Peter set his phone alarm at 2am, silly I know, but Cape upstart is 68nm from Horseshoe Bay and we are heading into the wind on this journey. In winter the SE Trades blow consistently, sometimes light and often strongly up this coast. We will have to pick the lighter winds to go south. We left our favourite Horseshoe Bay at 2.30am just as a bright crescent moon peeped over the eastern hills. He is a comfort our cheesy, yellow moon shining a soft light over the landscape. It is no longer pitch black.
We had a calm day of motor sailing the whole way to Cape Upstart with the wind no more than 5-6knts. We saw two groups of whales, one lot quite close slapping their flippers out of the water. Very exciting! As we motored into the anchorage at Cape Upstart we spotted a pretty little shark floating near the surface of the water. It must have been a Wobbygong of some sort.
Cape Upstart, rocky, barren and mountainous stands out from miles away and you feel like you are never going to get there. Along the north side where boats anchor for a night or two there are numerous small beaches that are populated by many beach houses. The people who own them must access their dwellings by boat as there are no roads here. We had a calm night, but by early morning bullets of wind were shooting through the area.
Cape Upstart to Gloucester Passage
|A windswept Liz steers Olivia along the northern face of Cape Upstart|
Sailing along the eastern side of the cape had us covered in spray as the bullets of wind slid along the side of the mountain. Then it would be calm for a while and soon we would notice the white horses increasing across the water and another bullet was on the way. I was glad to see the end of Cape Upstart. It lived up to it's name. We had a long day sail with variable winds from nothing to 27kts. A lumpy sea had us bouncing around uncomfortably on a starboard tack. This time Abbot Point coal loading terminal seemed to be with us forever.
On reaching Gloucester Passage we anchored off the Eco Resort on the northern beach and had a beautifully calm night with 8 other boats.
Gloucester Passage to Airlie Beach
|Peter steers Olivia through Gloucester Passage|
We were going to stay a day here, but thought better of it as the wind was light and we could see an opportunity to sail to Airlie Beach. Besides we have spent quite a bit of time here one way or another so we have seen what is on offer here. The wind did not reach more than 12 knts so we sailed our zig zag way down to Airlie Beach. Of course the wind was coming from exactly the point we were wanting to go. It was very pleasant though and we are now anchored off the Whitsunday Sailing Club and tomorrow will do the laundry and stock up on some fresh provisions for the next leg of our trip.
From here we are going to slowly island hop down the coast to Yeppoon and Great Keppel Island. We have enough fuel and food for this extended trip and hope to visit the Percy Islands which we did not visit on our trip north four years ago. Four Years!! I can't believe it!
|Shag Island or Passage Islet Gloucester Passage|