The Cruising Adventures of Seventh Heaven with Charlie and Betty

Cruising on Seventh Heaven

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01 Jan 2007
HAPPY NEW YEAR
With Ken and Kathryn on board we headed for Paradise Point the venue for our New Year celebrations. We rafted up next to Paul and Maree on ‘A Vos Sante’ and John and Karen on their Mustang 38 where we had the front row seat for the fireworks. On shore was a large park where thousands of people had gathered for an evening picnic and to enjoy the fireworks. Ken brought along his new fishing rod with the promise of fish for dinner just as well Betty had the marinated chicken breasts in reserve. Had a great night just relaxing and making new friends.



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09 Jan 2007
After a fabulous three weeks on the Gold Coast spending time with family and catching up with friends the time had arrived to move on. Anchored in Bums Bay opposite Seaworld overnight and with the forecast next day for 10 to 15 NE it looked perfect for the passage down to Coffs Harbour but as usual the breeze dropped off after sunset and we ended up motor sailing most of the journey.
Spent two days in Coffs and with a forecast of 10 to 15 SE decided to sail the 35 miles down to Trial Bay. Three hours into the trip the wind was a constant 25 knots with rough seas, time to turn back and in just over an hour we were snuggly tied up back at Coffs. The following day the wind had swung around to the NE at around 10 knots so we decided to head straight for Port Stephens again motor sailing most of time. Our shaft seal had started to leak when we were in Cairns and now was leaking badly and with a strong wind warning issued for the next three days decided to haul ‘Seventh Heaven’ out replace the seal and antifoul at the same time. Living on board ‘on the hard’ when carrying out maintenance and with 30 knot winds is not recommended. Made the best of it eating out every night to Betty’s delight and going to the movies.
Back in the water we had a fantastic sail down to Newcastle in a 20 knot northerly with our newly antifouled bum giving us an extra knot of boat speed. We moored at the sailing club marina opposite a three masted super yacht called ‘Athena’ what a sight. www.yachtforums.com/forums/royal-huisman-yacht/3738-review-royal-huismans-athena.html                                
Next day the northerly was still in giving us a quick sail down the coast to Broken Bay surfing at 9 to 10 knots down waves and passing around sixty coal ships anchored off waiting to load in Newcastle. That evening anchored in Towlers Bay we met up with some old friends Dave and Jo on ‘Wyandra‘ and revisited our cruising adventures over a bottle of rum.
The short run down to Sydney was in perfect conditions light NE breeze and sunny skies and what a picture sailing down the harbour. Tied up at the CYCA it was time to clean up ‘Seventh Heaven’ as tomorrow it was off to Melbourne for the Geelong sailing regatta.

Photos:
On the Hard
Sydney Harbour
Super Yacht 'Athena'


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23 Jan 2007
Geelong Sailing Regatta on ‘Out of the Blue’
As much as we enjoy sailing it was decided to do the Sydney to Melbourne leg of our trip with Virgin airlines. On arrival we were picked up by our host Terry and driven directly to the Sandringham Yacht Club for our pre race briefing which consisted of lots of hand shaking and cold beers.
Day one.
After suggesting the day before that the crew should be at the boat an hour before departure to ensure that the final checks were carried out the rock stars (Betty and I) arrive as the lines were being let go. Glad you could make it were the words I though I heard.
Race one around the buoys in 15 knots was not too bad considering we had not raced together for a year and there were a couple of new crew members. Not to worry team work will improve next race and a mid fleet result will help our handicap.
Race two Murphy’s Law what can go wrong will go wrong. We tried every position possible with the spinnakers, prawning, kite flying, rap dancing etc. and lost the brace and lazy sheet overboard needless to say the skipper was not a happy chappy. So after a day like this there is only one thing you can do get stuck into a VB.
Day two.
Around the buoys again in similar conditions. Race three and four we are finally working as a team and the boat is going along nicely. We are beating the other Farr 37 across the line and this makes the Skipper very happy which is important. After a good day on the water there is only one thing you can do get stuck into a VB.
Day Three.
Photos:
The Team: Chris, Ian, Betty, Gerard our Skipper, Russell, David, Caroline and Frank.
Up with the big boys


