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Right: Happy Bay, Long Island

In this episode we focus again on the theme of island walking tracks, with more on the Whitsundays before progressing to Magnetic, Orpheus and Hinchinbrook Islands. The scenery we uncover continues to astound and delight. Our pleasure is dampened at the sad and sorry Cyclone-Yasi-wrecked Dunk Island, then culminates at the island and reef paradises of Fitzroy Island and Upolu Cay. As before, the hard part has been which images to include and which to leave out. Enjoy!

Grab the pack, camera, food and water. Pile in the dinghy and head for the beach. We opted for the circuit walking track around the northern peninsula of Long Island as it supposedly featured some good rainforest. We weren’t disappointed. The palms were fruiting. Birds, fungi, figs and rock orchids abounded.

20 - 21 JULY. Lindeman Island dwindled rapidly into the distance as we rounded the bottom of Dent Island and entered the Whitsunday Channel. Our speed slumped from 7.5 knots to 5 as we hit the strong current that invariably runs through the channel. The wind was opposing the current, creating short steep seas for which the area is renowned.


We could see a maelstrom of white water blocking our path to the northern end of Long Island. The tide was being squeezed between it and South Molle Island, accelerating the water into the freshening wind which churned it into several acres of nasty overfalls.


We entered the maelstrom with bated breath. It was both spectacular and intimidating. Boat speed fell below 3 knots. But Masala handled it well, her 14 tons bullying their way through a veritable washing machine with surprisingly little drama.

Once around the corner we broke free of the overfalls and, despite wind strength of 20 knots+ and bullets well above that, we entered a stretch of quiet water between Long Island and the mainland. Here we dropped anchor in Happy Bay - as indeed it was to be out of the rough stuff.

Left: Fruiting palm tree

Right: Black Butcherbird