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Sailing the wicked Whitsundays

Thursday, October 14, 2010
Australia has been blessed with so many natural wonders but the Great Barrier Reef is arguably the jewel in the crown. Stretching 2300km between Cape York and Mackay, 74 precious gems have fallen from the crown in the form of tropical islands.

Once Kelly Landry had the ultimate experience of sailing through the Whitsundays Group she became an unofficial ambassador and is recommending the journey to anyone who will listen.

A true novice before heading to Queensland's far north, that soon ended when she took a learn-to-sail course with Whitsunday Marine Academy. Matt Bradley has all the necessary experience to take beginners under his wing, and who wouldn't be a keen student with the prospect of three days and two nights exploring the reef.

Student numbers are limited to a maximum of seven and courses are from introductory through to yachtmaster.

Basics are picked up in no time and it's very much a hands-on experience. There are plenty of new terms to learn, including the names of the sails, what to attach where, how to hoist and winch and (possibly most important) how to communicate with your skipper.

It is challenging and there can be no mistakes. You will be prepared to handle all weather conditions and even though weather is pretty much kind to sailors in the area, the next place you are on deck might not be as calm.

Related video: Whitsundays without a timetable


The Whitsunday Islands, off Proserpine on Queensland's north coast.


Whitsunday Marine Academy three-day, two-night trips cost $715, plus $60 national park fees. Accommodation, meals, linen, instruction, training equipment and material are included. They depart every Monday and Thursday from Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach.

Virgin Blue has flights to the Whitsunday Coast and Hamilton Island:
One-way to Proserpine:

  • Brisbane $65
  • Sydney $169
  • Melbourne $179

One-way to Hamilton Island:

  • Brisbane $55
  • Sydney $99
  • Melbourne $139
  • Adelaide $199
  • Perth $259

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at October 14, 2010, and are subject to change.

Prices correct at October 14, 2010.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789

The Whitsunday Marine Academy Team
PO Box 572
Cannonvale 4802
Ph: 1800 675 790 or (07) 4946 5782

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