Sunday, 1 May 2011

April 29 Lakeside to Shute Harbour Airlie Beach

A change of plans saw us up early, packed and ready to depart for Shute Harbour.  The weather was becoming clearer and we wanted to play tourist and wander Airlie for some time alone.

Once again Garry cooked a beautiful breakfast of chops, eggs, tomato and bacon.  Kevin is regaining his pre holiday weight loss.

Airlie Beach and Bay
Upon giving our thanks for their wonderful hospitality we taxied to the southern end of the strip. It had a slight downhill gradient and we also had a tailwind which is not an ideal situation for departure.  However the conditions (hills and trees) did not allow us to take off into wind.  We chased 3 large juvenile brolgas off the strip because we did not want to hit any of them on takeoff.  I was quite nervous at the tailwind departure but Lady Bird did us proud and was off the ground within 350 metres. (Whew!)

Tracking to the north and then coastal under a 3,000 ft cloud base we could see the start of the Whitsunday/Cumberland group of islands.  It was partly cloudy but the views were magnificent anyway.

Winding serpentine river to the ocean

Once again serpentine rivers wound their way to the estuary or coast where they pushed silted mud coloured water into the ocean. 

It wasn’t long before we were setting ourselves up in the approach pattern to Shute Harbour airstrip.  The approach has to be curvy to avoid a hill, then you sink into the valley whereupon the wind gusts throw the plane about before you even arrive at the threshold.  Just on short final the cross wind component swung to about 10 degrees from the right.  I was hanging on tight and mentioned the cross wind and reminded Kev that Geoff (airport owner) had suggested we land well into the runway.  Kev did hold off a bit longer where the cross wind dropped off and we landed safely onto the tarmac.  (Whew!!! Again)

We tied her down, enjoyed a coffee at the café then caught a lift into town.  We spent quite a few hours playing terrorist (tourist) around the shops, buying myself a lovely skirt and a few other trinkets. We dined on fish and chips with salad (bit healthy?), enjoyed a lovely ice-cream and generally hung about at the man made lagoon (only safe swimming place at Airlie) until we had enough.

Here's your postcard from Whitsunday's everyone! Enjoy - love from the Baileys

We phoned our hosts Alan and Margaret Jarrett (Sam’s parents) who kindly collected us and took us back to their property. “Paradise Found” I call it.  It is the most magnificent timber house with bifolding doors onto large verandah decks. Our room with King size bed had its own ensuite with bath and our own access to the deck. No neighbours can see into or build over the property and the vast exotic gardens cover the 5 acre property.  Out the back is a pool with a rock wall including a waterfall.  {Oh, How I hate slumming it – but someone has to} he he.
Alan & Margaret enjoying a taxi in the Stinson

Prior to home Alan took us for a drive up to the high points overlooking Shute Harbour itself.  The views were magnificent – however the local café was shut.

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Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL
over Perth city (Photo: Greg Hill)

About Us

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Flying farming couple who live on 135 acres. Kev is obsessed by aeroplanes. Vicki is devoted to horses and White Swiss Shepherds.