Where to go in the Whitsundays?

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SimonP
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Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by SimonP » Mar 18th, '21, 07:16

We have a week of cruising planned for May, setting off from Hamilton Island
I'd be grateful for a suggested itinerary, given that the prevailing winds in May are South-Easterly, and we'd like to do any hard slog early on, with a smooth run or reach home at the end of the week
We're looking for a mixture of walks, secluded beaches and good snorkelling sites
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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by Even Keel » Mar 18th, '21, 09:09

Best snorkeling: Blue Pearl Bay and Butterfly Bay (or near there). Best walks: the top of Whitsunday island from Cid Harbour and the top of South Molle island. Hill inlet is very cool too. One week is not long.

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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by JimboT » Mar 18th, '21, 18:29

We have been there twice recently, once in our 20’ Boomerang for 10 days in September a few years ago and then a week on a 30’ bareboat charter in June last year. We had less than 20 knots breeze with the B20 but had 30 knots most of the week in June, so be prepared early in the season for some blowy conditions.

Most of the anchorages are within a day's sail of each other, so we basically just ran up or down wind as we liked and didn’t really worry about trying to make an easy run for ourselves. The biggest thing to watch out for is to make certain you do not get yourself in a wind against tide situation when crossing the main Whitsunday Passage between Molle and Hook/Whitsunday Islands. We had an appointment in Airlie and had to cross in a 30 knot sou-easter with a run in tide. The swell was well over 3m and definitely not the fun that the tourist brochures tout.

Plenty of great anchorages for the prevailing SE winds including Butterfly Bay, Nara and the less popular but still stunning Macona. Windy Bay might also be worth a look (when the wind is below 15 knots this is actually a beautiful and almost deserted spot that we just love). Double Bay on the mainland is also worth a look if you don’t like crowds. Stonehaven was also nice, and gives a good jump off point for several short sails to some great destinations. Chalkies was nice, but it gets up an annoying swell overnight so have never slept well there.

Our favourite snorkelling spots that we found were least affected by cyclone damage were:
- the north end of Whitsunday Island just inside Hook Passage
- the eastern side of the bay facing north on Border Island (Cateran Bay?)
- Chalkies (swam straight off the boat from the moorings)
- Eastern side of Windy Bay on Hasslewood Island just around the corner from Chalkies

We did not go south of Hamilton on either voyage as there is literally so much to see and do in the north with easy, safe hops between each destination, and none of the anchorages looked that good in South Easterlies.
Hope this helps the planning.
JimboT

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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by juan » Mar 23rd, '21, 08:41

been there twice myself. Boh in July, both in chartered boats (monohull first time, cat the second one).
first trip:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing

second:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing

We loved border island, fantastic walk and the sense of isolation.
Also good to have gone to the Lindeman group on the second trip.
The best snorkel I remember was in Butterfly bay and in Chalkies beach.

The walk from Cid Harbor to the top is also worth doing. 3-4 hours return depending on your pace.

If I had my own boat and the right conditions I would go to the outer reef to dive there.
Juan
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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by Johny » Mar 23rd, '21, 16:40

We were there on Sept. 2019 in our Jarcat6. We drove up and back from Melbourne. I documented the trip up, back and on the water in my blog - see my signature. Also search "Whitsundays" on this forum for other folks stories.
Jarcat 6, Kismet. 6M Catamaran. 9.8HP 2 Stroke Tohatsu.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV tow car.
AVAN Cruiseliner land yacht.
https://jarcat6.blogspot.com.au/

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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by Ian » Mar 23rd, '21, 19:00

I lived there for four years. ‘07 to ‘11. The best advice I can give is get a hold of “100 Magic Miles”
It’s the bible for the Whitsundays.
Apart from that, Funnel bay as you approach or leave Airlie is aptly named.
The amount of times I saw a charter yacht or not concentrating local get knocked by a bullet I couldn’t tell you.
Often hilarious. Might of got caught myself once :D
The last one is go to the Whitsunday Sailing Club when in town for an ale and a feed. Can’t speak for the food now but the view is stunning.
Twilight Wednesdays always an event.

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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by SimonP » Mar 23rd, '21, 20:10

Thanks for the info guys
Destinations look good
We've got "100 Magic Miles", but that doesn't narrow down the choices, it magnifies them ten-fold!
We've got a 1/10 share of a Nantucket Islander 33, based at Hammo, so hope to keep away from Airlie
We're spending a week with my cousins, then Marion and I will have a week to ourselves, then other two weeks in September with friends, after doing Race Week
It will be great to get away at last!
Hours spent sailing are not counted in man's allotted time on earth.
The gods understand that time on the water is time spent in heaven.
Anon

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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by JimboT » Mar 25th, '21, 10:49

Ian wrote:
Mar 23rd, '21, 19:00
Apart from that, Funnel bay as you approach or leave Airlie is aptly named.
The amount of times I saw a charter yacht or not concentrating local get knocked by a bullet I couldn’t tell you.
Often hilarious. Might of got caught myself once :D
I can second the advice about bullets and Funnel Bay. With our daughter on board for her first time in a monohull, we sailed out of Airlie in the charter in a lovely 10 to 15 knot crosswind and heeled "nicely" under our first bullet. Apparently daughter was flung across the cabin and emerged into the cockpit very shaken as she thought we had nearly capsized. 30 minutes into the trip, daughter proclaimed that she doesn't like sailboats.
Moral is that as the skipper, I should have been more aware of the effect of the bullets and told our newby to sit down and hold tight, but I was too distracted familiarising myself with the boat and sails to make sure we didn't actually capsize to think this through.
Once we settled into the routine of watching for the gusts on the water, it was a great challenge and a lot of fun, but for the less wary, this can be a nasty situation.
Hopefully this experience can help anyone else be aware of the possible traps of the bullets especially if you have newbies on board and/or are new to the boat.
By the way, bullets are not only at Funnel bay and can hit downwind of almost every steep sided bay or headland if the wind is strong enough from the right direction. In a SE wind setting off from Hamo, I don't think there is anything like Funnel Bay, so if you head north you may not meet one until Hook Passage, Border Is, Windy Bay or Butterfly Bay.
Cheers,
JimboT

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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by GeoffR » Mar 30th, '21, 08:30

Hill Inlet seems to have everything for a trailer sailer.
It's obviously well protected and has some great features.

Our regular activity was to go over to the shore where the trees end and pump some of the small yabbies that are there.
Then we would use the little yabbies with tiny hooks to catch lots of the large garfish that seem to be there at high tide.
Some of those we would eat, but the fillets make good bait for the Sooty Grunters, large bream and other fish we would catch on the outgoing tide.
We didn't catch any small fish, all the ones we caught were over 400mm long.
Also on the low tide there are endless oysters on the large rocky faces on the North side.
The water is so clear we almost got vertigo standing on the bow looking at the anchor.
Altogether a magic place to spend a week.
GeoffR

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Re: Where to go in the Whitsundays?

Post by MarlaySurvivor » May 4th, '21, 11:01

Hi Simon,
We had a share in a Nantucket 33 on Hammo for 7 years. One of the benefits is that because you will be coming back you can take your time, relax and really enjoy it, instead of feeling obliged to dash to all the top spots in a week. You can explore at leisure, leave the anchor down somewhere for a week, meet the slow cruising people and learn more about the place. You also don’t have to fill every berth.

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