a couple of hours of our lives we won’t get back
Greg was a little more successful and managed to move his flight to the next day. As a result we headed off to Happy Bay on Long Island to overnight. Its a great anchorage and rarely frequented by bare boat charterers. We went ashore for a swim and sundowners.
In the morning (22/8) we headed off to Hamilton Island to drop Greg off. As we escaped from the lee of Long Island we found ourselves motoring into a stiff Trade wind of 20-25kts. This was made worse by the flood tide which was creating steep wind-on-tide chop. We were slamming off wave going from 7kts boats speed to 2.5kts. Goon Bag was bouncing around in our wake tugging at her painter. We had only got about 1/4 of the way across Whitsunday Passage when said painter parted and Goon Bag was adrift. Luckily we had been keeping a keen eye on her and we doubled back to pick her up quickly. Great crew work by Lindy and Greg and Goon Bag was secure again and we were underway.
We arrived at Hamilton Island just as the fleet was exiting the harbour for a race start. This was somewhat problematic as there just wasn’t an opportunity to get in against the flow of boats. Which then meant we were milling around in a fleet of boat getting ready to race. Eventually we made it in a caught up with Rowena Cremer, Duncan Curnow and Natalie soon-to-be-Curnow. We hung around and watched the fleet start before treating ourselves to some shore cooked lunch.
Greg headed to the airport and Lindy and I headed off to Woodwark Bay before starting the final legs to Magnetic Island.
Lindy and I rose early (0600) to do the 64nm leg to Cape Upstart. Having not learnt our lesson about crossing the streams we managed to tangle our fishing lines again and lost more precious life hours we won’t get back. I think at the time we described it as “character building”.
We anchored in Shark Bay about a mile in from the tip of Cape Upstart. We had been sailing in 15-20kts all day but as we set anchor it started to get angry. Through the night we were seeing gusts to 30-35kts and Wine-Dark Sea was pulling at her anchor hard. We let out anchor to 7:1 scope which gave us security but also meant we just sailed around on a bigger arc. Things had settled down by morning as we headed out on the final leg to Magnetic Island.
We weighed anchor at 0630 for the final 72nm. Having finally learnt we set just one fishing line and FINALLY got dividends. Lindy landed this handy sized Spanish Mackerel at about midday. We rang ahead to Paul and Clare Ley on Magnetic Island to let them know we had dinner sorted for the assembled masses.
We arrived at Magnetic Island a 1430. It was an emotional reunion with Paul and Clare as I and the boat ticked off another unfortunate series of firsts-without-Sarah.
We joined Paul and Clare at their Winifred Street house for a BBQ with some more of the locals. The Mackerel was ceviche and grilled and tasted as good as it look.