|Just off Pinnacle Point on Hook Island - Photo by Corie|
The Whitsundays are a very popular destination not just for people cruising on sailboats but it attracts visitors from all over the world. The waters are filled with the wakes of passing ferries and tour boats and even though things calm down at night, the heavy traffic deprives the area of remote-destination feel. We only spent one night at Whitehaven Bay and left early the next morning.
Alas, we couldn't prevent the day from arriving when we would have to take Mary to the airport and after 21 very fun days, we motored over to Hamilton Island where the airport was right on the edge of the bay. It was kind of scary to see what appeared to be huge 737s coming in for a landing just above the tops of the masts. No sooner had Mary left, we had the dinghy secured in it's davits and we departed for Townsville, about 150 miles to the north. The winds were forecast to be very light and I had set my expectations for motoring the entire way but a 15-knot southeasterly breeze filled in. With the genoa poled out to starboard, the main prevented off to port, we sailed all night into a beautiful setting moon. It was so magical that even the heavy freighter traffic didn't disturb my revery. The entrance to the Breakwater Marina in Townsville is very shallow and for the most part we only had 1 foot of water under the keel. Townsville is a bustling little beach-side community with lots of attractions for visitors. Unfortunately, it's beautiful beaches are currently closed to swimming as there are deadly box jellyfish in the water. After a few repairs, we'll be underway again although we'll time our departure to be at high tide!