Tea, Tim Tams & Tides

sailing in the whitsundays + what to know[trip style = cruising + sun + active] {more pictures below}

For as long as I can remember, I've been a little obsessed with Australia's Whitsunday Islands. Tales of tropical bush, endless sandbars and sun-soaked waters filled with a gazillion fish was embroidered into the fabric of my wandering self. Like a child, I even added some of my own imaginary touches to the stories, like bands of wild white horses running along Whitehaven Beach. It was settled. If I ever made the transcontinental trek to Australia, sailing the Whitsundays must be on my itinerary. So, it came to be earlier this month.

Almost Cancelled I'm not going to sugar coat this: I was PETRIFIED to go sailing. Not because I'm scared of the water or boats---I LOVE the ocean---but after my wild trip returning from Wilson Island the day prior, in a moment of seasickness-induced insanity, I almost cancelled my upcoming Whitsunday sailing trip. The ocean was so rough on the way back from Wilson, my skin turned a shade of 90's-inspired pale green, and I started making luxuriant decisions to charter a helicopter to the mainland and cancel any further boat activities for the rest of my Aussi trip. Once I felt better, I realized I may have overreacted just a little.

Sail Away One day later, armed with a bevvie of meds---including a slow-release sea sickness patch that made me a little high and unable to read anything up close---we boarded a 46-foot, $1.6 million dollar sailing catamaran at Airlie Beach. It was almost sunset and were were on a tight schedule chasing the end-of-day light, so when we met our skipper, there were a few quick hellos, the swift removal of shoes {certain shoes can make you slip on a sailboat's surface} and we were off, literally sailing into the sunset.

The Boat The boat had a gleaming white exterior, sails that soared and an interior that mingled rich woods and plush cream seating. Nestled into the opposite end of each pontoon, there were four rooms with included baths, and just below deck an indoor eating area and galley with outdoor overflow seating. Aptly, there was a barbecue fitted to the stern of the boat which was used the first night to grill chicken.

Chill Thankfully, everyone on our sailing vessel was on island time, perfectly chilled-out like a good rose. We ate together, drank together, hiked together and snorkeled together, and if you think that's a little too close for comfort, oddly it wasn't. Our two-night itinerary provided the right mix of sightseeing and sailing, and the size of the boat lent itself to a tried and tested dose of togetherness and solo moments.

Tea, Tim Tams & Tides After hiking up to a Whitehaven vantage point, we sailed near the famed beach to stand-up paddleboard and stroll along the never-ending shore. Whitehaven holds up to, if not exceeds the way it appears in pictures. Its sand could easily be mistaken for the sugar---think Splenda consistency---you put in your morning coffee. And though I didn't see any of my imaginary white horses running down the beach, I may have seen a unicorn... :)

The remainder of the voyage at sea was met with an island-esque sandbar that appeared and disappeared with tidal flow, dolphin pods swimming by night, snorkeling in hidden coves---one of which I swear I saw in the movie Knight and Day---and an impromptu {and apropos} tea and Tim Tam ceremony {Tim Tams are a world-famous, chocolate-covered Australian cookie often eaten with a cup of tea}. I'm not sure what we were celebrating during this ceremony of sorts, though with all our adventures above and below water, this simple moment was probably the finest.

What to know

  • Most Whitsunday sailing trips provide food, but you must bring your own alcohol.
  • Even if you don't get seasick, bring medication like Gravol. If you get really motion sick, talk to a Pharmacist ('Chemist' in Aussie speak) about the Transderm-V patch or something similar.
  • Depending on the season, you'll have to wear a stinger suit or wetsuit in the water to guard against jelly fish stings.
  • Regardless of the season, you may feel tiny stings from other creatures while swimming in the ocean.
  • Choose a sailing trip that matches your trip style. Whitsunday Sailing Adventures or Sailing Whitsundays are good places to start.
  • If you prefer to explore in style, charter a mid-size motor yacht.

Pictures on ice whitsundays boat {The boat.}

whitsunday sailing catamaran

inside on ice ship whitsundays {The indoor seating area and galley.}

indoor cabin sailing catamaran {Our cabin, with a small standing/changing area in front of the bed.}

the heads on a sailing catamaran {The attached bathroom/heads. The faucet turned into a shower.}

Whithaven beach view from above {Whitehaven Beach, view from above.}

whitehaven beach {Whitehaven Beach.}

one foot island {The "disappearing" sand island, aka, One Foot Island.}

one foot island in whitsundays {View from the boat of One Foot Island.}

sunset whitsundays {Sunset.}

tea and tim tams {Drinking tea and eating Tim Tams.}

whitsunday islands {Last day, the view.}

Australia Month Planning a Trip Up Australia’s East Coast JetSet Jingles :: Australia Spotlight :: Syndey Ultimate Urban Adventures & the Sydney BridgeClimb Heavenly Huts :: Wilson Island Tea, Tim Tams & Tides :: Whitsunday Islands {today} thirty-two and a small q :: Hamilton Island {friday}