This week was spent hiding from gale winds in the Lindaman Group of islands, and finally reaching civilisation in Airlie Beach.
By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.
Goldsmith Island to Shaw Island
While the week started off with beautiful sailing from the Newry’s back out to Goldsmith Island, it didn’t last for too long.
Our initial plans were to check out the Anchor Islands and spend a little time anchored on Thomas Island. Both looked amazing from afar, however the weather had other plans for us.
Instead, we had constant 30 knot Southerly winds, which meant we needed to find a better anchorage location. So alternatively, we decided on Shaw Island, 13 nautical miles from Goldsmith.
Shaw Island is a beautiful 16 km² island just south of famous Lindeman Island. Unlike Lindeman, there are no permanent settlements or resorts. Instead, there is dense bushland, long stretches of white-sand beach and tall hills.
While all the Whitsunday Islands besides Hamilton are classified as National Park, parts of Shaw Island is even closed for months of the year due to the returning bird nesting along the shore.
The frustration was real. The strong winds, gloomy skies and scattered rains meant exploring the island was less than appealing. After seeing photos of Shaw in good weather, it really was a shame that we didn’t get the chance to explore the island properly.
Instead, we waited out much of the week anchored behind Shaw’s tallest point. While it provided much better shelter than other surrounding islands, we were still belted around by strong gusts for much of the week.
Anchor Alarms and Blasting Bullets
To avoid potential disaster from a slipping anchor, we were forced to have an anchor alarm on during the night. This system works by sounding a howling siren if it believes the anchor is dragging due to strong winds.
Fortunately, we didn’t drag. However, due to the strong gusts pushing and swinging the boat from side to side, the alarms were constant through the night.
Shaw Island to Airlie Beach
Later in the week, weather was finally clearing. Some of the Southerly wind was still there, but this meant perfect sailing from Shaw Island to Airlie Beach.
Arriving six hours later and catching a huge Queen fish on the way, we were able to pick up a good anchorage just outside Abell Point Marina in Airlie Beach. As soon as we arrived, the skies cleared and wind subsided.
Restocking and Refueling in Airlie Beach
After a couple of weeks on the islands, it was great to set foot on hard land once again. We were able to restock our food supplies and relax with some epic sunsets as we prepare to hit the Whitsunday Islands in the coming weeks.
While the weather was rough and not being able to explore more was definitely frustrating, it was still a great week living on Malaika. Weather in the coming weeks is also expected to improve, so we’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed.