Life on the high seas and a few whales for good measure
We woke to another pretty day at anchor in Cid Harbour with enough cloud cover to make the decision to take the tender to shore and climb to the top of the Whitsunday Peak. This is a challenging hike up more deep stone steps than I care to remember and took us 1hour and 15minutes to get to the peak. It is apparently 470metres which doesn't seem too arduous but trust me it was not a stroll in the park. The views are magnificent and worth the effort and I was grateful that Brian carried extra water and there was a slight breeze and the cloud cover. You walk on a track that is thick with foliage and the evidence from Cyclone Debra is fierce. Torn trees and damaged vines along with huge pines thick in girth and tall literally toppled over the path. We did shimmy under some fallen growth and were grateful National Parks had finished the toppling effect by chainsawing the largest trees off the pathway. From one side of the peak you look across the Whitsunday Islands and on the other across to Hamilton Island which also took a beating but is well under way in the ‘fixing’ up phase. The regeneration will apparently take years and we liken this ‘look’ to our own Barrenjoey Headland after the fires tore through it some years ago. Whilst it is still pretty the destruction of the flora and fauna remains harshly evident. The climb down took around 1/2 hour so I was pretty pleased to return to ‘Dalwhinnie’ and enjoy a hot shower and change of clothes before we hauled up the anchor and set off for a new destination.
Lunch was on the run, spinach wraps and salad washed down with hot tea simple & delicious. The wind was increasing so our sails came out with 15knots coming from the south. We were enjoying a brisk sail when I noticed something that Brian was convinced was a log in the water. Too large I told him, as a Whale and calf surfaced and began to sigh and breath and blow off steam not too far from the hull, but too far for decent photography. We kept on that tack and travelled past Dent Island and navigated the landing planes on the Hamilton Airstrip before witnessing a display of perfect ‘partying’ from several whales in the distance. The splashes were massive and they were having a whole lot of fun. Behind us were that Mother and Calf again just moving gracefully through the water but still too far away for my lens. After an hour of heading south with the wind slamming into the sails we made a tack and right there in front of us were that Mother and Calf and this time they had enjoyed their ‘weetbix’ or something (plankton and fish perhaps) because they heaved themselves out of the water right in front of ‘Dalwhinnie’. You grab your camera and scrabble around the boat wearing a harness because in these conditions safety is everything and then you're still keeping an eye on the whales with Brian panicking that we are about to hit them and ‘phew’ at last I manage to capture them in a video on my phone but not my camera. I have decided that you need a third person just to take all the images because Whales do not pose. They come and go as they please and they are not out to please us. Regardless I did capture them swimming gracefully through the sea close to our vessel and it was magic.
It was time to hoist down the sails and find an anchoring spot for the night. We stayed in a small bay off the island of Shaw which is very close to Lindeman. Lindeman Island was a Club Med owned destination and a very popular holiday spot for families until they decided to close down back in 2012. It is a National Park and there are beautiful walks but like all the other Islands that have been closed mainly due to cyclone damage the walks are not maintained by the QPWS.