Tin Can Bay.
Ben feeds the dolphins.
Inside your luxurious houseboat.
If your idea of heaven is to sail boats and catch fish, then Tin Can Bay is the place to be.
There is not a lot to do around Tin Can Bay except sail boats and catch fish. If that sounds like your idea of heaven, Pam and David Garbett are the people to see. They own Luxury Afloat and have a fleet of 11 houseboats and a new sailing catamaran, which can easily sleep eight. For day sails, 26 people can be comfortably taken.
The houseboats have a fully equipped kitchen, living area, outdoor barbecue, shady deck area, bedrooms, dinghy, crab pots and most important mosquito coils. You just take along food, towels and personal items. If you would like the boat stocked with food and drink for your arrival, Pam will happily take your order and shop for you. Most people like to take their own lucky fishing lines along, but if you don't have one, Pam will provide those as well.
Everyone on board must attend a briefing, and while you do not need a licence, you must know how to navigate the channels, observe beacons, manoeuvre and anchor. You will also learn to use the two-way radio, which you will use to check in twice daily, and the rule of anchoring by 5pm each day must be observed.
Your journey begins in Tin Can Bay, which is close to the southern tip of Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. Two dolphins Scarry and her son Mystique come in to be hand-fed and are considered as pets by David and Pam. Fishermen have been feeding them for as long as anyone can remember, but their diet is strictly watched. Stingrays surface each day at sundown and a Nan King crane appears almost every night to fish for his dinner.
Your journey begins heading out through Great Sandy Strait, taking in spots of interest, which will be depicted on the map provided. It takes seven hours for the houseboat to get from one end to the other of the Strait, so taking it easy and travelling around three hours a day, you would cover it in three or four days. There is a minimum three-day hire, and if you do decide to do that, you will see a good portion of the strait.
Even in winter, temperatures are mild and you can swim year round.
Teebar is a little inlet creek, which is the first anchorage spot of the strait. In the unlikely event that the weather is less than perfect, Teebar is a perfect place, as it is sheltered. It has a little beach and you can explore the mangrove creeks in the dinghy, and it's a good place to put out the crab pots.
Pelican Bay is the second anchorage spot. It is quite shallow and sheltered, and good for line fishing. Flathead and whiting usually run there. The water is quite clean and green and you can swim in most parts of it.
The third anchorage spot is Kauri Creek. It has many thick mangroves, and is not suitable for swimming. The army has a training practice camp on the southern side of Kauri and you can often hear them.
Snout Point is a great spot for lunch. You can anchor just 50m from the shore and take the dinghy to its beautiful, untouched, white beach, complete with palm trees. Figtree Creek is also a good place to stop and soak in the beautiful surroundings.
Garry's Anchorage is the halfway point of the popular Tin Can Bay to Hervey Bay yacht race, which attracts around 300 boats.
Next stop is Stewart Island, which has a few fishing shacks, and two hours further north are the very beautiful white sandstone cliffs on Fraser Island mainland. They are around 30m high and have a few forestry houses perched on top. The water is very deep, and perfect for dropping in a line or a crab pot.
Moon Boom Island sits in the middle of Sandy Strait. It has a rustic galvanised fishing shanty and a tiny jetty jutting out and lots of palm trees.
Luxury Afloat can be a totally kickback break, or you can be as busy as you want fishing, swimming and navigating.