Having said goodbye to the beautiful Stonehaven anchorage, we headed around to Macona Inlet. Just next-door to Nara Inlet, Macona offers the same calm, protected waters as Nara, and is just as popular. After we arrived, we went for a ride in the dinghy to check out some of the beaches. We found one beach that had a cool rope swing. This kept the kids busy til the sun went behind the hill and we headed back to the boat for dinner.

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Rope swing

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With the wind dropping, we had a really calm and restful night. I woke up through the night and forgot where I was! The usual rocking of the boat reminds me I’m on a boat, but when we are somewhere calm and quiet, I sometimes wake up confused. The morning was spectacular – the wind had dropped to nothing, the inlet had glassed off and it was going to be an amazing day.

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Leaving Macona Inlet

We headed over to South Molle Island to check out the resort and do one of the walks. The resort has been closed for some time, and cyclone Debbie ripped through the already derelict grounds, leaving the buildings and jetty destroyed. We could see inside the rooms, some still had the beds made and we noted the old box tv’s (kids were amazed that these boxes were tv’s).

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Destruction from Cyclone Debbie
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This was the better end of the resort

We trudged around the resort grounds searching for the start of the walking track and in the process covered about 3km, so eventually abandoned the walk (for now).

After some lunch and some fun jumping off the boat, we headed over to anchor in Shute Harbour. Shute Harbour is where most of the larger charter boats refuel, however, since the cyclone came through, nothing is operational. We noticed the huge ferry come in to drop off and pick up construction workers. With Daydream, Hayman, South Molle and Hamilton islands all with cyclone damage it’s anyones guess where these hundreds of workmen were heading to each day. There is a lot to do!

Perfect place for swimming
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Morning at Shute Harbour

Because we are adventurers we were determined to find the walking track for South Molle, so headed back to the western side of the sland to Sandy Bay. We anchored and came ashore to find the track. The track is also used for mountain biking, and is quite wide and well maintained. We made our way through acres of grass trees to the lookout – it was a spectacular day to view the islands.

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Heading to Sandy Bay, South Molle Island
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Sandy Bay (not that sandy!)
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Aqua Vita at anchor in Sandy Bay while we walk
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Grass trees everywhere!
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Looking south towards Long island

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After the long trudge back to the beach, we had swim and decided to head to the western side of Daydream to moor and have a swim. We came past Daydream and spotted two whales cruising close by the boat. There was a boat already on the mooring at Daydream, and being too deep to anchor, we kept going to North Molle and anchored there for lunch.

The Reef Festival has been on in Airlie, and was wrapping up with fireworks on the foreshore Friday night. We decided to sail across and anchor in Pioneer Bay (Airlie) to watch the fireworks. The kids wanted pizza, and we had run out of wine, so we took the dinghy in to the Whitsunday Sailing Club to tie up and walked into town to pick up what we needed. We arrived back to the boat just in time to see the fireworks. The kids sat up the front on deck with their pizza to watch.

Saturday morning markets were on at Airlie’s foreshore and we spent the morning walking around Airlie and picked up a few essentials – a new hat for Cleo, and new sunnies for Jett.

We were scheduled to berth the boat at Abell Point Marina for the night to prepare for the next part of our trip. Washing is at the top of the ‘to do’ list! With 5 people over 7 days, the washing sure does pile up. I also wash the bedding, and towels. The marina has a laundry, so I head there first and get the process going.

Fuel, food and water are the essentials to be able to sail away for the week and the food is particularly important. It takes a great deal of thought to provision for the week in one shop. Think of the number of times you call in to the IGA or supermarket for milk or bread, or small things to make meals.

Once we leave the marina, we need to be able to exist for the week with what we have on board. Non-perishables and staples like flour and rice are essential. We also stock up with long life milk and have our meat cryovaced so that it lasts longer. We consume the food that perishes quickly first, then move on to the foods that have a longer shelf life – for example, I buy a pre-cut coleslaw mix. It’s a good option as it has a number of crunchy vegetables. It’s also good because I couldn’t store all those vegetables in the limited fridge space. We eat this with our meals until it’s gone as it doesn’t last more than a few days. Fruit ripens much quicker on a boat and bread grows mould at an alarming rate, so we freeze a few loaves (again, with limited freezer space) and once it’s gone, it’s gone! The last loaf is always rationed. I buy wholemeal wraps as a substitute to bread as they last longer. Towards the end of the week, most of the fresh food is gone. We have plenty of tinned soups, baked beans and other packaged food to sustain us. Lucky it’s just a day or so that we have to eat this way!

Today (Sunday) we are refuelling, doing an oil change, and filing our water tanks (the boat can hold around 400 litres). With the 5 of us, we go through around 50 litres a day. This is using the water very conservatively. While Mark and I have a hot shower every night, the kids are swimming in the ocean each day, so aren’t really dirty. They just need a fresh water rinse.

I conserve water by combining the dishes – breakfast and lunch dishes I wash at one time with very hot water. The water is heated from the motor, and gets scalding hot, so I just use a very small amount of water and a dish brush so I don’t have to put my hands in. We have a sea water tap to the sink for rinsing dishes, but I haven’t used that as yet.

Oil change

Once all this has been done, we are heading to Whitsunday Island!