Sydney Sundancer normally conducts 6 day, scheduled cruises from Hamilton Island departing each Saturday afternoon, where you do not see civilization for a whole week until return on Friday morning.
The following is an extract from Sydney Sundancer adventure diary showing a typical weeks itinerary:
- Guests arrive at Hamilton Island and take the island taxi to the Marina (5 minutes).
- Boarding time is 3pm so there should be plenty of time for lunch and exploring Hamilton Island prior to embarkation, depending on what time guests arrive on the island.
- Be welcomed on board with a complimentary ice cold tropical Pimms cocktail or beer.
- Depart the marina to begin an “Adventure in Paradise”. Sail to Cid Harbour to anchor for the evening. A late afternoon stroll through a rain forest is an option if guests desire.
- Sundowners, snacks and the evening meal will be served in this ultra calm bay.
- After a delicious breakfast, we hoist the sails to enjoy a leisurely cruise to Langford Reef for snorkelling and reef walking.
- At this location as the tide abates, a massive drying reef joining two islands and a sand spit is revealed. Those wanting to take advantage of Lynne’s expertise in nature will be guided around the reef before we all enjoy a superb lunch on the aft deck next to this coral cay. Turtles are often see at this location both in the water and those that have been stranded on the reef at low tide.
- After lunch we enjoy a short afternoon sail to Stonehaven anchorage on the northern shore of Hook Island in time to catch a glorious sunset, with cocktail in hand preceding a delicious dinner, completes the first full day. Often at this location we are visited by a very friendly green turtle and our guests often swim with him!!
- An early morning snorkel over beautiful corals and fish gives an appetite for breakfast. A gentle 20 knot south east wind blows today so we head out into the Whitsunday passage for an exhilarating sail. Lunch is served while undersail and we arrive at Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island to snorkel over the wonderful coral reef.
- For the first time we see the underwater world through the large glass bottom of the dive tender “Sundance Kid”. John steers us skilfully over the crystal clear water and colourful corals, whilst Lynne explains the names of the numerous fish and corals, before we excitedly leap overboard to take an even closer look!!
- Those wanting a bush walk, take the tender ashore to follow the pipe track to a “lookout” on the island for a “birds eye” view of the wonderful waterways and nearby Islands. We often submerge our hydrophone to listen the amazing songs of Humpback Whales. Lynne tells us that the whales can communicate to each other for over 100 kms and that they change their song from year to year.
- Sunsets are superb from the western side of Hayman Island so we enjoy our drinks whilst watching a glorious sunset before dinner.
- The corals are so beautiful at Blue Pearl Bay that most guests want to enjoy another snorkel before we set sail for Butterfly Bay. On arrival, we dinghy ashore for a stroll amongst the dense tropical foliage and thick canopy of native trees behind a white coral beach to see thousands of butterflies which fascinate our guests…and yet another snorkel for those inclined over exceptionally colourful corals. Lunch is served on the aft deck in this stunningly beautiful bay.
- After setting a course due east, we visit Manta Ray Bay where the corals are spectacular and hundreds of fish are so friendly that they gather around under our glass bottomed boat on arrival to welcome us. We watch with excitement when “Albert”, the resident Maori Wrasse (over 1 metre long) stares up at us through the glass bottom, together with hundreds of Sergeant Majors, Fusiliers, Moon Wrasse and many other extremely colourful fish.
- Without exception every guest said this is one of the top highlights of their visit! Guests have the unforgettable opportunity to hand feed these amazingly colourful fish in crystal clear water.
- As the weather is totally calm and perfect, we all decide we will sail to Bait Reef, which lies on the Outer Reef, and is about three hours from Manta Ray Bay. Our guests relax under sail comfortably either lying on the air bed or on the inflatable armchairs, occasionally looking up to see if there are whales leaping out of the water or dolphins swimming at the bow.
- En route, we see humpback whales (mother & calf) & the mother is teaching her calf how to leap out of the water. It is an awesome experience to be so close and we feel privileged to watch nature at its’ best! Some guests love to learn navigation and are ably assisted in lessons from the Captain! On arrival at Bait Reef (in the middle of an open ocean) we proceed through an opening between the coral boulders into a perfectly protected lagoon. The water turns from deep blue to bright turquoise as we move to a mooring in shallower waters.
- Our guests are mesmerised by the sheer beauty and remoteness of this amazing place! We all decide to take the tender for an afternoon snorkel to witness the amazing diversity of fish and corals.
