Whitsundays Cruise with Matador Sailing
I’ve done quite a Whitsundays Cruise and trips and been lucky enough to have seen some pretty epic places: Nothing comes close to this one! The Whitsundays. If you haven’t heard much about it, jump on Google Images and you’ll be swooning over the blue waters, coral reef, white sands and yep, sailing boats, before quickly checking the diary to book the earliest flight you can make, and trust me you should!
The Whitsundays cruise was the most stunning and memorable experience! Sailing on Matador, however, was simply incredible! From the moment we stepped on board and was greeted by the crew, shown to our beds (which, by the way, way more comfortable than you’d think for an ex-racing yacht!), and settled on the deck for departure, I was a bundle of excitement!
Matador, though not a new boat to the area, has only just been re-launched and I’ve got to experience one of it’s first trips back out on the water and the energy from the crew was amazing. Finn the Skipper was knowledgeable and engaging and once the lines were thrown and we were underway he started the tour by explaining about the Islands, the Reef and the boat itself (basically making what should have been a dull safety brief interesting and funny – Great start!
It gets better, within 10 minutes of leaving the marina we were surrounded by a pod of dolphins who played alongside the boat… seriously! Cue the epic smiles that stayed stuck to my face for the next two days.
That first day there wasn’t much wind so although the sails didn’t go straight up, slightly to the crew’s disappointment, we spent the time relaxing in the sunshine, or once I got my fair share of burn (I forget I’m a Brit sometimes!) switching to the shady side under a massive shade cover that the crew put up for us. We chatted, mingled, enjoyed the views of the islands, and made our way to the famous Whitehaven Beach.
Sailing and Cruising to Whitehaven Beach
Now I can’t lie, I hadn’t heard much about this beach before I arrived there (ignorant traveller that I am) but soon I was hearing talk of “Best Beach in Australia”, “clearest waters”, “whitest sand”, “stingrays”, “lemon sharks”…. I was practically running along the bush walk. The deckhand, Craig, gives fun facts along the way and guides us as a group to get to that famous lookout. Then I saw it!!! Whitehaven Beach is without a doubt the most breath-taking beach I have ever seen. The photos do not do it justice!
Imagine that post-card shot of the swirling sands and turquoise water, and then seeing it in real life! If I hadn’t known any better I would have thought I was in the Maldives, or Caribbean, or somewhere else as exotic and idyllic – Australia has its own contender and Whitehaven Beach is right up there with the most beautiful of paradises!
We got to spend a good few hours on the beach soaking up the views, going for a swim, exfoliating in the sand (Craig told us to, something to do with the sand being silica, and whilst I looked like an idiot my skin did feel pretty silky after!), before returning onto Matador for a cruise to our night time spot. Before leaving the bay, an absolutely massive Loggerhead Turtle pops his head up to say hello… Words cannot even describe this moment so sorry I’m not going to even try! All the while, Cal the cook (host I should say, he looks after you from start to finish!) has been cooking up a storm for dinner – endless amounts of good wholesome Spag Bol YUM!
Watching the sun go down over the islands on this Whitsundays Cruise was spectacular, and then the stars that followed were equally incredible! I couldn’t drag myself away and sleeping under the stars on the deck (for half the night at least) with the sound of the water around me was so surreal I won’t be forgetting it in a hurry.
Last day of this Whitsundays Cruise
The next morning starts bright and early (don’t worry, Cal is there handing out the coffee) and before we knew it we’re jumping in the water snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef! Luncheon Bay, our first snorkel stop, was home to more fish than I’ve ever seen in one place and was magical! We met ‘George’, the Humpheaded Napoloean Mauri Rass, AKA a seriously big blue beautiful fish that likes to get up close and personal, whilst we watched the sun come up over the mountain to light up the Coral Reef into ever colour imaginable. Once on Matador again, no time to spare, we’re up and off to the next spot, Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island. Thinking I knew what to expect this time I was in shock to jump in and almost instantly spot that little iconic Nemo. There was more incredible coral, even more friendly and fascinating fish, too many to describe and I was blown away by one of the most famous snorkel and dive spots on the Great Barrier Reef – it doesn’t take long to work out why it is known as one of the best!
I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time I was in the water, which apparently is why my mask kept filling with water was because I laughed too much – #noregrets
After drying off, eating lunch (thanks again Cal!!!), we set the sails! The crew got us all involved which worked muscles I didn’t know I had, although I’m still smiling, and we sat back to watch this epic boat and the happy crew do what they love best – it was an incredible journey back to the mainland!
Getting closer towards Airlie Beach gave me a little moment to reflect – The Whitsundays does not need much to make it an incredible experience (it is too beautiful a location to be anything but spectacular) but the relaxing and yet thrilling journey on board Matador itself, with such a friendly and hospitable crew, made what would have been a pretty awesome trip regardless absolutely epic! There is no doubt I’ll be checking my diary and booking this Whitsundays Cruise again soon!
Memories to last a lifetime!!!