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Old 14-07-2013, 02:31   #16
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

100 magic miles is the book you need. Agree that flying in to Hammo is the best. September is the sweet spot weather wise (and whale spotting wise as well). If you like sailing days of 20+ knot trade winds, then April to around now is better. All the charter companies here all seem to be ok although Sunsail seems to get the best reps overall. Don't worry too much about scheds as they are reasonably relaxed. The only time I've heard them genuinely panic was when one one fella wanted to run his charter power cat to Palm Island to visit a sick Auntie

Places not to be missed include Blue Pearl Bay, Butterfly Bay, Whitehaven Beach and Tongue Bay (for the beach and lookout at Hill Inlet). For a more urbanised experience, most of the resorts allow charterers to visit/stay for an appropriate fee.

Even in peak season, there is always plenty of room for everyone. You might not get your first pick, but there will always be something near by.
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Old 14-07-2013, 17:03   #17
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Butterfly Bay or Maureens Cove used to be a great anchorages. The government installed moorings and banned anchoring from both places. (Although there is a small patch outside the bBtterfly Bay that is not covered by the ban. This is too rolly in most conditions to be used.)

I have checked the anchor many times in both bays and there is no live coral on the bottom. There are several coral bommies in both anchorages and the edges are fringed in live coral. These dry out at low tide so anchoring here is not possible.

The moorings are great for the charter companies. It ensures their yachts are secure for the night and takes the worry out of anchoring for the charterers, but it is now only possible for 12-15 boats to share the three bays (Butterfly has 2 bays)

The 2hr limit (or overnight after 4pm) is OK for charter yachts, but does not suit the slower pace of many cruising yachts

Many other areas like Bait Reef are the same (but there are permit restrictions and charterers cannot visit) the last time I was in the Whitsundays Hardy Lagoon was about the last safe overnight anchorage on the Great Barrier Reef itself (in the Whitsunday area). The entrance to this unmarked and very difficult. I have never seen another boat anchored there, which is probably the only thing that has saved it from restrictions. Here is a Google earth photo of Hardy Lagoon to drool over. To give you an idea of scale the lagoon is amount 10nm long.





For cruising vessels there are multitudes of anchorages along the whole length of the GBR not just off the Whitsundays. Generally speaking most cruising yachts cruise the mainline islands and miss the vast expanse of the GBR seemingly scared off by the coral. The GBR is well charted and as long as you use commonsense, mark 1 eyeball and the sun properly has much to drool over.
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Old 14-07-2013, 17:35   #18
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

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[/I][/B]



For cruising vessels there are multitudes of anchorages along the whole length of the GBR not just off the Whitsundays. Generally speaking most cruising yachts cruise the mainline islands and miss the vast expanse of the GBR seemingly scared off by the coral. The GBR is well charted and as long as you use commonsense, mark 1 eyeball and the sun properly has much to drool over.
Thanks for the thoughts. The GBR is wonderfull crusing ground Unfortunatly the last time I cruised the area was in a lightweight 26 foot boat which had some limitations.
At high tide the limited AVS was, on occasion, in danger of being exceeded at anchor !
I would love to cruise the area in a more seaworthy craft.
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:30   #19
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

Hello Everyone, mind if I butt in? I am also considering Whitsundays, with Sunsail next June 2014. Sunsail lists the area as "Level 1" meaning pretty calm waters. We were sort of bored in BVI but thrilled with the quality of sailing in the Grenadines, so looking for something in the middle. I fear lack of wind! Would appreciate hearing from those that can compare to these destinations in terms of quality of sailing, local attractions, and value for the dollar. Otherwise we may head back to the Grenadines next year....
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:44   #20
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

We did this type of charter....except it was a monohull, with Sunsail, on Hamilton island, in October....three years ago. It was the spring in Austrailia and absolutely perfect for sailing. Good winds and exciting sailing, beautiful beaches, excellent weather and very few of the stingers.....jellyfish at that time. Make sure you pick the right time of year.....it was perfect weather in October....not to hot but warm enough to snorkel every day....ya gotta see the reef!
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:49   #21
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

We were thinking mid-July when our kids are out of school? Good time then? And are there activities on the islands that we would enjoy? Thanks for sharing!
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Old 26-09-2013, 13:12   #22
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

I have not sailed the Grenadines but there is a good sailing wind in the Whitsundays in June

