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Old 08-08-2013, 02:41   #1
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Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

G'day Sailors,
Has anybody sailed to this reef ? I can't seem to find any info. on possible anchorages etc.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:10   #2
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

Hi BobFord

Do you mean the Hook Reef just North of the Whitsundays? If so, the cruising guide "100 Magic Miles" has info about anchorages for it and nearby reefs. We spent 2 nights at nearby Bait Reef this week and it was brilliant. There are public moorings at Bait and anchorages at Line, Hook and Hardy reef. Apologies if youre referring to a different Hook!
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:17   #3
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

Hi BobFord,

Like BlueSun, I have also spent some time out at Hook Reef. There are a couple of moorings on the edge of the reef and it's a beautiful place to spend some time.

If the moorings are taken (pretty unlikely) I'd suggest trying some to get on a mooring at one of the nearby reefs rather than anchoring - your ground tackle, and far more importantly, the reef, will thank you.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:28   #4
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

I have not anchored on hook reef (although anchorage is possible), but I have on the nearby Hardy reef and Bait reef.
Hardy reef is a great anchorage,no other boats and you can stay as long as you like, but it is very dangerous and scary entrance. I would not recommend it to most people. The information in 100 magic is also total wrong. The only time you can enter is a high tide. At most other time the entrance is a waterfall. The entrance is unmarked. There are two other entrances very close that are suicide. The true entrance is about 1.6 m deep, but only about 4m wide the current will be at least 5k.

By contrast Bait reef was an easy anchorage and now is even easier with moorings available. The only problem is the 2 hour limit on the moorings is totally impractical in a remote location like this. The few commercial operators pay a lot of money for the privilege of going out to the reef, but they are generally very friendly. It has been many years since I have been there and regulations may have changed, but there was an area you can anchor (and fish) on bait reef. Expect to have to explain your anchoring and or fishing to the commercial operators who are convinced it is illegal until you show them the regulations (and this may have changed, so please check first). Expect to anchor in about 15m of water.

GPS has made travel to these destinations easy compared to days when the first challenge was to find them without running into them first.

These anchorages have no island protection. So at high tide you are exposed to all the ocean swell many of my early trips were in a small coastal rated yacht with a low AVS. There were several times when I was concerned about the possibility of capsize at anchor. Don't take people prone to seasickness.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:10   #5
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

I am expecting to visit Bait & Hook Reef next week,weather permitting so I have a copy of 100 Magic Miles with me. It says "There is quite a tidal sweep right across Hook reef and if south east winds exceed 15 knots with a flooding tide it is very uncomfortable. It tends to be uncomfortable in winds other than south-east or east." According to the book there are 5 public moorings available at nearby Bait reef (2 miles west), but the book rates them as pretty uncomfortable for overnighting. I am currently anchored at Hook Island which is 18 miles south west of the reef. In anything but flat calm I'll be coming back here because there are 2 inlets here with great all round protection so I don't see why I need to bob around all night at the reef getting no sleep.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:17   #6
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

Very interested to hear your thoughts on the Hardy Reef entrance Noelex 77 as we are thinking of heading back out there soon! Thanks!

There is no anchoring at Bait reef anymore, as far as we could tell, which can only be good for the reef IMO.

We went in calm weather - saw nothing over 10 or 12 knots and mostly 5-10 - and it was very comfortable, even at high tide.

We also met one of the commercial operators while at Bait Reef and they were SUPER friendly and helpful! Guided us in and offered us the use of one of their moorings until a public one was free. I dont think the 2 hour time limit can realistically be enforced out there.

It was a truly fantastic experience for us with pods of humpback whales less than 15 metres from the boat (i.e. in the lagoon) and gorgeous weather.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:26   #7
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

Enjoy. It is a magical place.

I would certainly aim for Bait reef and the public moorings for your first visit. Aim to arrive when the sun is high for maximum visibility.

See how you tolerate the swell, but remember at high tide it will be worse. I have spent a couple of weeks there in a 25 foot yacht so overnight is certainly viable if you can tolerate the roll. Its a shame to leave after only a few hours.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:37   #8
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

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Originally Posted by BlueSun View Post
Very interested to hear your thoughts on the Hardy Reef entrance Noelex 77 as we are thinking of heading back out there soon! Thanks!
Happy to help and answer any questions but I have never seen or heard of another boat in there and the anchorage is about 10miles long so its not going to become crowded.

However I would not recommend it.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:46   #9
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Happy to help and answer any questions but I have never seen or heard of another boat in there and the anchorage is about 10miles long so its not going to become crowded.

However I would not recommend it.
Sounds perfect! Thanks Noelex.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:56   #10
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

In our experience, the anchorage at Hook Reef is quite tenable in trade winds up to at least 20 knots. The protection is surprisingly good, but it can get bouncy at a big high tide... just like lots of other anchorages! If there is a shift to any N'ly quadrant wind (as in an approaching frontal system) one MUST leave, for there is no protection at all and the trip back to Butterfly Bay (nearest decent anchorage) can be difficult as the wind swings through NW.

And anchoring at Hook is NO threat to the reef, for one anchors in a large area of fairly clear sand, just in the lee of the reef proper.

Cheers,

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Old 09-08-2013, 04:26   #11
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Re: Hook Reef Coral Sea Australia

We just put some photos up on our blog from our time at Bait Reef. Gives some impression of what it's like in light conditions.

Bass Voyager: Whitsundays and Bait Reef
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