Brisbane Airport BNE Issue 3 - page 24

s I stepped on board the ‘Fluffy Muffy’
I felt like a millionaire. The 11.3-metre
catamaran looked like new (it was three
years old) and had facilities to equal a small
apartment – three double bedrooms (or berths),
a well-equipped kitchen (our galley) with
upright fridge, separate freezer chest and an esky,
a barbecue on deck and TV and DVD player.
This was our accommodation and transport for
the next five days.
With really no sailing experience between
us my son Mark, his wife Emma and I were
about to set off on an adventure to cruise the
Whitsundays under our own steam. I couldn’t
believe we were going to be let loose on a
$500,000 boat. First, we had a thorough briefing
on board with Graham, a seasoned sailor of
more than 30 years experience who had been
in an America’s Cup, sailed around the world
with his family, and run a charter operation of
his own before settling in the Whitsundays to
share his experience with tourists like us. He
went through everything from the facilities on
the boat to important things we need to know
about the region and plotting an itinerary for
our journey to make sure we didn’t miss the best
bits on our short trip.
Four hours later Graham steered us out of
Abell Point Marina before hopping on his own
little dinghy to go back to the Cumberland
Charter Yacht base and we were off on our
adventure…Three was an ideal number to
handle a boat this size as almost everything
Sailing for beginners
Victor Carter
had the time of his life learning to sail a luxury
catamaran in the Whitsundays
is electric and instruments are computerised
– and Graham had left us with a copy of the
yachtie’s bible,
100 Magic Miles,
which tells you
everything you need to know about sailing the
Whitsundays, from where to look out for sand
bars, to where to fish (or not fish), where you
Images: Tourism and Events Queensland
Nara Inlet at Hook Island.
Above: Tongue Bay and Whitehaven Beach
can or can’t camp and more.
Our itinerary takes us to Funnel Bay, still
on the edge of the mainland, then Blue Pearl
Bay, on the northern edge of Hayman Island,
Luncheon Bay and Tongue Bay on the eastern
side of Whitsunday Island. Whitehaven beach is
absolutely magical – and deserted on the day we
visited – or so I thought. I got the shock of my
life when I accidentally stepped on a stingray’s
tail as it languished in the sand in the shallows.
It shot off in a second to a deeper hideaway
while I fell over in the water, camera and all, my
holiday pictures lost for good … but it’s one of
the best parts of the holiday for me.
Another highlight for me was a stop at
Hamilton Island where yachties can pay a fee
to moor their boats and have access to resort
facilities like the pool and gym. We tried stand-
up paddle boarding (although I spent more time
falling off), and enjoyed a meal of the local fish
and chips. We had taken our own provisions on
board for the week but it is possible to pre-order
a menu package to take aboard for various
periods of travel fromWhitsunday Provisioning
who will have it all ready for your arrival.
At night we played cards or board games
and didn’t miss our phones, computers or the
TV at all. Our days were full of snorkelling,
swimming, sailing and sightings of dolphins,
colourful fish and the stunning coral reef. We
hiked to see the cave paintings at Nara Inlet
and sailed our last leg back to Airlie Beach in an
11-knot breeze.
We had covered almost 94 nautical miles in
our five days. It wasn’t all dead calm, we had
times of pitching and rolling, times when we
had to hang on, but it was a brilliant adventure
and we arrived back at Abell Point Marina with
a real sense of achievement.
The Carter’s paid their own way and travelled
with Cumberland Charter Yachts. For more
information see
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