After boarding the sailing catermeran at Hamilton Island late yesterday afternoon, we motored across to Gulnair Inlet. We spent the night here talking and eating while the full moon rose over Whitsunday Island.
Nights on the water are so quiet. The inlet is sheltered from the light breezes and we’ve chartered the entire vessel to ourselves. It was a wonderful opportunity for our family to catch up and reminise about all the sailing trips we used to take.
This morning I woke early. Red breasted finch-like birds sat not more than a metre from me on the yacht’s rails. A school or fish flapped about on the surface while opportunistic seaguls feasted on them.
It’s a perfect summer day; excellent for swimming.
After breakfast we sailed around the southern end of Whitsunday Island to Whitehaven Beach. This long white strip of sand is an iconic landmark; frequently included in post cards and calendars of Queensland.
We were dropped at the beach in the yacht’s tender because the anchor was broken so we couldn’t anchor close enough to swim for shore. Once there we picked another yacht about 150m offshore and swam around it. Our family holiday wouldn’t be complete without such a challenge.
After our swim we reboarded the yacht and set off for Cateran Bay on the north side of Border Island, passing massive turtles along the way.
Cateran Bay on Border Island is one of Mum’s favourite Whitsunday destination. It’s an isolated bay on the far east of the Whitsundays. It used to have great snorkeling but storms in recent years have led to coral death.
We still enjoyed an hour snorkeling in the bay. We say blue, yellow, pink and orange coral, and coloured fish. I pulled my partner around on a pool noodle so she could enjoy the experience without worrying about her swimming ability.
We crossed the passage to Manta Ray Bay on the north western end of Hook Island. The snorkeling here was superb. We saw schools of five-banded damselfish, six-banded angelfish, blue angelfish, scarlet-breasted maori wrasse, moon wrasse, beaked coralfish, blue pullers and yellow-tailed fusiliers.
But most impressively, we saw two huge male hump-headed maori wrasse and a massive trevally. It truly was a magical experience.
We ended the day with drinks watching the sunset off Langford Island. It was a brilliant day!