Monday, September 5, 2016

We Are Back with The World ARC

Mackay Marina
Once we got back to Mackay, we would be rejoining the World ARC for the second half of the world. Our original plan had been to drop out for a year to visit New Zealand. Mission Accomplished! When realize how much there is to do and see in Australia, we decided to spend a year there so that delayed our plan to rejoin. Since there isn't anywhere in the second half that we want to spend a year exploring, we are heading back to our starting point in St. Lucia. This means we will have sailed legs with World ARC 2014, 2015 and 2016. The big WARC celebration is in Rodney Bay in April 2017.

There is a reason the Aussies have "tinnies" instead of
inflatable dinghies: salt water crocodile!
Weather here in Australia seems to come in five day patterns. Just as we arrived in Mackay a rainy - really rainy - front moved in and stalled. That meant we sat on the hard in the wild wind and rain for four days before we could splash.

This caused a slight change of plans, but we provisioned, ran errands, had service done, etc. Mother Nature always rules!  British friends on S/Y Brizo from WARC 2014 (and Atlantic Cup 2011) were able to leave the marina a few days ahead of us, but we would catch up to them in the Whitsundays.

Once it finally cleared and we got the boat into the water, we headed north within the Great Barrier Reef to the Whitsunday Islands. We had the luxury of a beautiful high pressure system that brought perfect cruising weather. Since we were exhausted from traveling and the non-stop events at home, we dropped the hook at beautiful Whitehaven Beach and hung out for five days! We needed a rest! And the bursitis in the hip limits walks on the beach or hiking. This was perfect. Sun, no wind, no swells, no waves, gentle breeze! And the scenery was breathtaking. A chance to stop "doing" and just "be!" 

The Brizo crew
Pat and Stuart on Brizo had flown over this area and told us about the view from the lookout at Hill Inlet. So we took a long dinghy ride to Tongue Point at low tide to climb the hill. The view was breathtaking. And worth every painful step!

Approaching Hill Inlet at low tide was interesting.

What a spectacular view!  
It took your breath away!

This beach changes size and shape with every changing tide!

A view of low tide from the air. Stunning!

I think a third of Australia is designated as National Parks.

Looking south from Tongue Point to take in the beach view.

Fossicking wallabies.
Once rested, it was time to head back to Mackay to join the WARC fleet arriving from Vanuatu. Brizo was moving north and will rejoin in Darwin. We will be meeting up with several WARC 2014 boats along the way and meeting new boats. The fleet is scheduled to depart Mackay on August 2.

Back in Mackay, WARC activities fired up with Welcome Drinks and a trip to Cape Hillsborough at 0500 (5 AM) to see the wallabies fossicking in the tide for their breakfast. Apparently they come out of the bush early in the morning just before sunrise to play in the water, eat and actually drink the salt water. They are not afraid of people and will come a sit right in front of you. I imagine they see these human observers fairly often as it is one of the local tours. Even though it was an early start, the sunrise over the Cape made it worthwhile!

We had a new crew member joining us. Sheila is a German gal taking a break from work and is completing the last leg of her circumnavigation on S/V Trillium. She is a scuba instructor and very athletic so she will add some energy to this crew! She is the same age as our kids so it will be fun. And Dennis can get help with his German grammar.

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