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Whitsunday Island, Cumberland Group
May 16, 2007

(Steph) Well, we finally made it to the island of Whitsunday, centerpoint of the fabled Whitsunday Islands. Many of our cruising friends have plans to blow by the Whitsundays because they are reportedly full of charter boats, local Australian cruisers who drop the hook for an entire season, and resorts. But we've arrived at a great time of year and it's easy to avoid the islands with resorts. We've had a great time. 

Within 30 minutes of dropping the hook in Cyd Harbor, another cruiser zoomed over on his dinghy and invited us over for dinner later that night. We looked towards the boat he was indicating as his own -- it was a great, big power catamaran. Wow, we've never been invited aboard a power boat before! Cool! Now, we would get to see how the other half lives.

Buddy and Bev live aboard mv Sea Eagle, a catamaran they had built a few years ago. It's beautiful and a great place to call home. I drooled over Bev's full-size refrigerator and freezer, just like the ones I've enjoyed on land. They live on the hook most of the year, collecting hundreds of gallons of rainwater (the locals call the Whitsundays the "Wetsundays") and getting most of their power from solar panels. They run the generator when they have to use a heavy-duty energy-drawing appliance, like the washing machine. Just, don't. Say. Anything.

It seems that they also rarely have to pull into a port because Buddy is an accomplished fisherman who has figured out the haunts of all the local delicacies. We were lucky enough to be treated to fresh oysters, harvested only an hour before dinner. We were shown Buddy's jail cell of crab he's caught, which he calls Alcatraz. I guess Bev just pulls one out every other day for lunch. We had a great evening with them and were honored to have been chosen for one of their invitations -- while it seems we get on with most cruisers, it's rare we meet a crew that is so driven to meet so many new people and to be so outgoing.

While on Whitsunday, we had hoped to hike up to Whitsunday peak, but the trail we found seemed to be very overgrown and go straight up the mountain. Having been spoiled with the excellent trails we've encountered in other Australian parks, we decided not to start bushwacking now. We had lunch at a little picnic area, where someone had told us we might see goanas, big lizards that are 2-3 feet long and look like miniature monitor lizards. After lunch, Warren got up from our picnic table and announced he was going to go looking for goanas. He took two steps and saw one slinking out of a nest, looking like he had just enjoyed a few birds' eggs. We followed him around for a bit until we realized we were surrounded by goanas. There were at least five within our view. It started to feel a little spooky, but I think most of them were just looking for little spots of sunlight in which to bask.

We spent two nights in Whitsunday, and then moved on to Hook Island.

Goana hunting for turkey eggs on Whitsunday


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