Will Hardcastle arrived on the afternoon of 15th September to aid with the delivery home. We had one last dinner with Paul and Clare Ley. In the days leading up to this I had decided that some of Sarah’s ashes should be left on Magnetic Island, a place where we had planned to use for our base for coral cruising in Sarah’s transition to retirement. Paul and Clare were delighted and even had a little shrine to mark her location and allow remembrance candles to be lit.
Will Hardcastle and I left Magnetic Island early on the morning of Monday 16th September. We had grand plans of sailing through the night to the Whitsundays. After a few hours of beating into headwinds and wave though we decided to pull into Cape Upstart for the night. We also had word from Sarah Devereux, who was flying out from the UK for Sarah’s birthday, that she wouldn’t be arriving in Mackay until late in the evening. This took some pressure of our time table as we would have another day of sailing to play with. We arrived after dark but it was a lot more benign than when Lindy and I stopped on the way north.
We made an early start the next day with a relaxed plan of where we would stop for the night. Depending on how the wind behaved we would stop at Long Island, Shaw Island or Brampton Island. It didn’t behave and we started to push some hefty Whitsunday tides so we stopped early at Long Island.
Another early start saw us take full advantage of the south flowing flood tide through The Narrows between Long Island and the mainland. In spite of a lot of motoring this set us up for an early arrival in Mackay where we fuelled up before taking our berth for the night. After a couple of sessions at the pub we welcomed Sarah around 10pm before crashing for the night.
Our next planned stop was at Middle Percy Island. We had decided to spend a full day there to allow me to fully indoctrinate two new Middle Percy virgins as well as repaying the generosity shown by Cate, the lease holder, on our visit on the way north. We had sundowners with the crew of Carrera S, Marten 49, before retiring to the boat to polish off the grey mackerel we had caught that day.
On the 20th September we struck off up the hill to the Middle Percy homestead. Good to my word I have left Sarah’s iPhone with Cate to allow her to have full frustration with Apple like the rest of us. Cate was clearing out Rondaval as there appears to be a little changing of the guard about to happen on the island. Cate also shared some of the produce from the garden and we left with a health supply of basil and cherry tomatoes.
The next day we headed down to Port Clinton. It’s a little further than Pearl Bay and trickier to enter but is dead calm and flat in all but the must worst of conditions (see 2017 post where we were snug for a couple of days in 30+kts). This also shortened our distance to Rosslyn Bay where we topped up our provisions the following day (22/9/19). We managed to overfill the diesel in Mackay so we didn’t need to refuel at this time but we did top up the jerry cans.
The forecast was still looking favourable for a reef trip so we headed out to North West Island on the 23rd. We had flat calm conditions all the way with only a brief sailing session in an early southerly. We pulled up at North West at around 4pm where we counted at least 20 fishing boats careened on the island for the night.