Monday, 15 April 2013

My Island in the.....Rain

It's been a full-on couple of weeks.  The twenty-somethings trouped out and north to the Sunshine Coast to try-on living/working/travelling for a few weeks.  My trouper of a mum, trouped in from Canada trailing suitcases, smiles, and her dishwashing/laundry/dusting magic wand.

 A week or so later, we hustled her and ourselves onto a very early morning flight up to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays region of tropical North Queensland.  It was J's Term 1 school break and we decided a beach holiday was on order.  Unfortunately, I forgot to order a side of sun with that beach.  I knew it was the end of the tropical wet season but annual charts predicted a bright and sunny week for the second week of April - ugh WRONG!

Hamilton Island is a small resort island off the coast of Mackay a little south of Cairns at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.  It's a hot, humid, and tropical part of Australia blessed with beautiful beaches and lush rainforest.  With a permanent population of about 1,000, it's the most populated island in the chain of islands known as the Whitsundays.

Cat's Eye Beach

 In fairness, it was a beautiful hot day when we arrived at 9:30 in the morning, and we took full advantage of it.  We deposited mum in a beach chair under a Palm tree, and explored each of the island's seven pools, and wondered at the massive low-tide at Cat's Eye Beach leaving behind fascinating tide and rock pools.  We made plans to stand-up paddle-board, kayak, and snorkle off the beach when the tide returned later in the day.

Sulpher-crested Cockatoo

Golden Orb Spider

Pesky Lorikeet

There were many of Australia's most beautiful animls on the island, as the photos (gosh C2 is an awesome photog) demonstrate.  However, as with most of Australia's natural wonders, there is always a "gotcha".  In the case, the charming creature known as the "Irukandji jellyfish".  This jellyfish is about the size of my thumb nail with lethal tentacles about a meter long.  They have been increasingly wandering into the warm coastal waters of North Queensland and have been spotted recently in the Whitsundays.

A flock of Cockatoos having a go at J's coconut

The next day dawned grey and cloudy; mum and I immediately booked passage on a catamaran trip out to the far side of Whitsunday Island to Whitehaven Beach, voted the most beautiful in Australia.  By the time, we boarded our boat at 1:00pm, the rain arrived,  It bucketed down sheets of torrential rain.  Whilst bouncing through the waves, we got chatting with one of the staff who promised us that "it never rains at Whitehaven...", "ya alright" we sceptically thought.  Well, he was right, the clouds parted like some heavenly intervention and we spent a beautiful afternoon at this beach where the sand has such a high content of silica that it literally squeaks when you walk on it.

Whitehaven Beach

Hamilton Island view from One Tree Hill - the highest point on the island

Other than another half-day of intermittent sun and cloud, the weather for the remainder of our week was a steady hot downpour.  It spite of the weather, we occupied ourselves with books, food, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, food, visits to a small wildlife center, food, exploring the lovely island by golf buggy, laughing at the antics of bold Cockatoos and grumpy Lorikeets, and more food.

Doesn't  he look like a natural sailor?

On the afternoon of our final day, C2 and I researched the sailing school options out of the Whitsundays and are giving very serious consideration to doing a 5 day live-on-the-boat sailing school in the Spring (our October)...with J.  Check back in October!


Katie Hayoz said...

You really should check with Australia's tourism board if you can't get paid for your blogs! They make you want to hop on a plane and go there RIGHT NOW! Great pics, as always and you and your mom are just gorgeous. (tell her, 'hi' by the way) Glad you still enjoyed it despite the rain.

DebH said...

Beautiful photographs and descriptions, makes me really want to visit!
So pleased your Mum got to visit you all - have a wonderful time and thanks for keeping us updated with your adventures!

Elizabeth said...

What a bummer to only have rain in such a glorious place! You all look like you had fun, though -- I loved seeing the photos of you and your mother. You're both so beautiful!

DL NELSON said...

I feel I have had a mini holiday just looking at your photos. Your mom is great.

Melissa Miller said...

Gorgeous! Sometimes rain makes us savour both the sun and the stillness. Lovely.