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26 Jan 2007
Melbourne to Geelong bay race over 35 miles. What a fantastic spectacle with over 400 yachts lining up at the start from the big maxis to small trailer sailors with the Melbourne skyline as the backdrop. The race started in very light downwind conditions creating a sea of spinnakers then strengthening to 15 to 20 knots on the beam for a fast reach to the finish. We did quite well finishing third across the line in our division. VB’s all round.
Day Four.
Windward leeward in 15 to 30 knots. With a couple of the crew deciding to get there nails done rather than go out in 30 knots the boys took on the challenge. In conditions colder than a Whitsundays winter the skipper advises the crew that we are here to have ‘FUN’ and not to break the boat or ourselves and in these conditions  it may be wise not to fly the spinnaker. As we approached the first windward mark the skipper obviously thought we were not having fun and yells out “get the kite up” and the FUN begun.
As it turned out race six was our best result with race seven not so good but we were all having ‘FUN’. The only way to celebrate after a great regatta get stuck into a VB.

Results
5th Overall  OUT OF THE BLUE Gerard Young SYC Farr 37  Race 7 11th Race 6 3rd Race 5 9th Race 4 4th Race 3 4th Race 2 [13th] Race 1 8th  

‘Out of the Blue’ is a Farr 37 and was previously owned by Kevan Johnson.

Photos:
Melbourne to Geelong start
Ahead of the fleet



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30 Jan 2007
Spent our last day in Melbourne exploring the city with Frank and Kerry and had dinner with Terry and Liz our fantastic hosts.
On departing Melbourne I flew back to Proserpine as I had a meeting in Mackay the following day and Betty retuned to ‘Seventh Heaven’ in Sydney. All was well until it was time to return to Sydney. It had been raining continuously for two days in Airlie and the rivers and creeks were rising quickly so suggested to Terry our house minder that we should take the Jackaroo for the trip to the airport just in case there was water over the road. The trip to the airport was uneventful with only about 100mm of water over the road in one spot. On arriving at the airport there was some confusion to whether the flight was cancelled or not and it was 8 pm before Jetstar confirmed that the flight had been cancelled.  By this time the water had risen another meter and we were fortunate to get back to Airlie as the police closed the road shortly afterwards leaving around 200 people stranded at Proserpine airport overnight.
Next day managed to book a flight out of Hamilton Island.

Photos:
Frank gets lucky in Geelong




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03 Feb 2007
With both of us back on ‘Seventh Heaven’ we headed north to Pittwater meeting up with Murray and Julie on ‘Vanetta’ for dinner at Towlers Bay. This is a very popular anchorage on the western shore of Pittwater and is part of the Kuring Gai National Park.
Spent the next five days cruising Pittwater and Cowan Creek in perfect summer weather. Our first adventure was trekking up to Barrenjoey lighthouse.  We anchored under the headland in Fishermans Bay where the track begins. The track offers some great views of Pittwater and Palm Beach as it winds up to the lighthouse. After exploring the lighthouse and walking the length of Palm Beach to where ‘Home and Away’ is filmed we sailed up Cowan Creek to Pinta Bay where we picked up a mooring for the night. ( Pittwater and Cowan Creek are full of public moorings ).  Next morning still full of energy we decided to walk up the track from the end of Jerusalem Bay to Cowan railway station this track is part of the Great North Walk and follows a small creek for about half the 2.5 klm distance. After all this activity we spent the following two days enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Pinta Bay having a well earned rest.

Photos:
Palm Beach from Barrenjoey Headland
Beautiful Pinta Bay
The Great North Walk



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09 Feb 2007
Growing up at Ettalong I was keen to visit Patonga where I had spent holidays when I was younger. We anchored off the public wharf and dinghied ashore to find a place that has stood still in time as it was nearly how I remembered it thirty or more years ago. We had a chat with an interesting old local bloke who had spent twelve years in Antarctica and who gave us some of his home grown cucumbers and told us that any new buildings approvals had to blend in with the existing architecture retaining the holiday village charm. After a feed of fish and chips we headed back to Towlers Bay for the night.

