We had a great nights sleep in the beautiful calm Rosslyn Bay Marina, peace at last! We were here to pick up our latest crew member Micheal on Monday night so we had two days to fill. After our usual cleaning and filling the boat with food, fuel and water, we got chatting to some of the other cruising yachties. All had been in Keppel the night before, all had a similar night to us and all the wives and girlfriends had collectively stomped their feet the next day and insisted on going to the marina – so I’m not alone!! Rosslyn Bay Marina is beautifully set up for cruising sailors, they have a barbecue area and tables in a clearing and that night all the cruising folk got together for a barbecue. This was the first time we’d really chatted and gotten to know other people doing the same as us and it was brilliant. Some of these people are amazing. Several of them were from New Zealand and had sailed in a single handed/doublehanded race across from NZ in April – where their families flew in to join them. Amongst these was one gentleman, who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease and is in a wheelchair. He did the race with a friend and then his wife joined him and they are cruising for as long as his health will allow, he drives and she does all the deck work. Knowing how hard it is to tie up in wind, or trim sails with heavy loadswhen there is two of us fully able, I have nothing but admiration for both of them. We also met a lot of families, they are cruising for one or two years and all the kids are home-schooled on the yachts. All the kids can steer, navigate, one nine year-old even does the radio logging with each Coastal Patrol.
Anyway – while I was hearing lots of wonderful stories, Chris and Micheal were discussing itineraries with some of the other skippers. It turned out we were all heading to the same place – Pearl Bay about 40 miles away, so Chris organised a race!!!!!!! Only Chris could get a bunch of cruising sailors to race. I didn’t think anyone would take it seriously, until we were woken the next morning to the sounds of engines being started as everyone raced to get out first!
We had a fantastic days sailing and anchored in early afternoon in Pearl Bay, for the record the couple from NZ won! On the beach here you are supposed to be able to dig in the sand on the beach and find freshwater…so the three of us dug and dug and dug, we left lots of holes on the beach but no water. Next day it was only a 10 mile sail to Island Head Creek, these places are stunning, high wooded hills, beaches, clear water. So we chilled out for the day – had no choice really, we touched a sandbank on the way in and had to wait for the tide to come in before we could move off again!
And then, it finally happened – I got to go to a tropical Island, we made an early start and headed for Middle Percy Island, what a cool place. Palm Trees, coconuts, a treehouse where you can stay if you want and a shed where every yacht that has passed by here leaves their name on something from their boat. I’ll load some pictures and you can see for yourself – it was amazing. But the sandflies were biting and the sun was going down so after a few happy hours exploring we headed back to the boat and had a pleasant evening watching the sun go down over our tropical island!
And so to Mackay – very different to Middle Percy – theres big sugar wharves here in the harbour and container ships soming and going – not very pretty! We are here to drop off Micheal and pick up Laura as we head off on our final run into the Whitsundays – After a month at sea we will be in Airlie on Sunday, two short days away, I think I’d like to keep going , most of the people we are now cruising in company with are heading to Lizard Island – I quite like the cruising life. But as Chris reminded me, its not like we are going home, we are going to be cruising around the Whitsundays for a couple of months yet…anyone want to join us, its a great life this cruising life