Whitehaven Beach

by Rod

in Sea Kayaking

Link to the previous day’s paddle

Dolphins in the Bay

Day 5 of our Cumberland Island Adventure was filled with anticipation, as we planned to paddle to Whitehaven Beach, another highlight of the trip. The day was off to a great start, just as we were launching our kayaks 3 dolphins came into the bay chasing bait fish.  The dolphins were rounding up the bait fish and then attacking them. Dav quickly paddled out to have a closer look and he managed to paddle within 15 meters of them as they busily chased up their breakfast. We sat around for awhile watching them, until they disappeared as quickly as they had come.

Dolphins in Lindeman Bay

Pentecost Island

After leaving the bay, we paddled around the eastern side of Little Lindeman Island and then across the channel to Pentecost Island. Pentecost Island looks very dramatic  jutting out of the ocean with it’s steep orange cliffs. It must have created an impression on Captain Cook as he sailed up the coast, because Pentecost is the only Island Cook named in the Cumberland Group. Eric says it is worth a revisit on it’s own, for a 3 day paddle from Shute Harbour. On such a paddle you could combine sea kayaking with rock climbing to find a route to the peak of the island.

Pentecost Island

Once we had past Pentecost Island we were expecting our usual assistance from the wind, so we could sail across to Salway Passage. Unfortunately the wind had dropped to about 10km/hr. This meant for the first time in the trip we actually had to paddle.

Salway Passage

Salway Passage is a narrow stretch of water between the southern end of Whitsunday Island and Haslewood Island and is well known to yachting around the Whitsunday Islands. This is because it can be treacherous if you are caught tri ing to go through the passage against a fast flowing tide. We had tried to time our arrival at the top of the tide so that there would be very little tidal flow. Although it was fairly choppy, we managed to paddle through the passage easily.

Day 5 Paddle, Lindeman Island - Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

Turning around the point from Salway Passage into the bay on the southern end of Whitehaven Beach, we were greeted by the sight of so many water crafts and tourists. There would have been 15 yachts, a couple of tourist tour boats with 30 – 40 people on each plus a couple of sea planes. We hadn’t seen so many people in over a week. We tried to blend in, but it was hard when four rough looking sea kayakers turn up on the beach. I think some of the tourists thought we were one of the attractions. They came over asking questions like, “Where have you come from?” We tried to make a retreat into the camping ground as discreetly as possible.

Whitehaven Walk & Pentecost Island

After lunch and securing a camping spot, we decided to follow the walking trail over the hill to the beach on the other side, called Chance Bay. This is a well worn track used by many of the day trippers. Some beautiful views from the top of the ridge looking over Chance Bay towards Pentecost Island and Lindeman, where we had just paddled from in the morning. On the other side looking up the length of Whitehaven Beach or over to the beaches on Haslewood Island. The walk over to Chance Bay was definitely worth the effort. This is another beautiful beach where there is a designated National Parks camping area with picnic tables and toilets.

Whitehaven Walk & Haslewood Island

By the time we returned to the camping area, it was rum or wine o’clock and all the day trippers had left, which just left us and the dozen or so yachts anchored in the bay. After tea we went for a stroll along the beach, lit by the rising full moon from over the ridge. It might have been romantic, instead I was with three other hairy blokes. All the yachts were almost in darkness and very quite, even by 8:oopm. For us it was time for bed as well. Ready for a rest day the next day, just a short paddle and some snorkeling.

Whitehaven Beach Sunset

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