Tweet Manookatoo Adventures: Making tracks to Airlie...beyond the yellow brick road

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Making tracks to Airlie...beyond the yellow brick road

Leaving the First Mate on the dock at Mackay Marina, the captain cast off his lines at 8:20 on Wednesday morning and cleared the harbour at 8:30 am, cruising north east in perfect conditions and arriving at Brampton island at 11:45. He enjoyed an afternoon walk on the beach near the now-closed resort, with a stern warning from security not to go above high tide mark. The resort has been closed for a few years and approval has been granted for a 5 star development but to date no work has started. Later that afternoon he had drinks aboard "Lady Margarita" with Reg and Kerrie, heading back to Manookatoo before dark for dinner - a solo favourite chicken satay. Meanwhile the first mate enjoyed a day "in town" shopping, returning home to Kirsty's for a lazy afternoon, cooking pasta with prawns for dinner and watching "The Bachelorette" - thatwouldn't happen on the boat!!!
Lindeman Island - closed for repairs
On Thursday, the captain raised the anchor at 5 30 - first light - and headed for Dent passage, passing a number of islands including: Linne, Goldsmith,Thomas and Shaw before diverting to take a look at Lindeman island. Like Brampton it has been closed since it was Club Med and has recently been purchased by a Chinese company with approval to develop a 550 million 5 and 6 star resort with completion due in 2021. He cruised into the well marked Channel and up to the jetty, which was in a state of disrepair; the old resort looks ok but deserted and after yesterday's experience he did a u turn and headed north again. He completed the 12 n/miles to pick up a courtesy mooring in Dent Passage, near the entrance to Hamilton island marina, but after enquiring he found it costs $15 per hour to go into the marina by dingy, so he dropped the mooring and headed up to Gulnare Inlet, 3 n/m north, arriving there at 12:50 and anchoring for the night. He spent some time that afternoon boat cleaning then enjoyed a cruise up the inlet before sunset. Meanwhile, the first mate visited the Art Gallery in Mackay, enjoying all the new exhibitions, then headed back to the apartment for another lazy afternoon followed by dinner with Kirsty and a workmate in the local waterfront restaurant! 
Beer by the water
Friday was footy finals day, so the captain was keen to find a location with television reception! Due to the narrow entrance and shallow passage at Gulnare Inlet he waited for the rising tide before departing just after 8am, passing Heading Island on the port side, continuing on to South Molle Island, picking up a courtesy mooring in Bauer Bay to do some minor boat repairs for an hour, then arriving at Airlie Beach just before midday, anchoring outside the Whitsundays Sailing Club. Later that afternoon he enjoyed a "well earned beer" and chatted with a couple of sailors at the club, before returning to Manookatoo to watch the footy while enjoying seafood marinara. Meanwhile the first mate enjoyed a shopping day with Kirsty, including a Japanese lunch, followed by ELTON JOHN! A wonderful night of singing and dancing was enjoyed. 
On Saturday Manookatoo remained anchored at Airlie and the captain cruised ashore in the dinghy to explore the local markets and shops. The first mate cheered Kirsty on as she swam in the local corporate marathon, then all eyes were tuned to the television to watch the football! The "right" teams won in both AFL and NRL, so everyone was happy. 
On Sunday the first mate and Kirsty drove to Airlie, meeting the captain in the dinghy at the boat ramp to be transported to Manookatoo for an overnight cruise. We anchored at North Molle Island for lunch before Kirsty and the first mate enjoyed an afternoon swim, then cruised around to South Molle, pulling up a mooring in Bauer Bay, just near the old, dilapidated resort and jetty. We cruised ashore in the dinghy for a closer look; apparently the resort buildings, abandoned already but destroyed in Cyclone Debbie, are full of asbestos so the whole area has been fenced off. Even the walk to the lookout is wrecked, so we returned to Manookatoo for sundowners and a lovely pizza dinner. 
Daydream Island - closed for repairs
Monday was another glorious morning, so we dropped the mooring straight after breakfast and cruised across to Daydream Island. The resort here is also closed, due to Cyclone Debbie, although work was due to begin the next day to refurbish it ready for re-opening in 2018. We tried snorkeling at Sun-lovers' Bay but the choppy conditions made it not a pleasant experience, so we cruised around and dropped anchor near the resort and swam ashore there, while the captain rowed the dinghy ashore to try to fix the engine. Once again, security people approached to tell us not to go past the high water mark! Returning to Manookatoo, we enjoyed lunch before returning Kirsty to Airlie Beach for the drive back to Mackay, while we headed out again, keen to find new places to explore in the "100 magic miles" 
(100 magic miles of the Great Barrier Reef: the Whitsunday Islands by David Colfelt)
The Captain's Log: Mackay to Port of Airlie
Distance 74.7 nautical miles
Fuel 82.4 litres
Cruising time 13 hours 30 minutes

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