Existing Member?

Gina, Joe and Justin's Backpacking Experience

Whittsunday Sailing

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 13 January 2009 | Views [1074] | Comments [1]

Sailing the Whittsunday Islands is almost an iconic activity for the east Australian coast.  It’s like the Disney World of Florida, you almost have to go.  The Whittsunday island chain is set pretty close to shore and quite close to one another making them ideal for sailing around...or so we were told by our trusty captain.  There are 74 total islands in the area and a whole bunch of reefs scattered about.  From what I was able to discern these reefs are not actually part of the Great Barrier Reef, but rather what is called the Inner Reef system?!?  For the sailing,   Andrew set us up with a company called Southern Cross (they love that Southern Cross constellation here!!! everything is named after it) which has a bunch of boats to suit every need and income level (one was $25,000 a week per person!!!!!).  Having never sailed before we decided on a 3 day / 2 night excursion thinking that love it or hate it 3 days would be pllleeeenttty of time on the water....In hindsight we couldn't have been more correct. 


Our boat was called EUREKA! 2 and was a retired 60 Foot long American Cup racing sailboat.  When we first signed up were super excited about being able to spend a few days on a RACING boat, but it didn’t take long for us to piece together the puzzle that “racing” boats are not built for what normal people would consider “comfort.”  We defined it as the equivalent as driving a NASCAR car across the country...It would be awesome for about 50 miles, then you would regret the commitment!


As you can see by our pictures the living quarters for the 14 of us were pretty “cozy.”  We were lucky enough, if you want to consider it lucky, to have our own private room (or sauna).  There were a few people that had to SHARE a bed with a random person because there weren't enough single beds for everyone...sounds kinda overbooked eh?  One girl even opted to sleep on the bench around the kitchen table, haha.  Our private room wasn't a whole lot better though.  Because it rained every night at sea you couldn't really leave the hatches open to let air in or the room would flood, and for the same reason you couldn’t sleep up on the main deck either.  So basically you had no choice, but to sleep in the unventilated room that had a relative humidity of 99% and a temperature of about 95 degree's!!!!!!!!!  Joe actually got dehydrated because he sweat so much during the night, and Gina finally decided that sleeping in the rain was better than bathing in Joe's dirty man sweat...I cant say I blame her!


Aside from all that there were parts of the adventure that were great!  Sailing itself was awesome (when it wasn't raining), its really interesting watching the captain determine the positioning of the sails and maneuvering the boat at the right time to take advantage of gusts and whatnot.  We were even encouraged to help out with raising the sails and occasionally steering.  One of the coolest things about whole process is how before the sails are up and in action you hear a ton of noise from the hollowing wind and flapping ropes/sails and the moment the sails catch it goes basically silent except for the sound of the water!  I will say that there's quite a bit more that goes into the process than I originally imagined and we defiantly have a new found respect for those that can do it well.


We made a few stops along the way two of which were for snorkeling (as you can see by the pictures) which was pretty good considering each of the spots probably sees 100 people a day every day of the year.  There were a lot of clams which are one of my favorite things to see so that makes it all worthwhile.  The only land based stop made during the trip was to the famous Whitehaven beach.  According to the locals this beach is always rated as one of the top 10 in the world.  The main reason for this being the whole beach has sand that is 99.9% silica.  It’s perfectly white and the sand particles were almost like powered they were so fine.  This superfine sand gets suspended in the water and when hit by the sun reflects a perfect blue turquoise color that makes it look like the most topical place on earth.  Unfortunately we didn’t have too much sun the day we were there, but it was still pretty spectacular nonetheless. 


The beach also had these MASSIVE swarms (1000's) of tiny little crabs that moved like an army across the sand.  If you tried to walk towards them the entire group would move like a blob of oil on water, and if you managed to get real close to them the entire group would instantly burrow themselves underground and in 10 seconds they would all be completely gone!  I took a video of these guys doing this, it’s really something to see.  I'll do my best to post it up on youtube at some point ;).



The sailing was a cool experience, but in the future I think I will go for comfort rather than performance. On a funny note Justin has still not bought a rain jacket on our trip yet despite our daily walks in RAIN FOREST for the last two months. I guess holding out somehow proves his manhood, you da man Justin! This was especially funny when we were riding on the deck of the sail boat crusing at about 20 knots and the rain was hitting us like well thrown syringes. Justin was crying in agony trying to cover his plentiful amount of exposed skin while Gina and I laughed under our jackets.


  gborchers3 Jan 13, 2009 1:48 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about Australia

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.