Sailing the Whitsundays (part 2)… and the camera overboard incident!

by Anna Buckley

IMG_8104[1]Yesterday was a big wake up call. We’d raced between islands, covered vast amounts of water, sailed on very high seas for 3 and 4 hours at a time. We broke the day up by taking the dinghy to the dazzling beaches of Whitehaven, climbed to the top of the lookout, quickly checked out the national park and sped back to the place where we’d beached the dinghy. We needed to hurry if we were to reach our destination before our scheduled arrival time of 4 pm.  Then, with only minutes to spare before having to set sail again, disaster struck… As my husband was trying hurriedly to jump from dinghy to yacht his CAMERA DROPPED OVERBOARD… irretrievable in very deep water.

He’d been taking all the shore shots and images of the gorgeous natural landscape. I’d chosen to take the food and people pics and generally document life on board. I didn’t want to take my camera on the dinghy as I had no ziplock bag or waterproof pack to carry it from ship to shore. It was full of thousands of photo’s that I could ill afford to lose. We had no computer to download the images for safe keeping and now all his pictures, half the story of our holiday, were gone. I wanted to cry.

But it was more than that…. we still had our fast paced city heads on. We needed to slow down and not attempt to do too much, get to every scenic location, document every minute of our trip. Yesterday I missed seeing whales because I was below deck trying to find my camera. By the time I’d found it the great big mammals had gone. What the hell was I thinking?
IMG_8212[1]Last night we agreed to sail in the mornings, anchor at lunch times and spend the rest of the days exploring, swimming, snorkeling, soaking up the sun… learning how to breathe again.

IMG_8098[1]And at sunrise, this morning, on a completely becalmed bay, I knew our decision was right…it was as if nature was smiling, calmly reassuring us that slowing down was the only way to truly appreciate this beautiful place.

IMG_8161[1] Before setting off I cooked. There was no toaster so this became the way I did eggs. Over breakfast we looked at the charts and agreed on the days course. We all had our jobs to do. Lulu radioed back to HQ to let them know of our days sailing plans and eventual destination. The boys checked that the equipment was in good order, I packed away the dishes and after a slow morning we raised anchor and set sail.

The mood had lightened and I felt that finally our (much more relaxed) adventure had truly begun.

IMG_8085[1] Over the next few days the weather was perfect. The dinghy took us to secret places.

IMG_8091[1]Stunning white beaches with colourful coral reefs not far from shore.

IMG_8089[1] We swam in clear blue water and saw turtles, dolphins, stingrays and bright tropical fish and not a single photo because the sightings were brief and I wasn’t going to miss a moment of the magic by looking through a lens.

IMG_8109[1]I escaped the kitchen and got the boys to cook the pork and fennel sausages on the BBQ instead of me being stuck in the galley below deck.

IMG_8107[1]We had simpler, slower lunches.

IMG_8113[1]And kept the blue theme going with easy afternoon drinks.

IMG_8217[1]No phones, computers, or TVs to taunt us at days end…but slow sunsets, simple meals and peaceful early nights.
IMG_1576So by day six we decided to bring a camera to shore. Lulu was prepared to wrap her phone in plastic, tuck it into her bikini top and hope the dinghy would get us (and her device) safely to shore….

It did and this is the view, at the top of a very steep hill, of the beautiful islands we’d been sailing around for the last six days…and in the distance a bigger island with hotels, a small town and a sheltered marina, Hamilton Island, our destination for tomorrow night.

Was I really ready for people, so soon, when we were just getting used to this laid back lifestyle…?

Thanks for reading, cheers, Anna x

Coming up next…a surprisingly pleasant day on the Island.

Anna Buckley Books

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