Back in the Marina Again!

There is a pattern emerging here where we only blog when in the marina, but that is largely because we have had such poor signal once we are cruising the islands.

Since the last blog entry a week ago we have been offshore with our friends Anna and Paul having another relaxing week cruising the Whitsundays.

We spent our first night in Homestead Bay off Cid Island where Anna insisted that she could hear gibbons and could even see the bananas in the trees that they fed on. She was on one of Debi’s special G&T’s at the time.

The second night was in Saba Bay on the east side of Hook Island.  The fringing reef here is very hard to see and we ended up anchoring quite close. Sadly the snorkelling was poor with poor visibility and a lot of the coral damaged and dead. However, we did see the first dolphins of the trip as we left here.

On Wednesday we left with the idea of trying out the gennaker, but the wind was the wrong way and then started blowing too hard. So instead we went for a random sail with Paul tuning the sails and  flying along at 7.5 knots. Then we realised that we were heading to Bait Reef again and so decided to go and take a look. When we arrived it was deserted and we struggled to find the entrance to the moorings with no boats to guide us. We picked up a mooring and after checking the forecast decided that we would be safe enough to stay the night. It was a pretty unique experience spending the night moored on the outer reef!

The snorkelling was good again with a big hump head wrasse under the boat, coral trout, clown fish, and lots of other fish too numerous to mention. Again the coral was nice but not as colourful as we remember it on previous visits to the reef. We also had a couple of Crested Terns that thought X-Pat was a cool place to take a rest.

On Thursday we returned to the islands and had a very successful sail using “Harry” the Hydrovane to steer us to Border Island. We were lucky again and picked up a mooring in Cateran Bay and were the only boat for the night. The snorkelling here was also very good and the reef seems to have recovered from damag suffered a few years ago during storms. We went ashore here and did a short walk giving us a good perspective of how small our boat looks when you view the whole bay.

Friday night was spent in Macona Inlet where we again heard “gibbons”, again associated with G&T! We decided that what we were hearing was possibly a Pheasant Coucal, which is a type of cuckoo and the only one in Australia that builds it’s own nest. We also went ashore to a small beach here and did a quick beach clean up. The beach was pretty clean but there were still plastics there despite being a few miles up a south facing inlet.


Then on Saturday it was a motor back to Abell Point Marina in very light winds to drop off Anna and Paul, clean the boat, re-provision and prepare for Shona and Barry!

A view of the "Stepping Stones" at Bait Reef from the stern.

There is still lots of beautiful coral despite the recent bleaching event


Paul and Anna and the "fruit bowl" that they brought us
A short walk on Border Island

A clown fish in the reef at Border Island

An inquisitive wrasse

An inquisitive wrasse

This Crested Tern seemed to take a fancy to sitting on the bow when we were anchored at Bait Reef

X-Pat moored in Cateran Bay, Border Island

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