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Sailing the Whitsunday Islands

Updated on November 29, 2012

Sailing off of the Australian Coast

In the fall of 2004, my friends and I embarked on the Matador for a three day sailing cruise through the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The maxi had space for four crew members, and 20 passengers which consisted of six in my group, twelve Italians with limited English, and two Englishwomen. Most of the day we would motor around the islands (there wasn't enough wind to actually sail all of the time) laying out, looking at the islands, the ocean, sea turtles mating, dolphins and other sea creatures. This was one of the most relaxing, peaceful experiences of my life. At night, we watched the sunset over the water, over the islands, anchored with a few other sail boats around us.

I lived in Australia for 5 months in 2004, the fall of my Junior year of college. Due to a mix up with the registrar's office, this biochemist had a semester without science classes, which (by luck) resulted in 4.5 day weekends. I had these adventures before I started blogging, but I still sent regular group emails home to friends and family describing these experiences. Looking back through these emails helped me remember the awe and excitement I had through these journeys, and I finally get to publish excerpts from my "log" here in this lens.

Have you sailed through the Whitsunday Islands?

Have you sailed through the Whitsundays?

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Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, there are 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays chain. These islands are contain an extension of the great barrier reef, although the type of reef is different than you would see on the outer reef. Learn more about the Whitsunday Islands here.

Views from the Boat

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Another ship anchored near usI never got sick of laying on the deck of the boat looking out at the islands around us.You can see a bit of the fringe reef here.  We're not in the open ocean of the Great Barrier Reef, but the reef extends around the little islands, too.
Another ship anchored near us
Another ship anchored near us
I never got sick of laying on the deck of the boat looking out at the islands around us.
I never got sick of laying on the deck of the boat looking out at the islands around us.
You can see a bit of the fringe reef here.  We're not in the open ocean of the Great Barrier Reef, but the reef extends around the little islands, too.
You can see a bit of the fringe reef here. We're not in the open ocean of the Great Barrier Reef, but the reef extends around the little islands, too.

Our Itinerary

Day 1

Border Island

Whitehaven Beach

Day 2

Hill Inlet

Blue Pearl Bay

Day 3

Blue Pearl Snorkel

Langford Beach

Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

When I say that we traveled to deserted beaches, I mean that our boat was the only one at the beach. Sure, other groups come through, but for the hour we were at this beach we were the only people there! We walked along deserted beaches that squeaked as we walked, with sand so find it can be used to polish jewelery (of course, I had left all of mine in a safe place so it wouldn’t get lost.. but I would have polished it if I had brought it on the boat!)

In the take only pictures, leave only footprints spirit of Australian travel, we left some finger prints to mark our travels.

Beached Jellyfish
Beached Jellyfish

Protection from the Skinners

All of us were equip with stinger suits to protect us from the lethal jelly fish that could be breeding at the time. Even with the protection of this snorkel suit, I saw a jellyfish in the water while snorkeling, panicked and swam the other direction. I think I almost ran into that bugger four times, and yes it was the same one not multiple. I know that it wasn't the deadly kind because those I wouldn't have been able to see in the water.. but nevertheless I had no desire for a boo-boo!

Read more Prosail FAQ's.

Views from the Shore

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Hill Inlet is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever viewed in my life.  The shallow water looks like it was painted as the color shines through in swirls with the sand.Hill Inlet is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever viewed in my life.  The shallow water looks like it was painted as the color shines through in swirls with the sand.I normally don't post photos of myself on my blogs... but I couldn't rests showing this photo of me swimming with the fish around the Whitsundays!Look at that clam!These reefs are so close to the surface that you don't really need to dive to get a good picture.Unfortunately I was using a disposable camera, so Elvis was partially blocked by a fish that swarm between us.  Elvis is a HUGE fish, just about as large as me.  The crew of ships traveling through the Whitsundays told us he was friendly, but seeing
Hill Inlet is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever viewed in my life.  The shallow water looks like it was painted as the color shines through in swirls with the sand.
Hill Inlet is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever viewed in my life. The shallow water looks like it was painted as the color shines through in swirls with the sand.
Hill Inlet is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever viewed in my life.  The shallow water looks like it was painted as the color shines through in swirls with the sand.
Hill Inlet is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever viewed in my life. The shallow water looks like it was painted as the color shines through in swirls with the sand.
I normally don't post photos of myself on my blogs... but I couldn't rests showing this photo of me swimming with the fish around the Whitsundays!
I normally don't post photos of myself on my blogs... but I couldn't rests showing this photo of me swimming with the fish around the Whitsundays!
Look at that clam!
Look at that clam!
These reefs are so close to the surface that you don't really need to dive to get a good picture.
These reefs are so close to the surface that you don't really need to dive to get a good picture.
Unfortunately I was using a disposable camera, so Elvis was partially blocked by a fish that swarm between us.  Elvis is a HUGE fish, just about as large as me.  The crew of ships traveling through the Whitsundays told us he was friendly, but seeing
Unfortunately I was using a disposable camera, so Elvis was partially blocked by a fish that swarm between us. Elvis is a HUGE fish, just about as large as me. The crew of ships traveling through the Whitsundays told us he was friendly, but seeing

The Last Day

The last day was scorching. We went to this beach where there was a sandbar that was in the middle, waves crashing on me on either side. (Glamour shot time!) The boat was so hot that I burned the bottoms of my feet, not from the sun, from walking barefoot on the surface (they confiscated all of our shoes the first day.)

On the trip back to the mainland, we convinced the captain to let us jump off of the boat into the water. We went to the front, jumped over the edge, and before we knew it we would be at the ladder, and would have to grab on or be swept out to sea. I probably jumped off 20 times. (The boat was moving really slow, so it wasn't dangerous.) None of us wanted the sailing to end!

Have you visited the Great Barrier Reef?

Have you ever visited the Great Barrier Reef?

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Prosail Matador Maxi Sailing

I was thrilled with my experiences on the Matador with Prosail.

Unfortunately we did not have a lot of wind, so we spent little of our trip actually sailing. Since the crew was so small, they had the passengers get involved with cranking up the sail! The food was delicious, and the crew was friendly and helpful. Once we returned to the mainland, there was an offer to go to a bar with the crew to celebrate the trip, but unfortunately we had to run and catch the bus to our next adventure.

Living on the Boat

The sleeping quarters were cramped, and our beds had to double as our luggage storage. My bed was like a stable hammock, and was quite comfortable.

Living on the boat, we had limited water and electricity. On the morning of our last day, we were told that there was about, oh 5 liters of water left. 5 liters! If we ran out of water, by Queensland law we would have had to return straight to the harbor, but we were able to make it to all of our sights that day.

It is fun to go through my old descriptions of this trip, especially since I was using Australian spelling!

Our route through the Whitsundays

Our route through the Whitsundays
Our route through the Whitsundays

What do you think of my trip?

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    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Fabulous and memorable.

    • PaulaMorgan profile image

      Paula Morgan 6 years ago from Sydney Australia

      Beautiful photos - Lenrolled to my Queensland Islands lens.....

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 6 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      Lucky you! What a trip. Angel blessed and featured on Apprentic Angel

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 6 years ago

      Oh, I love your photos! Beautiful!

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      What beautiful beaches - incredible! Blessed by a SquidAngel.