Batfish crazy!

WHITSUNDAYS: BEST OF THE REST

We’ve spent nearly a month in the Whitsundays. After a few days in the less-frequented southern islands, several rain-soaked days in Cid Harbour and a week checking out the jewels of the Whitsundays via the Ngaro Whitsunday sea trail, we spent the last few days covering off on the best of the rest.

With the weather improving and the trade winds still blowing, we took the opportunity to check out some of the really popular anchorages: Stonehaven and Butterfly Bay at the north end of Hook Island, and Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island. We had a few days at Airlie Beach to catch up with Andy’s mate Ben, and spent a couple of nights in Gloucester Passage at the northern end of the Whitsundays.

At every stop we’ve had amazing interactions with nature, watched amazing sunsets and moonrises, and hung out with amazing people. A picture says a thousand words, so here is the “best of the rest” in photos:

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Snorkelling with big batfish in Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island…
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…and a cheeky seagull!
Checking out the rocks that maybe give Stonehaven its name?
Another dip in a waterfall (Stonehaven)
SCUBA diving in Butterfly Bay. The viz wasn’t the best, but once we settled into the dive, we saw some great stuff, including a big wobbegong (pictured), painted crayfish, and hawksbill turtles.
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Hanging out with Bert or Myrtle, the friendly resident turtle at Stonehaven
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Checking out the Airlie Beach markets.
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Great sailing up to Gloucester Island with the code zero up.
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Sundowners and dinner at Monty’s resort.
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Linking up with our friends Anita and Pierre on Xamala, and sailing lessons in their dinghy. (photo credit: Pierre)

a beach combing echidna…

…and a kookaburra with a cool haircut!

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Giving some stranded fisherman a tow when they flashed their V-sheet at us.
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and enjoying more gorgeous sunsets (this one was at Stonehaven).

Phew! Never a dull moment on the Alpha Odyssey.

Motoring through the Gloucester Passage officially ended our time in “the 100 magic miles” of the Whitsundays. Cyclone Debbie did alot of damage, but, according to billboards around Airlie Beach and on the road to Proserpine, they are “open for business”. The islands are slowly recovering. In amongst the deadfall there is now lots of tiny green shoots and eucaplyptus trees look fuzzy like they do after bushfires with their coats of new growth. Under water, the outer reefs fared ok, while the fringing reefs in exposed bays on the islands bore the brunt of the cyclone. In Butterfly Bay, we spoke to a dive boat to find out where the good spots were and they said they were still trying to figure that out. But newspaper reports have said that local officials were considering various coral regeneration projects: coral gardening, biorock (which is an artificial means of restoring coral structure), and electro-mineral accretion (which is the same thing but you just zap it a bit). It will definitely take time, but the broken bits of the Whitsundays are on the mend, and the magic still shines through.

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The Tateyama Maru which was wrecked onto Gloucester Island during the cyclone.

We are currently anchored in Upstart Bay as we transit to Townsville.

Shout outs this week to the staff of the Prosperine post office. We finally got our passport photos taken and the Indonesian visa paperwork sent away; and to Ben for the use of his car and the vanilla vodka!

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