Sailing The Whitsundays

Whitsunday Islands Travel Blog

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Our route
Our two-day sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands didn't get off to the best of starts. Told to meet at 12:30 to depart at 1:00, we found ourselves like two lost tourists with puzzled looks on our faces in the wrong part of the marina before we finally found a crew member at 12:45. They wanted to depart by then because of the tides retreating and we were thus told we would have to go out on a separate dinghy - not a good way to embrace the people you will spend the next two nights couped up with on a Maxi sailing boat.

We met the three members of the crew - two colourful Aussie stereotypes who pretty much ignored the blokes onboard, and a young English girl who was on a year out playing the hostie. After setting off, we had to lend a hand with getting the sails up so that we could get to our first destination.
The mighthy Condor
It was up to us (and a few others) to provide the muscle. And once the sails were up, we even got a chance to steer - a totally different, and far more relaxing, type of vehicle to the 4x4's on Fraser Island. After arriving at Cataran Bay, it was time to put some snorkel equipment on and annoy some fish. Visibility was not perfect, but far better than any snorkelling we had done to date, and the coral was bursting with activity. Then grub was served, which was fantastic throughout the two days, while we accustomed ourselves to the motion of the ocean while watching the stars at their brightest. The crew put on some games, including cereal killer, where you have to pick up a cereal box decreasing in size after every successful attempt using only your mouth and without touching the floor.
Hoisting the sails
Easier said than done, it left my groin in a world of pain, even if I was glad to get through until the final round, then beaten by a bunch of girls, dammit.

Then it was to our sleeping quarters, which, because of our late arrival, meant we had last choice. I actually ended up with one I was happy with, in a side cabin from the main and with a lookout to the stars above. Apart from it being a bit sticky still from the day's blistering sunshine, I still had a pretty good couple of night's sleep.

An early start for our only full day onboard, and it was sails up again as we went to our next location, Whitehaven Beach. Perhaps hammered to death in the postcards you see on your travels, on a perfect sunny day it still looked spectacular, despite being semi-full of similar trips of 18 to 30-year-olds basking in its beauty.
Sunset on our first night
With our sexy stinger suits on - the risk is still high apparently - we walked amongst reef sharks and stingrays. Fortunately, I succeeded where Steve Irwin failed and made it out alive. On our way back, Andy the skipper let us taste the behind of giant green ants that had a citrus taste to them. It was a bit weird and a bit citrusy, but not something I will be yearning to try again.

After a spot on lunch it was snorkelling time again, this time around Black Island. The visibility was better and the fish were out in full. Again, I tried to follow a couple of big ones and generally just get on their nerves a bit. As we were anchored, any leftover food was fed to the bat fish who were so keen for the stale bread we placed on the surface, you could even give them a bit of a stroke or a slap.
Eat it!
A white-breasted sea eagle (so I'm told) also swooped down to get some of the leftover ham, which they do every time the boats come by, so the captain tells me.

Again taking the helm, we steered the boat towards where we would anchor for our second and final night, Caves Cape. There, we were treated to a very tasty barbeque that was cooked on the back of the boat. Most were pretty tired from a (somehow) quite exhausting lazy day and retired to bed early. Then a bit of snorkelling at 7:00 the next morning before we headed back to Airlie Beach to disembark. A wonderful couple of days, if a huge contrast to that of hectic Fraser Island. It was a refreshing change, in a way, to being wet and covered in sand, but perhaps Fraser Island edges it for me in comparison because I enjoyed really having to bond with the team while we where there - perhaps a view or a scene is best when its earned, rather than someone taking you to it. Two great trips, though, and definitely worth breaking the budget for.
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Our route
Our route
The mighthy Condor
The mighthy Condor
Hoisting the sails
Hoisting the sails
Sunset on our first night
Sunset on our first night
Eat it!
Eat it!
The guys on our  trip...
The guys on our trip...
The moon
The moon
Bye-bye, sun
Bye-bye, sun
Sexy stinger suit
Sexy stinger suit
Paradise is very nice
Paradise is very nice
Around the corner at Whitehaven Be…
Around the corner at Whitehaven B…
..and the girls
..and the girls
Licking a citrus-flavoured ant bum
Licking a citrus-flavoured ant bum
Whitehaven Beach lookout
Whitehaven Beach lookout
Pretty useful
Pretty useful
Whitehaven Beach looking left
Whitehaven Beach looking left
Whitehaven Beach looking right
Whitehaven Beach looking right
Sails down
Sails down
Sails up
Sails up
White-breasted sea eagle
White-breasted sea eagle
Feeding the bat fish
Feeding the bat fish
The captain of the ship
The captain of the ship
Ships at sunset
Ships at sunset
Taking the sails down
Taking the sails down
Sunset at Caves Cape
Sunset at Caves Cape
BBQ
BBQ
Out at sea
Out at sea
Airlie beach lagoon
Airlie beach lagoon
Whitsunday Islands
photo by: kimpigott