Up the coast to Airlie Beach

We arrived in the hot & sunny Whitsundays a couple of days ago after an 11-day sail up from Hobart in Tasmania. We were delayed a little on the way due to many wind holes; the Bass Strait again being kind to us. On this leg we’ve sailed across it three times, each time the wind being relatively gentle and excellent for sailing. I’m told it’s usually rather more enthusiastic!

It was mostly upwind for the first few days; I may have spoken before on this blog about the (un)comfort of these boats upwind!  A few days before Airlie Beach however a major front passed northwards up the coast, passing over us at night. We went from tacking upwind, to a slight backing (moving anticlockwise) of the wind direction, to a dropping of wind and some drizzle (all accompanied by an excellent light show of continuous lighting coming closer), to — 10 minutes after my watch went to bed and the other watch came on — a sudden increase to 30 knots of wind from the opposite direction and pouring rain! Altogether an exciting night, and the last few days were then downwind under spinnaker, sailing up the coast behind the shelter of the Great Barrier Reef.

Now I have some days off here in the tropical paradise (it says here in this brochure) of the Whitsundays, with plans — along with a lot of boat jobs! — of visiting the reefs, some skydiving and maybe some diving or snorkelling.

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Coming in at twilight (photo by Clipper)

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View from our balcony!

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