Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting North: Part 2

So we left Port Clinton headed for Pearl Bay. I was pretty keen to give it a miss but Bryce was insistent (and does not let me forget it) but thank goodness he was. Pearl Bay is so far one of the highlights of our trip so far. Just open your imagination and I will do my best to try and describe how we were welcomed into Pearl Bay.
The entrance to Pearl Bay
Our sail up was gorgeous. Deep blue water, majestically rocky shores, dolphins, it was wonderful. The entrance into Pearl Bay is a tight channel between rock cliffs on both sides. As we entered, I was standing up on the bow of the boat keeping a look out for boomies (isolated coral reef heads) and was supposed to point at them if I saw them. Just as we came through the channel, past a deep grotto carved out of the cliffs on our left, a GIANT turtle swam right at our bow! I pointed at it excitedly and quickly retracted my hand as the turtle dove to avoid the boat. Thankfully Bryce missed my brief hand signal and didn't swerve to avoid it. I could see some dolphins swimming in the bay and then all of the sudden the boat was surrounded by swarms of turquoise and chocolate butterflies.
One butterfly of thousands!
Seriously it could not have been choreographed more perfectly! They were everywhere. We put the anchor down and just as I finished putting enough chain out (snubber not yet on) I looked out through the entrance we had just come through and there were five whales jumping up into the air, broaching, splashing and having a marvelous time! We both just stood at the bow staring in awe. I honestly don't think this could have been scripted better and it set the standard for Pearl Bay. The rest of the time we were there, we saw dolphins, turtles and of course the butterflies. Pearl Bay is still in the military training area and so is unreachable by land. All of the other boats left one morning and we were thrilled to have the place to ourselves for an hour before the next boats came in.

Pearl Bay Beach
We were so close to the Whitsundays now, we could practically smell them so we made a run for it. From Pearl Bay we went to Middle Percy Island. I wrote about Middle Percy last year and Aquabat's presence in the hut there. We got in too late to go ashore but were able to see the A-frame from the boat.We'd had a long day so it was close enough for our needs.

A-Frame hut on Middle Percy Island
From Middle Percy we headed to Scawfell Island where we had a great night with some Welshmen, Dave & Steve of S/V White Hawk, whom we met at Middle Percy. When we left Scawfell at first light, just as the sun was rising, just 50 feet off our beam, two whales lifted out of the water and breached. It was amazing (and a bit terrifying) to be so close to something so huge and powerful! We had a bit of a photo shoot with Dave and Steve. Each of us taking photos of the others boat under sail. After a full day sailing, we made it to our destination, our shangri-la: Whitehaven Beach.

El Capitan is happy!


  1. Loving the updates! Missing you guys and wishing you safe and serene travels! :D