Whitsunday Escape

Bundy Bear

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A few friends had organized a bareboat charter in the Whitsundays for 2020.

What is a Bareboat Charter? You rent a boat only and allowed to sail or motor it with you and a few of your friends.

What does it cost, you pay a fee around $6,000 to hire the boat for a week, so around $850 each for 8 people plus meal provisioning, of course, you do need to pay an insurance bond of around $3,000.

May 2020 was decided as this was date between the heat of summer and the cooler winter months where pricing tends to be higher. Crew were decided, time off work was taken, well for me anyway, and flights were booked and we were all set to go on the 8 May 2020.

Then COVID hit, end of January parts of China were was shut down, from 23 March 2020 the prime minster shut the Australian borders to travellers and only allowed Australians to return.

It looked like this would drag on as during April all states of Australia were shut down and everyone was asked to stay home. Airlines started cancelling flights, therefore we had to delay our boat trip. Thanks, Jetstar, for the refund, Virgin not so easy I still have an unused credit.

Do we delay just for a few months or put it off for a whole year? Eventually the decision was made to delay the trip for a year which in retrospect was a good idea.

Whitsunday Escape were able to hold over our booking for 12 months which was relief.

2021 came around and it looked like May 2021 would work.

March 2021 not so fast Queensland enters another lockdown just before Easter.

Eventually it looked like all systems go and I booked a return trip on Virgin Australia using the Amex travel credit, actually the travel credit was originally a flight to Perth at Easter 2021.

Due to a blocked ear and feeling unwell I didn’t want to forgo the trip and looked for a train/bus option. I phoned Virgin 25 hours before the trip was to start and asked Virgin to remove the flight to Proserpine from the booking and keep the return trip for the following Saturday. Another travel credit to add to the list.

I had done some searching of trip options and it looked there was an option to take a train from Brisbane to Proserpine departing at 3:45pm from Roma Street and arriving in Proserpine at 6:30am the Saturday morning, to arrive in time for the crew briefing at 8:00am.

Not so fast I had a cancelled flight and no train trip booked as the service was showing SOLD OUT, I phoned Queensland Rail travel and they suggested I could hold a booking for the Saturday afternoon service, thanks but I passed. what to do.

To be continued, and include links.
 

Bundy Bear

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Eventually the big day arrived, some of crew had an early morning flight from Melbourne and one from Canberra and Brisbane, I was catching a train, read the separate report on the Spirit of Queensland.

The boat was there and the food provisions arrived and were put away and everyone started to get used to the boat. The boat had 4 bedrooms so we all shared a cabin, each with their own bathroom with toilet. The brochure description said that each bathroom included shower, which in reality was a basin tape with extension and to have a shower/rinse you basically got yourself and the rest of the small bathroom wet.

Between 8 of us food came to around $300 each, you could have purchased your own food but we used a company suggested by Whitsunday Escape.

The first night was to be in the marina and dinner out at a local restaurant.

I arrived on Saturday morning around 7:30am after my over night train trip.

Early Saturday morning our boat instructor arrived and gave us a run down of the boat. Jordan from Whitsunday Escape was a pretty relaxed character and he thought we would handle the boat with ease as some of us could sail.

2021_Tara_WhitsundayEscape.JPG

Our boat was a Lagoon 440 a sailing catamaran

We left the marina and sails were set for our first practice sail. The anchor was tested. Around 1pm our instructor said good bye and jumped on his own tender to head back to the marina. He was back about 30 minutes later to retrieve his phone and wallet.:rolleyes:


Good time to start taking photos.

2021_Tara_7297.JPG

We made our way across to Whitsunday Island and our first mooring for the night, 2 crew took out their paddle boards for a look at the shore line.

2021_Tara_7299.JPG

A dinner roster had been made with teams of 2 so it meant that there was some structure in regards to what jobs to be done with cooking and cleaning each meal time. Our first nights meal on the boat and this was when we realized that the cooking would be rather difficult for 8 people on the small stove and oven.

Content from our wonderful first night meal we sat down to watch a movie, Get Real, over the next 6 nights we had brought along a few similarly themed movies to choose from. We went to bed looking to explore more of Whitsundays as the weather was looking particularly nice, a good south Easterly and not too much rain.

About 2:30am most of the boat woke up when there was a series of 4 big bangs, had we hit something or more ominously had someone fallen and injured themselves.

To be continued.
 

lovetravellingoz

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Ooof a cliffhanger! I wait with baited breath!

