Akuna Bay Cruising Club

Latitude Dancer & Dionysus....Part 4 (we made it)

Wednesday 02 August, 2006

Friday July 7th, we flew into Mackay at about 5.30pm to continue the journey north, again accompanied by the Dionysus crew, David and Vivienne, this time with their daughter Samantha and her girlfriend Megan. Our friends Paul and Jenell Milsted arrived on a later flight to join us for the trip to Hamilton Island.

Saturday saw the girls shopping for provisions, while I collected and stowed our new inflatable and motor, which replaced the one stolen at Pearl Bay. With Sunday weather conditions fairly favourable we refueled before leaving Mackay for Laguna Quays, about 40 miles north, which would be our last stopover before Hamilton.

During a lunch stopover at Newry Island, we contacted the Laguna Quays Marina and were advised that the tide was not suitable for our arrival that afternoon, we decided to spend the night on anchor at Newry and head for Laguna with the morning high tide.
This was certainly the right move, as the entry channel to Laguna is quite tricky and it would have been unpleasant to tackle it at a low tide. The marina at Laguna is fantastic, but very remote, nothing there except the marina. The actual resort is about two kilometers away, easily accessible by their free shuttle bus which we took advantage of for a very casual (read 'slow service') lunch. But we weren't in a rush. Dinner was pizza at the marina 'bar', another unique experience and a lot of fun.

Tuesday morning and we left Laguna at about 11.00am, on a high tide, for the last leg across Repulse Bay, around Cape Conway to Hamilton Island. A simple run of about 25 miles, in almost perfect conditions, saw us arrive at our pre-arranged berths in Hamilton Harbour at about 12.40pm.

Smiles, hugs and handshakes all round, a couple of glasses of Champagne, we'd made it.

Unfortunately the weather hadn't finished with us yet. With constant strong winds and intermittent rain over the next few days, we barely left the marina, except for a brief run on 'Dionysus' to Whitehaven Beach and return, followed by run to Airlie Beach and return on 'Latitude Dancer'. Paul & Jenell flew out of Hamilton on Saturday 15th and the 'Dionysus' crew flew out on Sunday 16th. 'Latitude Dancer', with Keith and Jenny were now alone on Hamilton Island, in less than perfect weather conditions.

Still waiting the 'perfect Whitsunday weather' and suffering a mild case of 'cabin fever', we booked out of Hamilton Marina on Wednesday 20th and headed across a very bumpy Whitsunday Passage to Airlie Beach again, where we secured a very comfortable berth at the new Abel Point Marina.

On Friday, Brian Budden flew into Proserpine to join us for a few days, which started with a Graeme Connors concert at the 'Proserpine Cultural and Entertainment Centre', a most memorable and enjoyable evening. Unfortunately the weather for the next few days was still very much against us, with rain and strong winds making boating a little unpleasant. We did however venture out a couple of times and did a little exploring, including Woodwark Bay, Nara Inlet and Cid Harbour.

Family commitments had us flying home again on Thursday 27th July (Jetstar at $109 each from Proserpine to Sydney, not bad eh!)

For the record, to date we have used 5,900 litres of diesel at an average price of $1.58 per litre and averaged 68 litres per hour over the trip so far. Strangely enough there is a surcharge of 8.5 cents per litre in Queensland, if you boat does not have Queensland registration.

"Latitude Dancer" is now comfortably berthed at Abel Point Marina for the next couple of months, during which time we'll be exploring the Whitsunday Islands with several groups of friends and relatives who will be flying up at various times. We may even travel a little further north before heading south for home sometime in October.

It has been a wonderful adventure, lots of great times and wonderful memories, as well as the thing we have learnt along the way......AND....it's not over yet.

If anyone out there actually reads this, I'd love to know about it.
Feedback or comments welcome via kmturner@bigpond.net.au

Happy Boating
Keith & Jenny Turner
'Latitude Dancer'