- The sunset that evening has to be seen to be believed, as the sun drops into the sea as we enjoy our cocktails on the aft deck.
- In the morning after watching the sun rise out of the ocean, we enjoy an early snorkel with Manta Rays prior to breakfast. Our guests are over awed by the size and gentle beauty of these magnificent creatures.
-After breakfast we enjoy a one way drift snorkel over the entire length of the shallow reef and pretty coral gardens inside the Stepping Stones into Gary’s lagoon then explore the whole length of the drop off which is known as Manta Ray Drop Off. Lynne calls it the “magic carpet ride” as she guides guests over what is arguably the most amazing corals and fish life anywhere, From shallow depths to deep lagoons and drop offs on the edge of the reef, this experience gives our guests a full appreciation of what the Great Barrier Reef is all about. Turtles are often seen and great variety of fish life.
- Lynne is your guide and is always in the water with guests guiding them to the very best corals. John is always nearby in the tender to accommodate snorkelers who don’t want to be in the water for so long, (and to give confidence to guests who are new to snorkelling!) but rarely that is the case, as there are so many amazing things to see and time flies by!! He is always happy to give our snorkellers “a tow” behind the tender – a very popular activity ! We very often hear humpback whales singing whilst snorkelling, ever more enhancing the incredible experience!!
- After a superb lunch on the aft deck we reluctantly leave this incredible place and sail back to the islands. There is a 15 knot wind blowing, so we all enjoy the sail back to the islands and head for Tongue Bay on the eastern side of Whitsunday Island. When we troll for fish there can be great excitement when a large Spanish mackerel is caught. Wonderfully delicious freshly caught fish – Nothing quite like it!!
- After breakfast, we go ashore and take a walk to the lookout at Hill Inlet. This affords an “OMG” moment for our guests as we come out of the bush to THE most magnificent views over the inlet and the world – famous Whitehaven Beach.
- A walk down to Betty’s beach follows and delights our guests, not only because of the 99% silica sand that squeaks under their feet, but the experience of such a clean and unspoilt beach. No wonder Trip Advisor rates Whitehaven Beach to be amongst the best 10 beaches in the world!!
- A delicious lunch is serve on deck adjacent to the beach and afterwards our guests can go ashore to walk along the 5 km beach, relax on the beach, swim in the crystal clear water or take a hike along the return track to Chance Bay.
- En route there, we see Humpback whales (mother and calf) The mother is teaching her calf how to leap out of the water and it is an awesome experience to be so close, and we feel very privileged to watch nature at its best!! We toss the hydro phone into the water and listen through the speakers to the whale songs, and marvel at this miracle of nature. Lynne tells us that the whales can communicate to each other from over 100 kilometres, and that they often change their song from year to year!!!!
- An afternoon sail with drinks in hand as the sun sets in the West is enjoyed as we head to a bay close to Hamilton Island. The last dinner is enjoyed with guests reliving their amazing 6 days aboard and discussing their wonderful encounters with nature. During the days aboard Lynne will have taken both above and below water pictures of guests’ experiences, and after displaying these images, will down load them onto a USB stick for guests to take home (free of charge of course!)
- After a swim before breakfast we reluctantly set sail for Hamilton island arriving there around 10am concluding what has been for everyone aboard the most fascinating, exciting and relaxing holiday of their lifetime!
NB. Please note that every days’ activity is governed by the prevailing weather, the activities and locations above are examples only. The order of experience can vary from week to week but over the 6 days / 6 nights we have generally found that we can visit the locations described.
Your hosts, Lynne and John Boyce are extremely experienced in the Whitsundays waterways, and they will create a custom tour for you to suit your interests and to work in with the safest anchorages fitting in with tides, waves and prevailing wind conditions. Your safety and comfort is of paramount importance! Please be aware, that whilst most 6 day charters include the areas mentioned above, the charter is weather dependant and the direction of the wind play a large part in the decision of each days activities and destination. Rest assured however, that most of these highlights will be visited, but it is impossible to know until the time, which order, or indeed if we can visit certain areas (particularly the Outer Reef) due to the strength and direction of the wind at that time. Guests particular requests will always be taken into consideration, but the Captains decision is final, based on guests safety and comfort, which is always paramount.
Snorkelling Notes for Inexperienced Swimmers
There is a magical world under the water to show you in the Whitsundays. You will be taken to the places where coral abounds. Inexperienced snorkellers are offered tuition and a life jacket if required. If you do not wish to swim, you will have the opportunity to stay in the glass bottom tender with the captain so that you can see the magnificent sights under the water clearly.