It was another sunny morning. The mainsail was raised before nine o’clock, and the anchor was lifted, then we turned the bow to a seaside town Airlie Beach, passing so-called Unsafe Passage on the way. The name sounds dangerous, but might just be ironic(according to J). Anyhow we still encountered strong currents when we were passing, but fortunately the crosswind was relatively stable, which took us through the passage smoothly.

After passing the Unsafe Passage, we had a beautiful, slow and leisurely sailing. A little swallow flew over from time to time to check whether our boat was suitable for settlement.

J began to tell about his experience of sailing around here. The first time he was 18, sailing here with his parents in a charter boat which was leaking and the engine was not working properly(his father fixed the engine), and he sailed to the nearby islands for two weeks. In a stormy night, his parents were worried that the boat would drag anchor, so they dropped the spare anchor, but he couldn’t pull it out the next day. It might be stuck in some coral reef. So he had to leave the anchor in place and tie a float on it. Of course they had to pay for it when returning the boat… He said he had a absolutely good time on that voyage, even though his poor parents were worried and spending a lot… The last time he came here was in 2013. He sailed here single-handed from the Brisbane River to here without stopping. It only took 6 days in total (we spent 6 weeks this time). When he had just started leaving from here, wind stopped and the engine stopped too. He was drifting along the water, and there was rocks in the way, called the Pioneer Rocks. The current took the boat right into the rocks. So the boat was stuck. When powerboats passed by, they created big waves, which damaged the bottom of the keel as the boat bumped up and down several times. Later, a boat from the National Parks passed by. J asked for help to tow the boat out, but they refused to do, concerning liability stuff like afraid of damaging boats and taking responsibility. They shamelessly stopped by the side and started taking pictures. It was simply unscrupulous. Those government dogs made J really angry. Finally, J was towed out of the rocks by a power boat without hesitation, and he sailed back to the Brisbane River without stopping and without an engine. It also took 6 days… Today when we were passing the Pioneer rock, we went around as far as we could.

Arrived at our destination Airlie Beach at noon. We sailed all the way by wind not using the engine. Lots of sailing boats of all kinds have been moored in the bay. There is a sailing club on the shore. We paid a nominal annual fee ($15) to become members so we can use their facilities. Wandering around the town in the afternoon, it turned out to be a typical tourist area, full of restaurants and shops selling swimwear. I was not very used to go back to a civilisation, especially the crowds and traffic noise. For lunch, I had kebab and potato chips, plus a big cup of dragon fruit smoothie, which satisfied my junk food desire. After that, we went back to the boat and watched the twilight sailing regatta held in the bay for a while.

I took a luxurious warm shower in the club before dinner. It felt so nice to have lots of fresh water that you can use, and it was warm! Then we went to an Italian restaurant and had a nice meal to celebrate our arrival at the Whitsundays.