Photo:
Patonga wharf



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10 Feb 2007
After a fantastic week cruising Pittwater and Cowan Creek it was back to Sydney to meet Richo one of our new boat owners. Had a nice lunch at the CYCA then off for a lovely afternoon sail on the harbour. Within ten minutes of leaving the dock the wind increased to 30 knots and the rain was so heavy that visibility was down to about twenty meters. Welcome to sailing. After about twenty minutes the rain stopped the wind drop to 20 knot and we had an enjoyable sail to Manly and back.
As the weather was a bit ordinary so we decided to venture up into Middle Harbour anchoring at Bantry Bay in the Garigal National Park. Bantry Bay was a munitions site during the Second World War and the buildings have been heritage listed. There is a lovely bush walking track up to Seaforth oval with lots of wild flowers. On our second night at Bantry Bay our friends Bob and Helen visited us on their cruiser ‘Lazyee’ an invited us to visit them at their weekender at Wagstaff.
Wagstaff is in Brisbane Waters on the northern end of Broken Bay and has a shallow entry which would require us to navigate at high tide. We had a lovely sail up from Sydney in a light eastly breeze and picked up a mooring in Coasters Retreat for the night which is surrounded by national park and has a beautiful picnic area and netted swimming lagoon. Next morning on the high tide we headed of for Wagstaff being extra careful navigating the shallow channel. The tide was still flooding and we were approaching the final starboard marks around Half Tide Rocks when I realized we were being pushed down by the tide. Too late ‘BANG’ we have just hit Half Tide Rocks at high tide. ‘SHIT’ with the wheel fully to port and full power we managed to slide off and after a quick check to confirm that no water was coming in the heart started to slow.
We tied up at Bob and Helen’s jetty and on inspection the only damage was a gouge in the lead keel. Feeling a little better we dinghied across the channel to my old home town. Ettalong has changed a bit with the beach eroded away and a monstrosity of a resort built on the foreshore and the old beach front weekenders being replaced with two story mansions but it still bought back some good memories as we walked the streets.
Had an enjoyable time with Bob and Helen talking about everything and nothing in the slow lane.  

Photos:
Bantry Bay
Bob and Helen's Place
The Keel




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17 Feb 2007
Taking extra care rounding Half Tide Rocks now known as High Tide Rocks we headed for Bobbin Head where tonight George our chauffer would pick us up at precisely 6.30 pm to take us to the Sheer’s residents to celebrate Vanessa’s 21st. As usual Julie had organized a terrific party with a carnival theme and a great night was had by all.
The next day our friends Derek and Carol joined us for a hangover cruise and BBQ on Pittwater after which we returned to Sydney to carry out repairs on the keel.
Photo: Ben, Ogs and Ness


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19 Feb 2007
We arrived at Noaks boatyard around 4.30 pm and ‘Seventh Heaven’ was lifted out and to our relief there was no apparent structural damage caused by hitting Half Tide rocks. We remained in the travel lift slings overnight during which time I repaired the ding in the bottom of the keel and we were back in the water at 8.00 am the next morning.
This happened to be the day the Queen Mary 2 the largest passenger liner in the world and Queen Elizabeth 2 were visiting Sydney. What a sight QE2 was coming down the harbour with a flotilla of pleasure craft escorting her. That night we were treated to a spectacular fireworks display followed by the departure of the Queen Mary 2 fully lit up like a city.
Photo: Queen Elizabeth 2



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22 Feb 2007
Heading Home
After three weeks cruising Sydney and Pittwater it was time to start returning home to Airlie Beach.
First port of call was Refuge Bay off Cowan Creek where we met up with Murray and Julie on ‘Vanetta’ for a farewell dinner. Leaving early next morning we had a lovely sail up to Lake Macquarie with clear skies and a light NE breeze and had dolphins join us on many occasions. After entering the lake through the Swansea Channel we headed south to Chain Valley Bay to visit our friends Peter and Lisa. Had an enjoyable evening with some other ‘old’ friends Ken, Cathy, Martin and Wendy joining us. Unfortunately we had to depart the next day as the tide heights were getting smaller and we just managed to scrap in the day before. After giving the bottom of the keel a light sand in the channel we were finally through the opening bridge and making way for Newcastle again in perfect conditions.
Potos:
Dinner at Peter and Lisa's
Swansea bridge


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24 Feb 2007
We arrived in Newcastle early afternoon and with daylight saving time gave us an opportunity to explore the city foreshore.
Newcastle was a convict settlement in the early 1800’s and by the 1850’s was a major industrial town and the largest supplier of coal followed by the establishment of BHP steelworks in 1911.
The foreshore was once the busy docklands and the old timber sheds and bond stores at the western end that had been derelict for many years have been replaced with shops, café’s, restaurants and hotels. The eastern end of the foreshore has been transformed into parkland with a heritage walk taking in historic buildings, Fort Scratchley, Nobby’s Head  and Newcastle beach and is well worth the effort.
After the walk we had dinner at a cheap little restaurant and then proceeded down Hunter  street towards the marina past the Civic Theatre. As we were passing Betty wanted to have a look in the foyer so dressed in our best shorts, tee shirts and thongs Betty with plastic shopping bag and newspaper under her arm standing in the foyer we were asked by a nice young lady if we were there to see the show (One Night Stand – comedy) and if we had tickets to which we replied no and explained that we just wanted to have a look at the foyer. She then approached us with two complimentary tickets and insisted we go in. We enjoyed the show very much though we did look a little out of place at intermission.
Nice place nice people
Photos:
Nobby,s Head
Newcastle foreshore




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25 Feb 2007
Sailed up to Port Stephens and picked up a public mooring off the beach adjacent to d’Albora marina. Had a lovely meal at The Only Place Indian restaurant to celebrate Betty’s birthday.
Next morning the forecast was 15 to 20kn SE ideal for the trip up to Coffs Harbour but after rounding Seal Rocks the wind dropped out completely and we had to motor the rest of the way. During the day dolphins would come and play on our bow which we never get tired of watching.
With 20kn NE persisting we spent the next three days in Coffs before completing our last leg to the Gold Coast.



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05 Mar 2007
The New Zealand Escape
With ‘Seventh Heaven’ safely tied up on Alan and Margaret’s pontoon at Hope Harbour we boarded our Virgin flight to Auckland.
Our first assignment was the Auckland Boat show manning the Cumberland stand. The show had 220 exhibitors with over 21000 people attending over the four days.
With the business end of the trip over we flew down to Christchurch hired a car and started our nine day tour of the South Island.
Photo: Betty selling holidays to the opposition



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17 Nov 2007
Dehler Magic goes to Hobart

Dehler Magic and crew left Airlie Beach at 3pm on Saturday 17 November in the first leg of our southern campaign including the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, we are using the overnight sail to Mackay as an initial training run to prepare for the "serious" stuff down south.

Its a big effort to do the Sydney to Hobart from a home port so far north and we want to ensure that our efforts are not in vain. Getting to Hobart is a must, and doing well in the results is certainly one of our goals. Greg and I will not be helming during the night ahead to ensure that the crew maximise their time in control of the vessel. During the 4 odd days that it will take Dehler Magic to get to Hobart, its 4 hours on and 4 hours off, with 4 people in each shift. This pattern is often disturbed by rough weather, sail changes and unexpected occurrences. During a shift on deck, it is common place to rotate the helming to ensure that performance is optimised.

We have been overwhelmed by the support from the local businesses and community. In small ways there have been so many helping out with discounts on time and materials, while others have supplied prizes for fund raising and cash donations.

Photos:
Dehler Magic in full colours
Greg at the helm

You can follow our progress at www.dehlermagic.com





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02 Dec 2007
Dehler Magic Mackay to Southport.

