Arlie Beach and Whitsunday Islands

Trip Start Apr 16, 2007
Trip End Jul 2008

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

After a good days driving we pulled into Arlie Beach, the gateway to the 74 Whitsunday Islands at around 8pm and made Flametree Tourist Village located in a bird filled ecological sanctuary bordering a National Park our home for the next few days.

Being only a couple of days after the Easter Bank holiday, trips to the Whitsunday Islands were fairly busy, but we managed to find a couple of spots for a 3 days/2 nights cruise on 'Enid' a Classic 21 meter sailing ship, setting sail in a couple of days - perfect!

We set sail for the Whitsunday Islands early Thursday moring. Enid was a beautiful old classic sailing ship which won the Sydney to Hobart Race in 1963, 65, 67. We had a cracking group of people on board, about 19 of us in total and 3 crew.

The first day we cruised around the Whitsunday's and headed for Whitsunday Island - Whitehaven Beach. The weather was beautiful, a superb day to be stuck on a yacht!! We arrived at Whitehaven Beach in the afternoon. With crystal clear waters and 95% Silica sands (only NASA are allowed to remove any sand!) stretching for over 7 Km, you could see why Whitehaven was the most photographed beach in Australia it was surely one of the most stunning. We also had the 'misfortune' of having to camp on the beach for the night with 2 others from the ship - not sure how we were going to cope!

The following day saw more cruising around the Whitsunday's whilst sooaking up the rays. We stopped to visit the Hill Inlet, a stunning cove at the Northern end of Whitehaven Beach, followed by a couple of superb snorkelling stop offs including one at the back of Hammon Island. Here we swam with some huge and amazing fish, including Batfish and some masive Maori Wrasse, one names Elvis - he was 4-5ft long! A tad intimidating at times!!

That night on the yacht saw more drinking and debauchary, the goon juice was a' flowing! We made camp for the night on Hook Island.

We visited a couple of other excellent snorkelling spots on the final day. The sun disappeared but the wind increased to 25 knots which was perfect for the sail back to Arlie Beach - the 'Iron Spinnacker' aka the engine was put to bed and we managed a modest 9 knots on the home leg, not to mention a good 45 degree tilt on the ship, excellent stuff, great to see Enid in all her glory on the home leg.

Saturday night saw Enid and crew meet for final farewell drinks in the town, however, not before we had put the Arlie Beach Locksmith services to the test - somebody managed to lock the keys in the camper van!! After being given a crash course into breaking and entering vehicles (v impressive!), we made it out to to the farewell drinks which involved yet more alcohol abuse and some serious dancing as the night went on.

We made some great friends on Enid and both had a cracking 3 days and would no doubt be staying in touch with a few of the usual suspects....
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