Day 71 Whitsundays to Townsville
Our last morning on Coral Trekker, and at least it had the grace to dawn bright and sunny especially as it wasn't much past dawn when we were all woken by Ian starting the engines - not that we'd had a lie in on any of the days. We were always up at around seven as it was too noisy to stay down below once the engines started, but it was even earlier today as two of the guys had a ferry to catch to Hamilton Island and then a plane to Sydney and our itinerary was wrong from the published one they had been given; in fairness nothing much was like the info published but that's another story.... The sail back was without doubt the best of the trip with the mainsail hoisted along with the genoa and running jib, the sun shining and a reasonable swell that it was a shame that we had to dock earlier than we should have. We all got a chance to hoist the sails as well, no tacking but with a square rigger that's not something you want to do. So by 10:15 we were back at Abel Point Marina saying our goodbyes, picking up the car and on our way to Townsville. The journey itself, some 200 km was uneventful and uninspiring. In hindsight had I known in advance how boring these drives would be with road speeds of 100kph and nothing much in the way of scenery I would have elected to fly more. We had a bit of a challenge finding the resort in Townsville as we had no directions but we were more than happy with it when we did. This was one I had researched myself and therefore the standard was not guaranteed by Tailor Made; actually all of the ones I have found so far have been good unlike a couple of recommended ones which I wouldn't stay in again, maybe I should set myself up as a travel consultant and start career number 3... The resort is set up motel style as are a lot over here, set around lush tropical vegetation with a central pool and restaurant complex all set on the Esplanade on the edge of the city. There is also a nice BBQ area with a gas BBQ which is free for guests use so that's what we did; popped to the local shop and bought some salad stuff and a couple of nice sirloins and along with a very nice bottle of Wolf Blass whom we had heard interviewed on the radio on the way up, had ourselves our first Aussie BBQ.
After dinner we went for a walk to The Strand, the main beach which is a ten minute walk away. It is a lovely beach with another complex of water parks which are again free to use but this place also has a netted off area in the sea which enables people to swim without a stinger suit, and they certainly were even at night as it was all flood lit. The UK holiday resorts certainly need to take some lessons from over here. Also it was so nice seeing kids down there on the beach having fun, and I do mean kids, junior school age and the like from local houses without adults, just like we used to be able to do before the world went mad.
Long drive ahead of us today to Port Douglas and as is typical it is wonderfully sunny outside, but we have just heard on the news that storms are forecast for Northern Queensland, sounds about right for it to deteriorate again as we get there. Also just been watching advertising for the Whitsundays showing beautiful clear waters for snorkelling, not been our experience, either they have been doctored or the sea is suffering badly from the results of the flooding and the cyclones, either way it is terribly disappointing to have come all this way and not be able to fully appreciate the wonders of the deep in glorious technicolour .