Welcome to Zenitude’s blog where you can follow us while we travel slow in our Lagoon catamaran. We update this blog frequently when we are cruising to let family and friends know where we are. Check the complete story of our adventures that started in 2006 when Zenitude became our home and cruising our way of life. Graciela and Oscar

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

A windy week in the Whitsundays before heading to Maggie

Ready to leave Mackay we kept waiting for a nice week of calm sunny weather to spend time around the Whitsundays. What we were getting was beautiful sunny days with strong winds or nice calm days with lots of rain, So, we waited, we were not in a hurry.

All in vain, there seemed to be no change in the weather pattern and finally we left on the 5th of July when forecast showed 3 reasonable days ahead with a strong southerly change arriving on the early hours of the 4th day.  This was good enough to get going, enjoy a bit of time at the islands and find cover to hide from the strong winds.

We headed to Shaw Island where finally were able to install our re-vamped sail bag back in place on a very quiet morning. With no wind it was easy to raise the full main sail at anchor and attach the bag properly to the boom, refit the lazy jacks and reef lines and then drop the main sail nicely in place.  It was still hard work and it took us about 4 hours to get it all done.

Looking at the weather forecast and seeing the strong southerly change winds would arrive in the middle of the night we decided to hide in Hamilton Marina. Good decision. When the winds arrived, at 4:00 in the morning we were tightly docked and secure. Later on a fellow cruiser that took refugee in Mackay Marina reported wind gusts of over 50 knots at the docks when the front was passing.
Zenitude in Hamilton Marina

It was a windy week in the Whitsundays and at the end it was time to move on. Our next destination is Townsville where we are receiving old friends from overseas in August. With that in mind we departed on the 14th of July with great weather for the trip north.

We sailed short legs to places we've been before. The first stop was Gloucester Island but rather than stopping in the south of the island nearby the resorts as we've done several times we decided to try the northwest part of the island. Our cruising guide mentions this as a popular spot for fishing trawlers but it is isolated and the only trawler that was there left before sunset. The place was all to ourselves. The guide also mentions this area is prone to wind 'bullets', this is wind that accelerates as it comes down from the mountain.  I must say the guide is right, not likely we'll try that anchorage again. We were lucky that eventually the wind completely died and we had a good night of sleep.

At first light the next day we sailed towards Cape Upstart and the day after to Cape Bowling Green. Two great stops on the way north. It was great to confirm that with the new engines and the calm weather we could have skipped the second stop and reach our final destination with enough daylight even in these short daylight days. We couldn't have done that with the old engines. However, Cape Bowling Green looked so appealing in the beautiful sunny day that we decided to stop there anyway and enjoy the afternoon.

At anchor in Cape Bowling Green

The sun smiles before disappearing in Cape Bowling Green 
We woke up at 6:00 AM for the final leg towards Magnetic Island to find a thick fog with no visibility. As there were north easterlies in the forecast for the afternoon we decided to go anyway hoping the fog would raise with the sun. It was the strangest thing, as soon as we started moving we left the fog behind, it seemed that the fog wast just over the inside of the cape.

Before noon we were approaching Magnetic Island (Maggie for the locals) and soon after we arrived at Horseshoe Bay. We found the familiar place as beautiful as ever, dropped anchor and relaxed, planning to be here for quite some time.

A perfect day at Horseshoe Bay

A perfect sunset at Maggie