Whitsunday Island, Queensland
Still living the dream...
After waking up in Tongue Bay, Team's Shiraz/Sandpiper went ashore for a quick hike up to the lookout on top of the hill to the point that looks over Whitehaven Bay. The view is quite spectacular. Lots of charter boats stop here to let their passengers run up the hill to get some photographs, run on the beach, and then they are off to other destinations.
We left Tongue Bay at noon, catching the rising tide for a short, 5 mile, motor trip. We anchored right off the white sands of Whitehaven Beach along with Shiraz and several other charter boats.
It is funny around here as most all the boats around here are charter boats in the anchorages with Shiraz and Sandpiper being the only cruiser boats around. There are several different types of charter boats that can be chartered in the Whitsunday Islands. You can rent a boat and skipper it yourself. Several people can all get together to share the expense to charter a larger boat that has its own skipper. Or there are much larger boats that hold around 20 persons or more that take you out on a preset tour of the islands. They even cook all of your meal!
We spent last night over on Shiraz for some of Rene's freshly baked bread with 'Shandon Bleu Cheese Dip', Amy's delicious pasta salad, and a bottle of Rubicon Estate Cask Cabernet 2002 that we have had stowed in Sandpiper's wine cellar since leaving California. It was a real treat for everyone.
Also, there was the big Scrabble Battle with Team Sandpiper taking the wins of 2 for 2. Lots of strange new words that we have never seen before from Shriaz. like "rawl", "meer", and such. But they were quick to call us our bluff on our words like "da" and "fram". Picky, picky....
We awoke at sunrise this morning to a really loud engine noise outside. We popped our heads out the hatch to see a large seaplane landing next to Sandpiper. It went right up on the beach and disgorged its passengers for a day on Whitehaven Beach. Later on, all of the larger charter boats started arriving and ferrying their passengers ashore for the afternoon. Then all kinds of other smaller charters started to arrive and anchor all around us. Further down the beach, helicopters landed their passengers, then flew off to return later in the day to take them back to their hotels.
The beach here is very nice, with really fine white sand. We went ashore with Steve and Rene for a picnic and spent the day lounging around planning our next moves for the following week.
The beaches, and most of the islands in the Whitsunday Group, are part of a national park. So there are no buildings or businesses, except for a few small resorts, on most of them. The only island that has business is Hamilton Island. It has a large airport and lots of resorts. So we plan on missing that stop.
Tom and Amy
15 May 2007