Blue Water Dreaming
From Whitsundays to Townsville - Sailing with Friends
Stonehaven - Snorkeling in the Cold -  16 to 17 August 2014
When the weather cleared three days after our friends Emi and Eduardo arrived from Argentina we left the marina and made our way, a little painfully against the wind, towards Stonehaven where we grabbed a mooring.

Even though it was not such a great day they were very enthusiastic about snorkelling and bravely went on their way while we watched from deck.
Emi and Eduardo - Overcast but calm weather in Stonehaven
Black Island with Lanford in the background
Butterfly Bay - Stopping at Black and Langford Islands - 17 to 18 August 2014
Bait Reef- Befriending Napoleon Again - 18 to 19 August 2014
Arriving at Bait Reef for the second time we found Ďourí mooring free. As soon as we were safely attached to the mooring ball we jumped in the water and surely enough Napoleon was there waiting for his breakfast. Our friends were in charge of feeding Napoleon amazed at all the friendly fish around. It was a great day with lots of snorkelling as well in this incredible beautiful reef.  
Emi feeding Napoleon - Bait Reef
Bait Reef
Hook Reef- At Anchor in Settled Weather - 19 to 20 August 2014 - (19.48.604S 149.09.211E)
With continuous settled weather we headed towards Hook Reef. It was so nice and quiet that we decided to stay overnight before continuing north towards Townsville. Several boats were already there at anchor and some more came later. Still it was quiet and we had a great time.

We woke up next morning to find the weather was warm even at the early morning hours. As our guests were getting ready for a morning snorkelling before leaving, an unfortunate accident left Emi complaining of strong pain in her left hip. Feeling sorry for her as this was her last chance to snorkel the reef we raised anchor and left towards Magnetic Island in Townsville.
Butterfly bay is an uninhabited bay surrounded by the green hillsides of Hook Island and is spectacular. It is a designated green zone area under the Whitsunday Islands National Park protecting the extensive reef here, a great place for snorkelling.

Again our friends were soon ready to take to the water and explore this magical area. It was a shame the water was cold and I didnít feel very keen to follow them with my underwater camera.
Zenitude in Butterfly Bay
Magnetic Island - Arriving in Horshoe Bay - 20 to 22 August 2014 - (19.06.81S 146.51.61E)
The trip from Hook Reef to Magnetic Island was the first overnight sailing trip for our friends who were great first timer crew.

We had good sailing in ESE 10 to 15 knots until havoc struck when the topping lift broke loose. It happened when a piece in the boom that holds the topping lift broke. We managed to lower the sail with the boom resting on top of the bimini structure. Luckily it was very calm at the time and we were able to re-lift the boom by using 2 shackles attached to the end of the boom. By the time we finished and the boom was secured again it was night time, the wind had died down and we decided not to raise the main sail again until reviewing the fix in daylight.

Our fist timer crew was smart enough to stay out of the way and let us work in the middle of our small emergency. After a night without further incidents we arrived in beautiful Horseshoe Bay before noon.
Sunrise during my watch
By now poor Emi was suffering strong pain from her fall the previous day but somehow she managed to transfer herself into the dinghy to go exploring Magnetic Island.

We went on shore to lovely Horseshoe Bay and had the best ice cream in years. We found there is an Italian family in the island that owns a restaurant and makes ice cream the Italian way with a variety of very yummy flavours. 
Emi and Edu in lovely Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay
Townsville - A Time to Say Good Bye - 22 to 29 August 2014
It is just 12 miles from Horseshoe Bay in Magnetic Island to Townsville and we decided to go there on Friday so that Emi could see a doctor and find out if anything serious needed attention.

It was finally feeling like summer when arriving at Breakwater Marina in Townsville. We had a hard time to find water deep enough to make out the entrance channel until we realized there are leading lights. It was the low tide and we almost run aground trying to find deep waters on the way in. Very friendly staff in the marina helped us with docking.  

A visit to the doctor with subsequent x-ray determined there were no broken bones and Emi just needed some painkillers and time for the pain to subside. This was not the best way to end her vacation but at least she could expect things to get better before facing the long flight back home.
One of the things high on the list for our friends was a visit to a wild life reserve, so on Saturday we headed to Billabong Sanctuary where we spent a wonderful day feeding and learning habits of Australian wildlife.

This park is very well organized with shows and talks scheduled in a way that allows you to cover all the park animals in a relaxed and enjoyable way. Itís been a long time since we visited one of these parks; it was nice to do this again.
Billabong Sanctuary Wild Life - Slide Show
Next day we all went for a walk around Rock Pool, an interesting public salt water swimming pool with picnic and park facilities for kids. It was a bit windy and not many people were around but quite a good place for families to hang about with their kids.
Rock Pool is not far from the Jezzine Barracks and Kissing Point area where we walked along the coastal boardwalk.

Here you can appreciate aboriginal as well as non-aboriginal artwork. Some of the artwork addresses the military history of the site and the important role of Townsville in time of war.

Rockpool in Townsville
We climbed to the top of Kissing Point where there is a fort with observation decks that have incredible views over to Magnetic Island.

We spent a bit of time reading some of the many brass plaques describing significant people and events during WWII.

Until now we didnít realize the importance role that Townsville played in various wars over time.
Soon after it was time to say good bye to our friends. Sadly we let them go as they headed towards Sydney for a couple of days stay before going back home in Buenos Aires. For us it was time to  finish various routine boring tasks and get ready to leave the marina life, go back to Horseshoe Bay and explore Magnetic Island.
Next day the sun appeared for the first time in weeks. We left the mooring after breakfast and stopped at Black and Langford islands, before continuing to Butterfly Bay where we found a free mooring next to a pacth of good reef for our friends to enjoy a bit more snorkelling.