George the Batfish
Vernon and I spent a few days exploring the northern side of Hook Island with its bays, beaches and snorkeling spots. On the way back to Airlie Beach we went round the southern tip and stopped off at the old Hook Island Resort. This large batfish swam up to say hi. We plied him with crackers until he came close enough to touch and named him George.
Whitsunday Ghost Towns
It is remarkable how many island resorts have closed. Some, like Hook Island Resort, are looked after by a caretaker. He did not mind us going for a walk to gather some coconuts so we took the chance to have a little “sticky beak” as the Aussies say. The paths are still well maintained and we thought it a pity holidaymakers can no longer experience the tranquil, picturesque surroundings. Other resorts are fenced off and seem completely abandoned. The intrepid explorer can thus find his or her curiosity rewarded by fully equipped kitchens and hotel rooms. Shame to see it all go to waste, but who needs more than one frying pan? Life on a boat is a practical exercise in minimalism.
The Whitsunday area is a great destination for having visitors. Airlie Beach is an easy place for food shopping, getting fuel and water at the marina as well as picking up or dropping off guests. Thanks to the numerous islands you can plan a route to suit most weather and the mooring buoys they have installed at popular anchorages give a nice sense of security even in strong winds. During the day these moorings are subject to a 2-hour rule, however not all boaters are courteous enough to move on when their time is up which is too bad because the water is often too deep to put down an anchor.
Vernon’s brother Jerry and his wife Cindy came to spend a long weekend with us and we took them to our favourite spots on Hook Island. Well equipped with a hammock, picnic lunch, snorkeling gear, books and a yoga mat we would set out to spend some hours on the beach.
At Butterfly Bay we were looking for a branch to open a coconut and came across a river bed between the trees where the air was full of Blue Monarch butterflies. There were so many that you could hear their wings beating. Vernon discovered that the sound of clapping hands would send them flying again whenever they had settled down on branches and leaves. Since nobody managed to capture the butterfly experience on camera you will just have to believe me and imagine it like something from a magical Japanese anime.
After an afternoon spent snorkeling and relaxing at Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island we made our way back to Airlie Beach with a lovely sunset sail to end the trip.