Sailing the Queensland coast's classic sail routes offers a unique travel experience, easily accessible from all around Australia. With two friends, Cameron Cope escaped a Melbourne winter to discover an adventure paradise sailing Queensland’s coastline.
Julie and I woke after our three-hour break from night navigation as fast as the seawater rushing by the hull that had lulled us to sleep. A strange sound had stirred us. Leaning against the hull that curved around our bed we realised that we couldn’t just hear this sound, we could feel it. In fact the whole hull was vibrating to it. Hurriedly we extricated ourselves from a tangle of arms, legs and blankets before climbing on deck. I asked Joe and Jeanette “Did you guys hear that?” Their blank faces stared back in reply when seconds later a loud burst of air captured our attention. Not more than 30 metres behind the yacht a large adult humpback whale surfaced. We all froze, awestruck by the creature that dwarfed our 11-metre yacht.
We were en route to the Whitsunday Islands and it was as if the enormous whale had come to sing us welcome onto the home stretch of our journey. Four weeks earlier we had sailed out of the Gold Coast bound northward. It was the realisation of a dream to escape the grim Melbourne winter and explore one of Australia’s classic sail routes. We weren’t sailors - in fact you don’t need to be to find a berth on such an adventure. There are always captains and boat owners looking for crew of all levels of experience to help move their vessels north for the dry season and then southward again to escape summer cyclones.