Stonehaven (Hook Island) was our fourth nights anchorage while on the boat. We arrived early in the morning from Cid Harbour and spent the day snorkelling, fishing and relaxing. It was very calm and sunny while we were there - just perfect!!!! :) It was nice to have not many other boats around.
Stonehaven has protection from north-east to south winds. There are plenty of morings and anchor space too. Stonehaven has good snorkelling and fishing conditions. Ther are also some beaches in the bay and a camping ground at Baird Point.
The sand is almost a pure white and is complemented by the clear blue ocean. This is a must see. We had to take a sailboat and then a raft to get to the island. Remember you can not take the sand with you. We were told to use a wetsuit since there were jellyfish or some type or stinging fish at that time. None of us used a suit and we were not stung, I guess we didn't go to the deeper water.
We spent our seventh night on the boat at Hamilton Island in the marina. We spent some time down at the resort pool drinking cocktails and relaxing then had dinner at a nice restaurant.
Hamilton Island was our first real brush with civilisation since getting on our boat. The sleep wasn't too good since the nightclub is right next to the marina and the music played till the early hours of the morning...but the water was calm and our ear plugs worked well. ;)
The marina at Hamilton Island gives great protection in very strong winds from all directions. It is a bit difficult to drive into a marina berth if you're a beginner, anchoring at another island will be easier if you're worried about this.
This beautiful beach was so white it almost hurt my eyes. We were told they use the sand in hour glasses because it is so fine.
The fish close to the beach came very close to us, some of them started to nibble on our legs...
From Airlie Beach you can also do trips out to the Great Barrier Reef. I went out with Fantasea Cruises to a pontoon called Reefworld. Once there you can dive, snorkell, go out in a semi-submersable or just chill out. Price is about 150 Australian Dollars.
There is also a large underwater observation lounge were you can watch what's happening underwater and view the sealife. Mind you - fish aren't the only things in the water.
Here's Cap'n Phil taking charge of Ragamuffin. The yacht is an ex-racing boat which has a very good record in the Sydney-Hobart races. The crew let [passengers get involved in the sailing by letting take the wheel for a while or by organinising competions on the winches for raising sails.
A view one way along the beach from our picnic site. Doesn't that sand look so great. However there is a problem with the sand being so fine - it can easily get into any machinery and cause severe problems. Before we were allowed back on the boat we had to ensure that we had washed off all traces of sand.
Go diving! I conned my mum and dad into letting me do this - I was a bit scared but I didn't let on!
To start with, you have a practice run in the pool, to see how you like it and whether the people think you are going to be okay at it. Then, into the deep blue sea!!
Long Island is not far from The Great Barrier Reef, so we saw lots of coral, beautiful fishies, and some not so beautiful ones! I had a rather scary time of it when I was swimming along and my flipper hit something behind me. I saw everyone else in front of me turn and look, then a bloke from behind me quickly swam up in front of me and pointed, and I had hit a big sting ray! I wish I had the camera!!
When you are in the Whitsundays you should really have a go at snorkelling... It is fantastic! I had never snorkelled before and it took me a little while to get used to the breathing but once I got going I was amazed! The fish and other sea life are amazing!!!
Of all the places I went snorkelling I most enjoyed Manta Ray Bay on Hook Island...it was very clear there when we visited. Dumbell Island was good too because we saw some clown fish (like Nemo!) which we didn't see anywhere else... :)
It's a good idea not to take bread down with you when you go snorkelling...the fish are likely to swarm you and you could get bitten...one of our group had teeth marks in his finger from a fish biting him! Ouch!
We spent our second last night on the boat at Marcona Inlet (Hook Island). It was well protected from the north/north-east winds that we started to get so we ended up getting a good sleep. Macona Inlet gives good protection from all winds but westerly and north-westerly winds...
There are no morings available at Macona Inlet but there is plenty of space for anchoring. There are also plenty of beaches to explore if you want to have a look around...