Sailing again!

Category: Ships Log

December 2016

After much too long, we finally made it out sailing again! Twice in fact.


Our first trip was quite luxurious, on a chartered catamaran in the Whitsunday Islands. Chris had a work conference in the Whitsundays and managed to convince several of his fellow meeting attendees to add an extra 4 days to their trip and rent a catamaran with us (Chris and I skippered).


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The catamaran we chartered, a Perry 43 called Stardust.


The Whitsunday Islands are some of Queensland’s most famous cruising grounds. They are located about 1400km (900 miles) north of Brisbane and are a string of about 70+ islands in the southern Great Barrier Reef. They are great for cruising because the waters are well protected and there are lots of beautiful anchorages. The only downside is the islands are far enough north that you have to worry about Irukandji jellyfish (Carukia barnesi) during the summer months. Irukandji are a type of box jellyfish; their claim to fame is they are the smallest (about the size of a fingernail) and among the most venomous jellyfish in the world. This means if we want to get in the water at all, we have to wear full-body suits called “stinger suits.” Not a terrible hardship, but it does mean you can’t jump off the boat into the beautiful aquamarine water anytime you feel like it.


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Anchored off of Whitehaven beach. The beach is 7km long!


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Hanging out on the bow of the catamaran with Whitehaven beach behind us. Note my lovely stinger suit so I can jump in the water!


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All of us in our stinger suits getting ready to go for a snorkel.


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Lots of green sea turtles around.


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The corals were not in as good of shape as other areas of the GBR we've seen, but there were lots of fish.


sailing 7We got to see a school of very large, green humphead parrotfish.


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And of course, plenty of clownfish around.


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Exploring some of the islands.


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A lovely view of Tongue Bay from the Hill Inlet lookout.


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Hanging out on the beautiful beach at Tongue Inlet at low tide


sailing 11Taking my turn at skippering.


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Christian in his element. :)


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Me in my element. :) It's a pretty awesome life hanging out on a catamaran in beautiful cruising grounds!


Too quickly, our four day sailing holiday came to an end. This was our first time cruising on a catamaran and we were completely spoiled with how stable and comfortable it is. Someday we may have to trade in our monohull for one of these…


We spent Christmas Eve aboard Green Panther in the marina and bought ourselves a pair of sea kayaks – something we always wanted when we were out cruising. We tested them Christmas morning on the Brisbane River and then a couple days later, took Green Panther out for five days of cruising in Moreton Bay.  


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Testing out our new sea kayaks Christmas morning in the Brisbane River.


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Motoring Green Panther down the Brisbane River to Moreton Bay with our sea kayaks safely stowed aboard.


We spent our time exploring different anchorages around Moreton Island. Moreton Island is a 37 km-long sand island in Moreton Bay, which is where the Brisbane River empties.  The island has beautiful beaches, large sand dunes, and an artificial reef constructed of sunken ships. It was really fun being cruisers again and exploring new areas!   


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Kayaking to Moreton Island.


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The beaches are beautiful.


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One day we anchored off of Tangalooma, a resort on the island where they created an artificial reef just offshore with sunken ships.


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We tied up our kayaks and jumped in for a snorkel. Lots of fish around, as you can see in the foreground of this pic.


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The visibility wasn't great, but it was impressive how many corals were growing on the wrecks.


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Green Panther anchored by Tangalooma.


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Later we anchored by the Sandhills. Great views of the anchorage from the top of the hills.


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View of the sandhills.


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We found a sand goanna sunning himself on the park sign.


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Requisite selfie on the beach.


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On our kayak back to the boat we discovered a large population of starfish on the sandy bottom. 



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