Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Whitsundays

We've spent the last 3 days on board the pro-maxi sailing yacht The Matador which at nearly 25m is the largest sailing boat in The Whitsundays. There were 28 people and 4 crew on board and everyone got on really well.

The weather on the first couple of days was quite windy and rainy which wasn't ideal for sun bathing but it was ideal for sailing. I've never been on a sailing boat before but it was great fun. Myself and Chris were manning the coffee grinders to control the jib/jive most of the first day. It was hard work but we really felt like we were part of the crew helping to sail the boat - it was great! Everyone else was a bit cold that day, sitting with their legs dangling over the side of the boat in true sailing style with the spray and rain splashing up on them.
The second day the weather took a turn for the worse (which always seems to happen when Elaine gets on a boat!) with severe weather warnings being issued. It made it much more dramatic when we had to change the direction of the boat because when the wind caught the sail from the other side the high side of the boat suddenly became the lowside and we found ourselves clinging on with our fingertips as the water lapped up onto the rails, with our heads far too close for comfort to the water. For anyone that knows anything about sailing (which we don't) apparently this happens all of the time, for us it was terrifying!! Once we changed direction though we really started to pick up some speed and were going 18 knots - our skipper Pete said it was the fastest the boat had gone in 7 years!
Thankfully on the third day the sun came out, the wind died off and everyone was happy.

The snorkelling at The Whitsundays was excellent with loads of coral and multi-coloured fish everywhere. The deckhand Greg, brought us out in a dinghy to feed the fish and we even got to see a Mauri Rasp (called Elvis) which was huge and bright blue with huge bug lips that came out of the water to gobble up the bread. We were glad we were in the boat when we saw it!

On days 2 & 3 we were lucky enough so see humpback whales breaching in front of us. It was amazing to see the mother teaching the calf how to breach and even from a distance the splash from their tails was huge.

On the first night we moored at Whitehaven beach which is reputed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. It really lived up to its name with the most beautiful powdery white sand and warm waters surrounded by rainforest - it was picture perfect. We even saw a couple fly in by helicopter to say their wedding vows on the beach.

At night the sails were taken down to provide shelter on deck and Club Matador kicked off! Good times were had by all...


Post a Comment

<< Home