We arrived in Mackay on Friday 27th July and cleared customs and quarantine without having anything confiscated; in fact it was a very smooth and friendly process so we were pleasantly surprised. It was one of the easiest port entries we have experienced so far, and the officials even came aboard and completed the forms for us!
Anne, Barry and Amethyst arrived on the Saturday and we prepared for the cruise through the Whitsudnays. We saw whales, some as close as 20 metres away, caught a lovely tuna for the BBQ and frolicked on Whitehaven, the most beautiful beach in the world. Our guests had a fabulous holiday and we even managed to squeeze in a visit to Magnetic Island on the last day. To top it all off, we ran aground in the entrance to Townsville marina, which is not something you experience every day! It's a long story, and of course the skipper was not at fault in any way... (it was a slow, sludgy, spongy grounding, so we didn't even damage our new anti-foul!)
Heather flew out this morning for the UK and a birthday spent with her family. I will be sailing matilda up the coast with the help of one or more of the Zoe girls - it should be a nice passage. We plan to set sail on Monday 13th August which gives us over a week to get up to Thursday Island where Heather will be back aboard.
In the meantime, I am spending some quality time with matilda, taking care of the long list of odd jobs which have been accumulating over the last couple of months since our Fiji haul-out.
We have reluctantly made the decision to sell Matilda after our circumnavigation is complete. We will probably put her on the market when we arrive in South Africa with a view to selling her either in the Caribbean or back in the UK. It's going to be difficult to see her go, but as we both have to get back to work it's the only sensible thing to do. We'd just hate to see her languish in a marina when she really should be crossing oceans.