Greg, his wife Sandy and son Matt sailed from Mackay to Yeppoon stopping to enjoy Middle Percy, Hexham and Great Keppel Islands on the way down.  Departure from Mackay was delayed due to strong SE trade winds and they overnighted in a few rolly anchorages.
 
To continue on with the delivery of Dehler Magic to Sydney, Charlie, Betty and Lyn Chalmers from Airlie Beach, arrived in Yeppoon on Sunday 25th, to join Greg, as Sandy and Matt had to returned to Mackay. 
 
After provisioning and fuelling Dehler Magic they left Rosslyn Bay Marina in 20k SE winds, for a little bit of a choppy sail to Great Keppel Monday afternoon. 
 
Tuesday they raised anchor at 5am, destination Pancake Creek.  Winds SE to 20 kts in confused 1-2 mtr seas. Seas were the roughest around Gladstone where they had to sail around 22 tankers at anchor, arriving into Pancake Creek at dusk. 
 
Wednesday departed Pancake Creek at 8am for a 5 hour sail to Lady Musgrave Is, winds SE 15-20kts.  Winds swung to E so instead on punching into the wind, a decision was made to sail to Bundaberg instead.  Dehler Magic sailed into Port of Bundaberg Marina at 6.30pm.  Crew looking forward to a hot shower. 
 
Thursday,today calm seas ENE 10-15 kts. Charlie gave Lyn a sailing lesson on how to sail by the tell-tales with little wind. Early afternoon sailed into squally showers with 20kt winds by mid afternoon they sailed out of the bad weather into the calm of the Great Sandy Straits.  They played with the new Asymmetrical spinnaker, but it only stayed up for a few minutes due to lack of wind - oh well, back to motoring. Anchored off Kingfisher Bay Resort at dusk.
 
Friday after waiting for a rising tide, they raised anchor at 9.15am - weather overcast, rain clouds, 5kt winds in the bay.  Forecast winds NE 10-15 kts Dehler Magic heading for the Wide Bay Bar.  11am  - they're in a convoy - Sandy Straits - hot, humid, no breeze,  1 mtr or less under the keel, a catamaran and small ketch in front of Dehler Magic and six 45ft Riviera powerboats behind them. Once through the shallowest part of the straits, the powerboats took off leaving the three yachts to amble  through the rest of the passage.  Anchored off Inskip Point mid afternoon.  Time for a cool drink after a long day of slow motoring through the Great Sandy Straits.
 
Saturday 1 December - Greg was up at 5am banging and clattering because he went to bed too early last night.  Decision made to sail overnight to Hope Island Marina on the Gold Coast.  Raised anchor at 6.30am to cross Wide Bay Bar - two virgins sacrificed - Greg and Lyn - their first Wide Bay Bar crossing.  Winds ENE 10-15 kts, skies overcast. Mid morning two reefs in main and sailing through rain squalls. In the afternoon winds eased and pleasant sailing, passing Cape Moreton at 6pm. Just after midnight reaching along at 9 knots 18 miles north of Southport the wind swung to the south and heavy rain set in dropped sails and motored to Southport Seaway to the quiet and calm of Bums Bay.  Time for a restful sleep. 
 
Sunday 8.10am race officials approached Dehler Magic as she was anchored in the swim path of a swimming race due to start at 8.30am.  They raised anchor for a slow motored through the Southport Waterways, past exclusive Sovereign Island to Hope Island Resort Marina.  Time to clean up Dehler Magic after a week of sailing.  Highlight of this passage - Greg accidentally self-inflated his lifejacket while wearing it in his cabin.     
 
