Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Australia - Whitsundays - Butterfly Bay

On our way back over to the islands, we do manage about 6 knots with only the jib up and it is very consistent wind so we can get ourselves as comfortable as possible. There are definitely a few white knuckle moments for those of us who are new to this (all of us but John) as we have never had this much wind in the Gulf Islands. There is a certain tinge of green to Anna, Dave and me, but once I take the wheel, I feel better. Anna just glues her eyes to the horizon.

It is a bit nerve-wracking to be in unknown waters and we go way out and around a marker to get into a little exposed mooring at Langford Island. We hope to see the turtles here. It is our first try at catching the mooring buoy with our hook. At home, you just hook a little hook on the top of the buoy and it comes up real slick and you then hook your bowline through it and carry on with your day. Here there is a huge rope 3-4 inches in diameter that is waterlogged and heavy. All of this in an unprotected area and Dave and I miss it the first time. I am not tall enough to reach it so he is there to reach it (yes he is 5'10" these days) and I am going to grab it and neatly wrap it around the cleat - right? - wrong! Our second try we manage to get it but can't hang on as the wind is blowing the boat away and poor John can't see what we are doing. Anna dives in to get the hook that is now in the water and on our third try we manage to hook it again. We drop the hook stick again and by now John is wondering about his crew for sure. Anna is in again and finally we manage to get ourselves tied off.

We take our Zodiac in to the shore with our snorkel gear and a few brave souls go in (it is cold and windy). There aren't any turtles but some amazing coral and other fish. Cathy and I beachcomb and look up to see that the marker that we had gone way out to sea to go around, is now on land. It is always good to follow your charts!!

We head out around the North end of Hook Island and into an amazing bay called Butterfly Bay. It is so called as there are groups of butterflies that arrive out of nowhere. There are also bommies or rocks just under the surface that are nt marked, so Dave and I park ourselves up front again and watch for them. It is still a little breezy, but in front of the other 8 boats, we manage to grab our mooring buoy first try. Dave and Paul and Anna are immediately in the water and over to the reef to see some amazing fish life and coral. there is rumoured to be a big 4 foot long fish named Elvis here that is very friendly and will come up to the back of your boat.


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