On two of my Whitsunday's trips I have rendered assistance in the middle of the night to charter yachts that had dragged onto coral reefs. One in the middle of a gale. At that same second time there was a third yacht also dragging and trying to re-anchor who I then suggested (well more instructed) that they abandon trying to anchor in the steep loose coral bottom at Chalkie Beach and instead go over to anchor off Whitehaven Beach where anchoring in the flat sand is much easier and more secure and there is not a coral free to drag onto..

Another time in Gulnare Inlet a wind change woke me (I have sailed all my life and so when on trips this will normally wake me up, as will any significant change to the yachts motion). I went on deck to check my mooring, and rigging, as I always do in such a situation (sudden wind changes from a previous direction can sometimes cause a anchor to break free of the bottom due the sudden change of pull on the anchor causing the anchor to flip and pull out).

On doing so I noticed a 44 ft catamaran just drifting along having dragged its anchor. Into my dinghy went I, and over to the catamaran to initially be abused by the occupants for waking them up. ;)
 
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Major

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Bareboats underestimate the huge tides in the Whitsundays and consequently do not let out enough anchor rope.

Anchor drifting is common.
 

tgh

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In the Whitsundays , the afternoon Charter boat radio sked was a highlight…. along with the other entertainment mentioned above.
Glorious afternoon north easters lull many into a sense of security while the howling south east change timed for midnight is waiting to pounce
 

lovetravellingoz

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In the Whitsundays , the afternoon Charter boat radio sked was a highlight…. along with the other entertainment mentioned above.
Glorious afternoon north easters lull many into a sense of security while the howling south east change timed for midnight is waiting to pounce

I listened to one schedule where the charterer was asking if there were more mooring bouys that they they could access as they always dragged their anchor. They were in Stonehaven which is a very good holding bottom.

The company then went through with the procedure with them, including:
Q How deep is the water? A 10m
Q. How much chain are you letting out? A.10m
Q, No I mean how much chain are you putting out in total? A 10m.
Stunned silence...followed by you need to put out at least 4 times the length chain for the depth of water at high tide. etc
 
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lovetravellingoz

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About 2:30am most of the boat woke up when there was a series of 4 big bangs, had we hit something or more ominously had someone fallen and injured themselves.

To be continued.

The suspense builds.

I think I may know, as I too have been woken by bang, bang, bang in the middle of the night in the Whitsundays....

But I won't share my story yet as I don't want to spoil your punchline. ;)
 

lovetravellingoz

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I'm going to need more popcorn if I have to wait much longer to find out what happened 😜😂


Was it

  • Pirates? And then Jonny Depp style. or more Captain Philips nasties?
  • Late night skinny dippers tripping over the Guardwire?
  • A drug bust?
  • Flipper? They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning
 

k_sheep

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Seems my ultra conservative 1:5 ratio (depth to rope) wasn't quite so outlandish as my first mate suggested :D

Hmm most common cause for 'bang bang' middle of the night I would think is ... anchor rope wrapped around the mooring rig? I like the flipper or naked swimmers theories though ....
 

Bundy Bear

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I think I have left the suspense for long enough.

About 2:30am most of the boat woke up when there was a series of 4 big bangs, had we hit something or more ominously had someone fallen and injured themselves.

What happened was one of the crew Graham, he had turned 80 and was one who originally got the trip planned, decided to get up in the middle of the night for a pee over the back of the boat but coming back into the cabin of the boat slipped over and fell on their back.

The pain wasn't immediately there so they and the rest of us went back to sleep until about 4:30am and they realized that the pain was getting worse and that we would have to go back to port.

Around 6:30 we pulled up anchored and headed back to the marina about 15 miles or so away.

The Whitsunday escape group guided us into port and then we tied up at another part of the marina where the paramedics could come and get them.

That was no easy job as you had to get someone who couldn't walk put them onto a stretcher and then carry them off the boat.

It would have made a great paramedic rescue episode.

They ended up with a crushed vertebrae, so they spent the rest of the time we were in the boat in hospital, with treatment and rest recovery takes around 12 weeks.

One of the things that Graham had written along with all the notes of the trip was a page of what medicine he had been taking, usually when you reach 80 then you are going to be taking something or have something wrong.

The paramedics were most impressed with the list.

I will complete the rest of the trip over the next few days but at least you know no one died. I spoke to Graham over the weekend just passed and he said that recovery was going as expected, he was able to move about slowly and was still doing physio.
 

lovetravellingoz

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Well sadly that was a lot more unfortunate and dramatic than the bang, bang, bang that I was anticipating of a mooring buoy banging against the hull when there is no wind during the tide slack water period of high or low tide.
 
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