Monday, November 7, 2011

Southward Bound - Townsville to Brampton Island (3rd to 8th November)

After a leisurely week in Townsville (one of our favorite spots) the weather is shaping up for a Thursday departure (3rd November).  Despite the Qantas debacle Leapy got herself on a flight arriving on Wednesday arvo so all is well. 

We are all up bright and early on Thursday morning and leave the Townsville marina about 7.00am before the tide gets too low plus we are keen to get on our way south.  If all goes well the plan is to do an overnight sail and end up at Bait Reef, (~135NM) Friday morning for a bit of a snorkel on the outer reef. 
Feeding the Maori Wrasse at Bait Reef
The sail went very well with light east to north easterlies blowing for most of the trip and we were able to pick up a mooring at Bait Reef around 9.30am in the morning.  It is quite a bizarre sight seeing boats parked in, what would appear to be, the middle of the ocean.

We spent a lovely few hours at Bait Reef and did plenty of fish feeding of the back of the boat which included the usual bat fish but also a huge Maori Wrasse and some Dolphin Fish.  We also spent quite  bit of time in the water and did heaps of snorkelling on the coral in amazingly clear water.  No matter where else you go in the world for a snorkel the Great Barrier Reef is definitely amongst the best diving spots in the world.  As mentioned the water clarity was excellent and the coral and fishies we saw were excellent.  We even got to swim with a few turtles which is a first for me.

After an awesome morning at Bait Reef we are off to the Whitsunday's proper for the evening and are hoping to pull up a mooring at Blue Pearl Bay but by the time we arrived late in the afternoon they were all taken so we sail on for a bit longer and stay the night at Bali Hi which is so named as part of the film was shot here.  Up early on Saturday morning to Blue Pearl again in search for an empty mooring and this time we were in luck.  The snorkelling in Blue Pearl is still as good as last time and again we managed to find a tamish turtle to have a swim with.  Juddy and Andrew also decided that it would be worth taking to the water for a bit of a swim with Nemo!
Juddy and Andrew getting ready for a snorkel

Sunset from Bali Hi Island

A bit of R&R for the boys
As we are on a bit of a time frame to get the boat back to Brisbane we can't loiter too long so we head off to Cid Harbour for the night and head into the Hamilton Island Marina for a day of R&R on Sunday,  Hamilton Island never fails to disappoint and is a hive of  activity and there are always lots of fun things to do.  We spent a few hours lazing around the pool and then decided it was time to have the obligatory holiday cocktail before having a yummy meal and the Manta Ray Cafe.  After the busy day we were all pretty stuffed and struggling to keep awake however, Leapy and I were pretty keen to stay up until 11.00pm to watch Casey Stoner in the last of the MotoGP races for the season and we are very glad that we made the effort as it was an action packed race and to make it all the better Stoner pulled out an amazing victory - YAY.

Bye Bye to Leapy Lynda

Unfortunately Leapy had to cut her holiday a bit short.  For those that don't know she took a redundancy package about 1 year ago and has been travelling around to Costa Rica, Bali and Turkey for the best part of the year.  We were hoping that she would be able to do the trip all the way to Brissie with us but it looks like she might be in with a job at the University of Queensland so she figured it was best to get things sorted on the job front.  We were naturally very sad to see Leapy go as she it is always good fun to have her on board and Juddy just isn' the same without his good mate Andrew Walker.  Leapy arranged for a flight out of Hammo early arvo on Monday so we figured it was also a good time for us to start heading south again.  Unfortunately the winds are not all that favourable at the moment with light East to South Easterlies blowing (our course is pretty much SE) however, we did manage to make it down to Shaw Island for Monday evening and have just pulled into Brampton Island for the night.

 The forecast is looking a bit more promising with very light East to North Easterlies planned for Wednesday and Thursday and so hopefully the BOM has it all correct so that we can make some good mileage south over the next few days.

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