Photos:
Lyn and Betty taking it easy
Greg toughing it out in a squall
Leaving Great Keppel Island



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16 Dec 2007
A week on the Gold Coast......Greg flew to the Barossa Valley in South Australia for a so called business conference.  Betty and Charlie stayed on the Gold Coast, and enjoyed the company of their daughters Kathryn and Emma.  The stopover also gave Charlie the opportunity to make final adjustments to Dehler Magic.  Lyn went to Brisbane for a few days to catch up with family and friends.
Sunday 9th December 2007
After Greg and Charlie keeping a close eye on the weather, Dehler Magic left Southport Yacht Club Marina at sunset for an overnight sail to Coffs Harbour.  Wind NE 5 knots.  The crew enjoyed the night lights of the Gold Coast as they motored towards NSW.  We sailed into lightening and rain off Point Danger and by sunrise were off Ballina, We arrived at Coffs Harbour on dusk just ahead of a weather system of rain and strong winds moving up the coast.
We spent the next three days in Coffs Harbour Marina.  Greg had the opportunity to spend time with his Mum. Charlie and Lyn enjoyed a sail in the twilight races on a local yacht "Slippery when Wet", a Young 11, and Betty made one of her fabulous stews in preparation for the sail from Coffs Harbour to Sydney.
Dehler Magic sailed out off Coffs Harbour for a direct sail to Sydney early Friday morning.  Winds SSW 10 knots.  They sailed out to the East Australian Current hoping for an increase in speed, but instead found a backeddy and 2 knots of current against us so it was back closer to shore, with only 1 knot of current to contend with.  The scenery was superb, the NSW coastline has miles of isolated white sandy beaches, small coastal towns, the occasional rugged island and a fabulous mountain backdrop.  Dolphins played with Dehler Magic along the way, and at one stage a 3 metre shark came alongside. The night bought lovely clear skies, an abundance of stars and a bright 1/4 moon shining across the ocean, as Dehler Magic motored on. 
Next morning the winds swung around to NW 8 knots as we sailed past Seal Rocks and picturesque Port Stephen. Early afternoon bought a bit of excitement for the Dehler Magic crew, as the winds freshened to 15 knots NE.  Up went the mainsail and headsail goose-winged, and for the first time today the motor was turned off.  We had a celebratory drink and nibbles when we could see Sydney Heads in the distance. Dehler Magic motored through Sydney Heads just after sunset with the lights of the city greeting us always a spectacular sight.
 A bit of fun the next morning as some Japanese tourists excitedly jumped on Dehler Magic and videoed Charlie cooking bacon and eggs on the BBQ.  From their observations, Dehler Magic was the only yacht in the Sydney to Hobart with a BBQ on the back.  Today has been spent cleaning up Dehler Magic and taking down the cruising sails, and preparing the boat in readiness for the big race.  

Photos
Celebratory drink
Lyn under control
Cruising is a rum and coke.


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30 Dec 2007: Sydney to Hobart

After 4 days, 3 hours, 55 minutes, 28 seconds, Dehler Magic finished her race to Hobart in this year's Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. Finishing within seconds of their "shadow" boat "Inner Circle", in 55th place, the Dehler crew universally resonated with the description of "cruisey", as the tropical racing specialists enjoyed 20 something degree temperatures during the Bass Straight crossing. Breeze strengths rarely touched 25 knots as all competitors enjoyed "off the breeze" racing throughout most of the event.

Dehler Magic got line honors and finished 6th on handicap in their racing class of "PHS B" with a corrected time of 4 days, 6 hours, 47 minutes and 32 seconds, some 6 hours behind division winner "Namadgi".

The crew of Dehler Magic accounted for their 4 days on the water, with 4 days of continuously partying as did the other entrants in the celebrated event.

Dehler Magic will now make their way to Melbourne for Geelong race week in the 3rd week of January.

Charlie, Greg and the entire crew would like to thank all those that have provided the sterling support, the well wishes and the welcome financial assistance in their first Sydney to Hobart race.

Photos:
The Crew
Sailing Across Bass Strait


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The Seventh Heaven Story
Click for a short history of Seventh Heaven



Seventh Heaven
Dehler 41DS

Charlie and Betty Preen
PO Box 373
Cannonvale Q 4802

Charlie: 0408 182 822
Betty: 0427 481 342
www.charlieandbetty.com

Whitsunday Guide
Visit the Cumberland Charter Yachts Site for the most comprehensive online area and anchorage guide. Second only to "100 Magic Miles".

  www.ccy.com.au/area



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