“Are you afraid of a coke machine?” our affable guide asked as he began a discussion about the threat of shark attacks. Barefoot with his dreads dangling in the wind, he continued, “More people die or get injured from vending machines than they do from shark attacks.”
It was at this particular moment, I realized I had become comfortable out on the water. For years I’ve been terrified of water. My Mom used to have to bribe me – with promises of ice cream cones, candy, comic books or hockey cards – to participate in swimming lessons.
Travel, has in many ways, thrust me out of my comfort zone. Recently I’ve gone sea kayaking in Vietnam and Finland, cruised down the Mekong Delta and tested the waters of Ha Long Bay.
Although, I’m not as at ease on the water as someone who has grown up doing all of these activities, I’m no longer afraid of it.
With the breeze gently running through my hair and the sun tickling my skin, I actually felt in my element as the boat gently rocked from side to side. I was enjoying my time out on the turquoise waters of the Whitsunday Islands aboard the regal Derwent Hunter.
As I sipped on tea and wolfed down delicious slices of chocolate cake, I couldn’t wait until we reached Langford Reef and Bali Hai to enjoy beach combing, snorkeling and a chance to simply admire these paradise islands with white sand and turquoise water.
History Of The Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands are an archipelago that dreams are made of. Located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, they are renowned for their crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and tropical marine life. But what many visitors may not know is that the Whitsundays have a rich history, shaped by the indigenous Ngaro people who were the traditional owners of the land for thousands of years.
The Ngaro people had a deep connection to the land and sea, and their culture and traditions were passed down through generations via storytelling, songs, and dances. When European explorers arrived in the area in the late 1700s, they encountered the Ngaro people and traded goods with them.
Visitors to the Whitsunday Islands today can appreciate the beauty and wonder of this stunning region, while also learning about its complex and fascinating past. One of the best ways to do so is to visit the Nara Inlet, where visitors can see rock art and learn about the traditional ways of life of the Ngaro people.
Guided tours of the islands are also a great way to learn about the region’s flora and fauna, as well as the impact of human activity on the environment. Visitors can marvel at the wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and a colorful array of tropical fish.
In conclusion, the Whitsunday Islands are a magical destination that offers both natural beauty and rich cultural history. Whether you’re soaking up the sun on a pristine beach, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, or learning about the traditions of the Ngaro people, the Whitsundays are sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler.
Sailing The Whitsunday Islands
The following is a photo essay and travel video capturing our experience for the day:
Photo Essay: Whitsunday Islands in Australia
A shot of boats in the harbor at Abel Point Marine.
The magnificent Derwent Hunter – our sailing vessel for the day.
Raising the sails was a family affair. I’m not sure who enjoyed doing this more – Dad or the kids.
This couple was all smiles as they helped raise the sails of the Derwent Hunter.
Here Audrey admires the scenery aboard the Derwent Hunter.
Audrey’s smile says it all as we had to pinch ourselves realizing we were actually getting to see the Whitsunday Islands of the Great Barrier Reef with our own two eyes.
On this particular day we were able to spot several other sailboats but there would be stretches where we were out on the water on our own.
We honestly couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions to go sailing.
This is just the first shot of the impressive cloud formations we witnessed sailing for the day.
Of in the distance you’ll notice what appears to be a tiny strip of beach. Later on in the day we had a chance to walk along it.
This is the closest we got to another sailboat during our day long adventure.
I honestly wished this one day sailing trip could have extended into an overnight journey.
A view of the trusty Derwent Hunter as we enjoyed walking along the beach.
A found a nice shady spot to sit down when I snapped this photo from the beach.
It was thrilling to spot wildlife on the secluded Whitsunday islands.
A shot of Audrey admiring the views from a quiet section of the beach.
We had roughly one hour to enjoy our time on the first beach before we headed in for a buffet lunch feast.
Snorkeling was the highlight of the day for many passengers on board the Derwent Hunter.
This is a shot from the second beach we visited where nearly had this who stretch of sand to ourselves.
Footprints in the sand.
With views like this, I only wish we had more time to explore more of the Whitsunday Islands.
Well, we got caught up in the moment: sharing our love on the sand
I honestly can’t think of a beach that I’ve visited off the top of my head that could compare with this one.
One last shot as we reluctantly made our way back to Airlie Beach.
How To Visit The Whitsunday Islands For A Sailing Adventure
Ah, the Whitsunday Islands – a breathtaking paradise for sailors and adventure-seekers alike! Embarking on a sailing adventure in these magical waters is a dream come true, and there are plenty of ways to make it happen. Here’s how to plan an unforgettable trip that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
First things first – choose your vessel! From sleek catamarans to elegant yachts and classic tall ships, there are plenty of options to suit your style, budget, and level of sailing expertise. Opt for a bareboat charter if you’re an experienced sailor, or sit back and relax with a skippered vessel that comes with a crew to take care of everything for you.
Next, it’s time to plan your itinerary. With 74 stunning islands to explore, you’ll want to make sure you hit all the highlights. No trip to the Whitsundays is complete without a visit to the iconic Whitehaven Beach, where you’ll be mesmerized by the crystal-clear turquoise waters and blindingly white sand. Hamilton Island and Daydream Island are also must-see destinations, offering a range of activities and entertainment to suit every taste.
But the real magic of the Whitsundays lies in the many secluded bays, coves, and reefs waiting to be explored. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, and the waters are teeming with colorful marine life. Take some time to swim, sunbathe, or simply soak up the stunning natural beauty of the islands.
Of course, a successful sailing adventure requires careful planning and preparation. Pack light and bring clothes that are suitable for the tropical climate, along with plenty of sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to bring a waterproof bag to keep your belongings dry, and book your activities in advance to ensure you get the most out of your trip.
Finally, it’s essential to respect the environment while you’re enjoying all the wonders the Whitsunday Islands have to offer. These waters are a protected marine park, so make sure you follow designated boating routes, avoid damaging coral reefs, and dispose of any waste responsibly.
All in all, a sailing adventure in the Whitsunday Islands is an experience like no other. With its stunning natural beauty, thrilling activities, and endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure, it’s a trip that will stay with you long after you’ve set sail for home.
We partnered with Queensland tourism for this epic adventure.