After being back in town for a couple days, enough was enough and we needed to go out on an adventure again. We have been waiting for packages to arrive so we can plan our journey down south, however relying on others, we decided that we needed to have some fun.
It is race week in Airlie beach and this means there are a lot of boats. Heaps and heaps of the floating money suckers. It is an impressive sight watching them race around in the bay, however a little peace and quite and escape the rat race is the whole reason we bought Nandji. Therefore we wanted to escape. So we headed out in the 20 knot plus wind and made our way across the passage deciding to find a mooring at Butterfly bay for a day or so and let this bad weather pass. We had not been there yet so we thought it would be perfect for a break.
We prefer a mooring in bad weather as I feel that there is no need to worry about anything then. It can be blowing 30 knots outside and you have the comfort knowing that you are safe and the anchor isn’t dragging.
Butterfly bay on the north side of Hook Island is a beautiful protected anchorage amongst a marine park. A lovely stop off to wait out bad weather. But we were not the only ones with this idea. As we made our way through the narrows between Hook and Hayman islands and begun rounding the point, the masts of 12 other vessels appeared. Opening up the trusty “100 magic miles” guide to cruising the Whitsundays, it told us that there is in fact 12 moorings. Nine in the most western bay and three in the next.
As we were slowly motoring in for a closer inspection, a charter catamaran with a group of rowdy people was approaching the same bay from the north. They were making good speed and a much quicker boat under motor. As the winds were blowing 20 plus knots we were not moving quickly into it. We could see that they were racing to get into the bay first as moorings are first in best dressed.
The following bay over we could see 2 boats moored out of a choice of 3 moorings. Knowing that all the moorings were occupied in the first two bays, we thought that was the only one left. However with this catamaran racing us into the first two bays, we had to play this right.
We continued on path to the most western anchorage, where the nine moorings lay. The catamaran followed and caught up next to us. We waved, but didn’t receive the same greeting back. It is common courtesy to wave back, especially on a boat. Every time you pass another vessel the occupants on both sides are checking out each other’s rigs and you wave. It is not hard to lift your hand in the air and shake it around. Instead when our hands were flapping around above our heads we were greeted with stares and cold shoulders. This is game on we said to each other.
The catamaran over took us and even cut into our line, forcing us to slow down even more or change course. We slowed and let them power off ahead. Once they were roughly 100m in front of us and were close enough to nearly realise there was no more room, we turned sharply and hoisted the head sail, aiming at the third bay with hopefully the remaining mooring.
With the 20 knot breeze now on the beam, full head sail flying, we took off like a drag car out of the gates. So long suckers! Catch us now!!
The short 500m sail was over before you could realize what had just happened and we pulled down the head sail. Sure enough, the one remaining mooring was vacant and waiting for us.
Five minutes later our friends motored into the bay next to us with nothing to find. We waved again, instead this was not a hello wave, it was good bye.