May 25, 2012
Hitting the Water – Dinghy Style
Over the last year I have been cruising around the Whitsunday Islands in an outrigger canoe for a year and zooming over the waters to Airlie Beach on the Fantasea ferries. It was time for a more leisurely approach, so we took ourselves down to the marina and visited Dinghy Hire.
Hamilton Island Dinghy Hire has two different types of small motor boats, and can take the maximum of six people. The six-man limit (regardless of size) is well enforced as we found out to our detriment, as one of our group had to stay behind (better read the instructions next time). Having got past that we had a briefing and received a map that showed us the limits of our dinghy exploration and we were off.
Dinghy hire has basic hire fishing gear available but we have our own untested set of gear so we were off on a fishing trip first of all. We headed around the north of the Hamilton Island, passing qualia, and over to Whitsunday Island. Having cut our baits with the supplied knife and chopping board we cast our lines over the side and proceeded to drift down towards Airlie Beach. Alas there was no action at this stage.
Time for a break (for the kids at least)! With the outgoing tide we needed to be careful not to beach ourselves on Henning Island during our lunch. We had a lovely picnic as the kids drew pictures in the sand and only had to relocate the anchor three times in the hour! After leaving Henning we started back towards Hamilton Island anchoring for a moment behind little Plum Pudding, but still no fish.
Our last attempt would be down past the airport so we took off against the tide down Dent Passage. Now you wouldn’t confuse the dinghy with a speedboat, in fact with the tide ripping through Dent Passage it took us an awful long time to fight our way towards the airport. But we had nothing else to do so there wasn’t really a problem – we just kicked back and enjoyed on Whitsunday Islands ‘cruise’. Again we baited up and again we drifted with the tide, but again we caught nothing.
At this point we been out for five hours (you can hire a dinghy for the morning, afternoon, or full day) and with the sun shining gloriously there were a few sunburnt noses. So we headed back into the marina and tied up at the wharf. There was a compulsory stop at the ice cream parlour on the way home and an early night everyone.
Post-script: When the kids went to school on Monday one of the boys was telling his mates about all the fish they caught this weekend…<sigh>