Sailing the Whitsunday Islands
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?
Views from the BoatClick thumbnail to view full-size
Blue Pearl Bay
Blue Pearl Snorkel
Books about the Whitsundays
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.
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!
Views from the ShoreClick thumbnail to view full-size
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?
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!