Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More of the Whitsunday Islands

Since Dennis and I had planned a snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef outer reef, we started working our way to Hamilton Island Marina. We were planning the tour date around the weather as it had been very windy and grey for a few days. We wanted less wind and more sun for a better snorkeling experience.

Along the way from Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island, we spent a night at Nara Inlet on Hook Island where we had a peaceful calm night of sleep and a trip ashore to see the ancient Aboriginal rock paintings.

Australia has done a nice job of preserving area of ancient Aboriginal culture and traditions. The negative is, of course, that they have declared Aboriginal land as National Parks and Marine Preserves and moved the indigenous people further interior. Many of these groups were fishing cultures and had their villages along the protected bays.

The Aboriginal people seem to like to stay away from the towns and have their villages well back from roads. There is limited access to their land. If we want to go ashore in any of the areas designated as native land, we must have an invitation from the village chief or elder before you set foot on it. Some villages are more friendly than others, so we have heard surely as a warning not to go ashore. So no stopping along the shore in these designated areas.

Trillium at anchor in Nara Inlet, Hook Island,
Whitsunday Islands of Australia

Sheila is always up to a challenge!
In search of whales in the area, we sailed down and around CID Island and up into Sawmill Bay on the west side of Whitsunday Island, where we went ashore for a walk. Sailors were carrying buckets of water from a fresh water stream. After exploring the beach, we had a very calm anchorage for a peaceful night of sleep. (They are always so peaceful as you roll with the waves or tide.)

More "steps" to climb to see the ancient
cave paintings.

Interesting tree bark onshore at Nara Inlet

This was interesting: This boat gave us AU Census forms
to complete even though we told them we were not AU
citizens. They wanted to count everyone in the country, but
we didn't have an address, etc. to complete it. Weird!

Shell Seeker?
The following morning, we headed through the Fitzalan Passage and down the Dent Passage to Hamilton Island Marina.

Hamilton Island is one of the only developed islands in the Whitsunday group. Some islands have a resort or two, but Hamilton has an airport and a lot of resort property. I think it is the one purchased and developed by the Oates family, owners of racing yacht Wild Oates XI, a winery and a whole lot of other things. It is a nice development with golf carts as the main mode of transportation and a free bus that makes a continuous loop.
Entering Hamilton Island Marina

The "other" Heather: Chemist not sailor
(until tomorrow!)
The little village has shops, banks, a general store (pricey) many restaurants and a pharmacy where our friend Heather Sutton is the pharmacist. She owns and races S/Y La Quilta. We met Heather when she was crewing in WARC 2014. I surprised her at the pharmacy, which Aussies call chemist. It was good to see her again as it had been a year since we were all helping out in Vanuatu.

Actually, I caught her at the right time because she was heading to the mainland for two weeks of racing in the Arlie Beach Race Week and the Hamilton Island Race Week. Her friend Trudy was going to be racing on another boat and was already on the mainland. On our way out of the Whitsundays heading north to Darwin, we saw both boats racing. Fun!
Wonderful Asian Fusion spare ribs! Yummy!

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