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Old 17-11-2009, 16:57   #1
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Whitsundays - End of March

Greetings....can any forum members please assist with some advice.

We are sailing the Whitsundays during the last week of March leaving from Proserpine.

It is a 7 day trip, if anybody can please provide us with a 7 day trip plan that would be fantastic, also what to see , what not to bother with, best places to anchor etc.

Thanks Andrew
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Old 17-11-2009, 18:20   #2
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100 Magic Miles...

There is a guide book called 100 Magic Miles devoted to yachting in the Whitsundays. I haven't read it but it's reputation is good.

Despite visiting the area over 20 odd years my actual time on the water is quite small, so I offer the following suggestions. Other members will know more than me for sure.

1) Assuming you're chartering your charter company will have lots of good suggestions. They may be biased towards keeping their boat safe, but they will also save you lots of hassles.
2) My knowledge is getting a few years old now but the catering companies used to do an excellent job. If there's a few of you even better. A resupply after about three days may be needed. They are good for beer and soft drinks and basic spirits but if you want really nice wine or top of the range spirits it may be best to bring them with you (pack well in case the 'handlers aim is poor). Don't be afraid to discuss what you want with the caterers.
3) Dropping in to Airlie Beach after a few days should be interesting, and all those things that you forgot can probably be brought there. Saturday used to be market day (please check). The fresh water lagoon is well worth a swim.
4) The charter company will probably dictate your mooring/anchorages but including Nara Inlet and Whitehaven Beach in your travels could be rewarding.
5) There can be strong tidal flows between the islands, and when these are opposed by a stiff breeze the result can be quite testing. Best to go with the flow if possible. Your charter company should brief you on this.
6) Bring good quality fins, mask and snorkel with you if you can. They may be available locally but could be time consuming to find, expensive, of poor quality or not fit.
7) Fisherpersons may disagree but I never caught a thing (not even a cold) in 20 years of trying. I did see squid being caught with lights off the end of South Mole jetty once.
8) Check out when the islands have their fancy food. Some of them used to have quite a feast. I'm sure Hayman will be good if you can anchor there and can afford it. Hamilton has a range of eateries.
9) Don't forget a few good hats, a couple of SF 50 shirts and lots of sun block. Put the sun block on before you get off the plane. A decent dose of sunburn is going to seriously degrade your holiday experience.
10) Stingers may still be of concern in March and round the islands. Do your research, check with your charter company and keep the recommended first aid on hand. If you have a thin wet suit or a long sleeved rashie shirt it may be a good idea to bring them.
11) March should be OK but I seem to remember the end of August/September being quite cool. If you have space a light sailing type jacket and windcheater may be appropriate.
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Old 17-11-2009, 19:19   #3
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Some suggested places to visit

Opposite Whitehaven Beach is Chalkies Beach. We fell in love with it whilst we were there. I will reinforce, the current / conditions between Haslewood Is and Whitsunday Is can be severe and change rapidly with the tides / wind.

Other places we enjoyed were Butterfly Bay (great dive spot) and Nara Inlet (check out the aboriginal cave paintings). The kids really enjoyed Hook Is Underwater observatory.

A local butcher at Cannonvale (can't remember the business name now) provided meat in meal size portions crovac'ed and frozen. Your charter company should be able to provide the name of this or other similar businesses. Our vessel had sufficient fridge / freezer / pantry space to take all food requirements for 8 people for 10 days, without the requirement to restock. Airlie region has enough shops and hotels to allow you to stock up but you will want to arrive early the day before to do this. Otherwise, have the charter company do it for you.

Your first day out from Airlie, you should probably stop somewhere close like South Molle Is. The bay there is fairly sheltered and was safe even with a 50 knot gale on our first night there.

Most of the charter companies provide a copy of "100 Magic Miles" aboard.

As for fishing, we caught fish out from Chalkies, although only enough for one meal for the 8 of us.
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Old 17-11-2009, 21:43   #4
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Thanks very much for the replies.

PDBMS what type of fish did you catch?
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Old 17-11-2009, 22:07   #5
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Mainly red-throat emporer, venus tuskfish and a couple we couldn't put a name to.
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Old 17-11-2009, 23:08   #6
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Stingers? Is a long sleeved rash vest adequate or should I go full stinger suite?
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Old 18-11-2009, 01:08   #7
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Suit less risky...

You'd really need to do some research on this.

I'm no expert but my understanding is that the larger the stung area the greater the risk.

Knew one girl who jumped overboard near one of the islands and onto a stinger. She was rushed off to the local doc. He knew what to do and she was fine after a while. Don't think she was wearing a bikini though.

Surf Life Saving Queensland has a website giving basic information.

The Tropical Australia Stinger Research Unit has a website giving much more detailed information.

I did try one of the full length lycra stinger suits some years ago, but found it to be clumsy in the water and hot, unpleasant and rather stupid feeling out. The new ones may be better, but given the resources a very thin wet suit would be my preference these days. In my uneducated and inexperienced opinion a rashie vest with high collar and full length sleeves would be better than nothing and may have the advantages of giving sun protection and be more likely to be worn.
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Old 20-11-2009, 18:00   #8
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I am just about to post about a similar topic. To date I have only ocean kayaked the same area. However, I am in the process of buying a yacht and about to set sail around the Whitsunday’s.

Hopefully before you get to do your trip, I will have uploaded some decent photos and info about the same area!
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Old 20-11-2009, 18:39   #9
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Sweet!

Thanks
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Old 20-11-2009, 21:43   #10
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Andrew,

One thing I have found handy so far is getting on Google Earth and having a close look at the area. I have a nautical chart from a past ocean kayak trip, but found this just as useful for scoping out anchorages, reefs and secluded little beaches.

Now that I have all the details in my laptop's cache, I will probably take it on the trip and get a GPS ariel. I have already downloaded the Google Earth compatible GPS program I found on another forum.
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Old 21-11-2009, 00:14   #11
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Butterfly bay was nice.
Blue perl bay the best if the water is clear.
Whitehaven was horrible each time we went there. How the hell do they get those brochure photos? The one day per millenium?
Nara inlet is nice... the aboriginal cave paintings are ok (but a joke of political correctness gone extremely wild. Look to find the solar panels running the 'show'.)

Get to the big supermarket in cannonvale to provision whit lots of beer and good food.

I don't remember that there is anywhere you can fish, nor can you light a fire etc so if doing it again I reckon the portable BBQ from home stuffed into the suicase, a hugh meat tray stuffed in the other suitcase and the beer up Teddy's butt in the kids suitcases and you will have a great ol time

As for the sailing, well its pretty good. We found quite strong winds in March, 20kts each and every day, so may as well make the most of the sailing and then hide somewhere for a BBQ later on


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Old 23-11-2009, 14:31   #12
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A mate’s neighbour overheard us talking about my trip and lent me a copy of “100 Magic Miles of the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands”. Apparently it is now the recognised “bible” for cruising the Whitsunday’s. It is absolutely comprehensive with everything you need to know from tourist tips to anchorages.

This lady also showed me her stinger suit. It is the kind you buy up there in a kit with booties, gloves and hood for around $25. They are readily available from shops around the area, but watch you don’t get conned into buying one of the more expensive full lycra style suits.

Unlike the lycra versions, this one is more a sea through fine netting material that is really breathable and will still let you get a tan. The material is also a lot more robust than the old pantyhose people were once forced to don. Apparently, this time of year you look a lot more out of place – if not stupid – swimming without one that what you do wearing one.
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Old 23-11-2009, 14:33   #13
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@ Markj

The same lady also said Butterfly Bay was her pick!
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