The SE trades are reasonably consistent 15K most days with not much over 25k so pretty perfect sailing.
There is no big waves, but wind against tide can produce lumpy conditions. The consistent wind direction means you will get every point of sail as you go around the islands.
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Old 26-09-2013, 13:14   #23
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

OK - sold on sailing conditions, thanks! Can someone tell me what we would find topside? Do the islands have unique personalities? Again for comparison, we felt BVI was all focused on the tourist trade while Grenadines and Greneda were "wild" and primitive. We prefer the latter but something inbetween is OK too!
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Old 26-09-2013, 13:31   #24
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

The Whitsunday islands are a mixture of largely uninhabited islands with no facilities and busy resorts.
I prefer the the uninhabited parts and there are plenty of those to loose yourself in for a couple of weeks, but in these areas that means no restaurants, shops or fresh water. Most charterers therefore mix up the areas visited.

Make sure the group has similar priorities. There are deserted areas, spots with good snorkelling, great beaches, sheltered anchorages and rolly ones. Islands with great nightlife and many others with none.
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Old 26-09-2013, 14:32   #25
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

The anchorages in the "central" Whitsundays (the ones close to Airlie/Shute harbour) can be quite busy. Not crowded, but there are plenty of other boats around.

If you're willing to sail to the Southern islands, (of those available to charterers) like Thomas or Goldsmith, you stand a reasonable chance of having a nice anchorage with a beautiful beach entirely to yourself.
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Old 26-09-2013, 15:28   #26
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

IFAIK, charter yachts aren't allowed to go further south than Thomas Island, but is a way away and a lot quieter than most other anchorages where the charter crowds hang out.
Nomad, If you like wind, Jan to July are about the best times so June is good. If you want a bit of excitement, sail up the Whitsunday passage on a flood tide during a good blow! Not big seas but the chop will knock ya socks off.

If you want to do some weather research for the area, this is a good start:

Hamilton Island, Qld - Daily Weather Observations

(Has links to past observations as well)

Oh yeah, here's a couple of my videos to give you an idea of typical conditions

Sailing the Whitsunday Passage - YouTube

Vega in Whitsundays 20-25 kn breeze - YouTube
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Old 26-09-2013, 17:00   #27
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

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We were thinking mid-July when our kids are out of school? Good time then? And are there activities on the islands that we would enjoy? Thanks for sharing!
Most of the islands have walking tracks which allows you to see not only the one your on but also give some amazing views of the surrounding islands and sea.Breahtaking views for photos and usually the tracks wind up to the highest peak.The islands which have resorts on them are usually quite happy to have you come visit so long as you check in and perhaps pay for a meal you can use their facilities,great for the kids, pools ,mini golf tennis etc.
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Old 26-09-2013, 18:00   #28
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

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Hello Everyone, mind if I butt in? I am also considering Whitsundays, with Sunsail next June 2014.
Exact same here; considering a trip in June with Sunsail. Sunsail web site claims tides of 1 meter, but "100 Magic Miles" says tides of 5+ meters. Not sure what to make of that.

I'd also like to get opinions on the danger of stingers in June. Would one normally use a Lycra suit then?

Thanks,
-Steve
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Old 26-09-2013, 18:08   #29
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

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Originally Posted by sec906 View Post
Exact same here; considering a trip in June with Sunsail. Sunsail web site claims tides of 1 meter, but "100 Magic Miles" says tides of 5+ meters. Not sure what to make of that.

I'd also like to get opinions on the danger of stingers in June. Would one normally use a Lycra suit then?

Thanks,
-Steve
G'Day Steve,

The tidal range gets rapidly greater as you go south. Eg, at Shute Harbour the range is about 3 metres, but at Shaw Island it is over 4 and so on. Don't know where Sunsail is coming from with one metre... that's crazy!

Stingers should be minimal in June, but there is always a chance of a lurker. Things change year to year, so the best thing would be to take a stinger suit and then ask locally about current conditions.

Enjoy yourselves

Jim
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Old 26-09-2013, 18:50   #30
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

[QUOTE=Reefmagnet;1350504]---------------------------
If you want a bit of excitement, sail up the Whitsunday passage on a flood tide during a good blow! Not big seas but the chop will knock ya socks off.

-----------------------------------------------

Agreed.

However always plan to use the tides in your schedule.
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