From the beach to the reef – our sailing life in Airlie Beach

When catching up with our Aussie cruising friends, who had been around the Whitsunday Islands for months, whilst we were sailing north from Lake Mac, they would most likely be in Airlie Beach. We could not understand it. Yes, they were working remotely but they could also work remotely from one of the islands with unrestricted access to the internet. 

We resolved the dilemma once we reached the Whitsundays ourselves and realised that the islands were not exactly the promised paradise! 

We came across many ‘rooms of paradise’ in our sailing around the world, but nothing ‘as close to the Almighty’ as the Whitsunday Islands!

Paradise yes, but a paradise with T&Cs when it comes to sailing. During the months to follow we heard various anecdotes describing the sailing conditions in the islands, from the ‘Windsundays’ to ‘5 or 25’ – knots of wind that is! 

‘5 or 25’ and the perfect wind conditions if lucky and patient!

We were to have first hand experience of the sailing conditions in the Whitsundays in the months to follow. The weather has a funny pattern, when days of strong winds alternate with days of very light wind. Rarely in between. When in between, coupled with the finest sea state, the wind makes for effortless sailing. Best in our sailing life.

Once faced with this dichotomy, we resigned to the thought that we would not be sailing around the islands all of the time. When the prevailing southeasterly winds would turn to 25 knots and beyond we would run home. Home?! Yes, home.

Well sheltered from the prevailing winds on the mainland, Airlie Beach became our home for about 3 months. This is where we would take cover when the forecast was not good. Where we would reunite with our cruising friends. Where we would make new friends. This is where we would go for strenuous hikes and bicycle rides. We even adventured in ‘our backyard’, to discover the salties of Proserpine River.

From the tiny to the big, the unflappable crocodiles of Proserpine River

Life is good in the Whitsundays. For wondering souls like ourselves life is also easy. Free barbecues. Free showers. Free pontoons. Free water. And no nasty looks on the locals’ faces. Not that we ever came across nasty looks anywhere else in this beautiful country where everything is “too easy!” and everyone is a “mate”!

The diesel was, alas, not free but in easy access

As all good things eventually come to an end, so did our sailing fairy tale in the Whitsundays…we are now on our way sailing south, getting out from harm’s way. A busy cyclone season is expected and we are giving it way, planning to spend the next few months just outside of the cyclone belt. 

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