Thursday 31st August 2023
“Global treasure – The Whitsunday islands, and their surrounding waters, are protected in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia’s first and the world’s largest World Heritage Area. After stupendous rifting and ripping of the earth’s crust, the Whitsundays islands—remnants of ancient volcanic calderas—remain as a group of more than 90 green gems now dotted in the aquamarine Coral Sea. This remarkable ecosystem, one of the world’s largest barrier reefs, is home to thousands of different species of plants and animals.”
Today we had a very early start, up at 5.15am to leave for Shute Harbour at 6am for our water taxi departure to Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. This would have been okay except I got the nervous nellies and was worried we didn’t have enough information. So after we finally were in bed at about 11.30pm, I started reading some information and took small shots of about 20 pages so David had some information. I didn’t finish until about 2:15am so that wasn’t going to allow much sleep. In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have hiked Mt Dalrymple and done a bit of planning but looks like we will have to wing it a bit.
We arrived at Shute Harbour right on 6:15am, organised the payment of parking on the EasyPark app, then went to Salty Dog to check in. We had a short briefing, not as much info as i was expecting. Oh well. We then waited to board the vessel. At about 7.20am we loaded our gear, the kayaks and then the people. It was fairly crowded. Our first drop off was South Molle Island, then Henning Island, and Chance Bay. Lots of people and gear got off at their destinations, but as many that got off, the same or more got back on with there gear.
We made it to Whitehaven Beach at about 9am. The ride here was spectacular every corner, the water was the most amazing colour, the islands were all different shapes and vegetation, we saw a whale and were on the lookout for dugongs but not today.
Whitehaven had the most beautiful white silica sands. When we hopped off David realised we had forgotten our dry bag with our paddling gear, Goggles and snorkel in the car. I quickly climbed back on the boat to ask about our options. Tim from Scamper said he could drop us stinger suits, snorkel and masks at 9.30am in the morning. Our plan had been to paddle to Hazelwood Island and snorkel today and then leave early 7.30ish tomorrow morning for our next spot to beat the crowds at some of the stops along the way. Oh well, it is not to be. I managed to convince Tim to take our car key and pick up our gear. He wasn’t too keen but was happy to try.
David wasn’t very well today, a bit too much tick poison and not enough sleep so we had an easy day. After dragging the kayak up the beach and tying it up to a tree, then setting up our tent, we went for a walk to Whitehaven lookout via the Whitehaven Headland track to enjoy the spectacular view over Solway Passage, the blue was amazing. We had lunch up there and then David walked back to the tent for a sleep and i walked to Chance Bay via the Solway Circuit. I had a chat with some people from Caves Beach NSW and then enjoyed a swim in the most peaceful, tranquil waters. The water temperature was cool but not cold. I then walked back to camp enjoying the beautiful grass trees and cycads along the way. I saw some scrub hens, a few goanna and a noisy pitta (bird). Every rustle I heard had me looking for a snake. I returned to camp about 2.45pm. David was still feeling off, so our neighbours loaned me their mask so I could have a snorkel. The coral was beautiful colours – purple, orange, yellow and white. It was all different types and shades of these colours. Some was hard coral and others was soft coral. It was so different in shape and size. I also saw some angel fish, some very tiny silver fish and a big silver fish. I didn’t go too far as it was very low tide and I didn’t want to go out too far on my own. We then went for a short paddle. It was so beautiful. We managed pretty well but didn’t want to go too far ás the way back was against the wind and tide. We managed ok, so hopefully we will make tomorrow’s big paddle. There are about 8 others here at the camp, 4 from Germany, 2 dual citizens of Australia and Germany who now live in Melbourne and a metal detector dude who had been paid by a Swiss man to search for a wedding ring lost in the water about 4 weeks ago. We then headed up to the lookout again to watch the sunset. We enjoyed our dinner up there as well. We were entertained by the young German couple (Florian and Amelie) who sang at the lookout giving thanks and a blessing for life via a yodel tune. It was very moving. I had received a message from Scamper and they have located our bag and will drop it off in the morning. After a lot of chatting at the lookout we had dinner and came down to camp, it was like a busy caravan park out on the water, it was madness. It is now 9.25pm and we are off to sleep as we have a big day tomorrow xx
We used 4L of water today.