Another perfect sunset.
Pendana left Hamilton Island Marina a few days ago and for our departure I had decided that rather than waiting for slack tide at 9:00am we would depart earlier as to avoid the heavy boat traffic associated with this magnificent facility. If the truth be told, I do get myself just a little worked up on occasion when entering or exiting a new marina and being the planner that I am I run through virtually every scenario beforehand which generally leads to additional stress. Why I do this is beyond me. When we woke at 5:00am on the day of departure and found that we had 20-25kts of wind wanting to blow Pendana off our T-end the heart certainly started to pump and the blood pressure rose. One of my great fears is leaving poor Claire behind at the dock with no way of getting back which, while completely ridiculous, is what it is!
The plan for departure would be to have Claire let go of the bow, spring and stern lines while Abi pulls the lines in and I hold Pendana tight to the berth. Once Claire was on board and all lines were clear I decided that I would back up towards the centre of the channel to allow enough time and space to set Pendana up for the exit. As the wind was now blowing a little more than I would like (24kts) and the tide was still running out I decided to exit with a little more speed than usual to ensure rudder authority in case it was required to correct for either wind or current. As it turned out, Pendana sat in the water like a battleship and was totally unconcerned by the unforecasted +20kts of wind and if there was any current Pendana didn’t feel it. I have to ask myself why I get worked up when Pendana handles every situation perfectly. Note to self, one must relax just a little more. So says Claire!
Aerial of Hamilton Island Marina
Once outside the marina Claire took the helm and Pendana headed north towards Nara Inlet. The original plan was to head south to Shaw Island. However, this all changed when the wind decided not to play ball. As we made our way out via Dent Channel it was obvious this would be not the calm mill pond conditions we had experienced on our run south but the reverse. With the wind now peaking around 27kts and the shallow sea trying its best to intimidate, Pendana ploughed on through without a care in the world.
While on Hamilton Island we collected a friend of Abi’s called Sophie, who had flown in from Sydney to spend the holiday with us and I must say that I felt a little sorry for her and that this was her introduction to the Whitsundays. Not ideal conditions that’s for sure!
Wind at 27kts as we headed north.
As we approached Nara Inlet it was clear that there were a number of other boats with exactly the same idea as us and as such we had to jostle our way in and I must say that Claire who had entered the Inlet managed beautifully to weave Pendana through the floating flotilla of holiday makers and together we picked out the perfect spot to drop anchor.
Once anchored we decided to take the tender off and go for a spin. As mentioned before there is nothing the girls like more than riding the wake of larger boats as they pass and with pleas from three happy, excited little faces we set off out of the channel and waited for our targets to pass. Sure enough a goliath motored past at 25kts kicking up enough wake on which to surf. With great delight and shrieks of anticipation from the girls we headed for the wake. I was a little concerned that Sophie (Abi’s friend) may not in fact know that she was about to get very wet but with “Hurry up Dad!”, being yelled from the front there was no time to explain! Needless to say the end result was we all got very, very, very wet and after following the boat and repeating the process ten times it was not enough for the girls – not sure they will ever tire of this. As we approached Pendana I radioed Claire who was safely on board and asked if she could meet us on arrival with some towels.
Heading out to grab some action!
Later that day Claire decided it was time to test the new Armstrong Swim Ladders on the tender and go for a swim. Or rather, I decided it was time for Claire to test the new Armstrong Swim Ladders! As mentioned in an earlier blog the question of how one gets back into the tender once in the water had to be asked – and answered. Fortunately we found a product fit for exactly this purpose.
Swim Steps at the ready
Claire exits the water
All packed up. The ladders can be removed leaving just the supports on the tender.
In a word the steps performed remarkably well. Claire and the girls all remarked how solid they felt and were pleased we had them. Claire even said that instead of doing a commando barrel roll over the tubes she may now use the ladders when pushing the tender off shore! The Armstrong Ladders are truly a great product and if the idea of getting on and off the tender safely appeals and keeping intact some degree of elegance – instead of riding an electronic bull – then they are well worth checking out. Their website can be found at http://www.armstrongnautical.com.
After a lovely day/night in Nara Inlet we decided to try our luck and head south for Shaw Island in the morning as we were all very keen to truly get away from it all. Shaw Island is well south of Hamilton Island and outside the area where hire yachts can travel to so I for one was looking forward to a little less crowded anchorage and after a three hour run south we arrived at what was a truly magnificent island away from it all.
Beautiful Shaw Island.
Shaw Island lies south of the famous Lindeman Island and with 15kts nor-westers blowing I felt confident that our anchorage would be pleasant enough. That was, however, until we arrived, set our anchor and watched the wind climb steadily to 25kts – again! While our trusty Rocna (anchor) dug in we decided to ignore the weather and head to shore, only problem was by the time we had boarded the tender we were in decent rolling seas which were not abating. As we approached the shore the rollers threw up so much sand that making sighting the bottom impossible. Not knowing if we were going to arrive on sand, stones, coral or worse I decided that in favour of keeping the tender in one piece we should return. As we returned to Pendana the seas were larger the wind stronger and to tell the truth trying to grab our rails from the tender as we pulled alongside Pendana was near impossible in the swell so Claire did what all fantastic women would do and jumped in the water and swam the twenty feet to Pendana’s ladders and climbed aboard. To cheers from all aboard the tender at her heroism we then approached Pendana and simply threw Claire the lines. All sorted.
After a relaxing coffee and chat Abi reminded us that we were meeting a friend of hers in Cid Harbour tomorrow morning at 10am (a three hour run north). As the wind was increasing and Cid Harbour would provide protection from the nor-westers we decided to up anchor and head back from virtually where we had come from in the morning. Not our best day.
On arrival at Cid Harbour last light was upon us so we quickly set our anchor and as an apology to the girls for what was a bit of an odd day (not for me mind you as I love being underway) I was forced to watch Hairspray the musical with the girls! For the second time in one week! You see, it’s not always perfect!!
PS: My plans for anchorages and islands to visit is now totally out of the window and decisions of where to go are made in the morning to take into account wind direction.