Sailing Along the Sunshine Coast | Australia
How about hoisting the sails to explore the lovely coastline around Mooloolaba and Maroochydore – the heart of the adored Sunny Coast? Well, I did it with Set Sail Cruises on board their 35ft catamaran and loved the experience!
The Sunshine Coast makes us think of the top holiday destination with its agreeable climate, its stunning beaches including nearly perfect water temperatures and its numerous National Parks, which invite to hike and bike. What is missing on the list above are the fantastic conditions Queensland’s coastal stretch offers for whale watching and sailing. Set Sail Cruises, based right next to the Yacht Club at Mooloolaba Marina at the mouth of the Mooloolah river, offer half-day sailing cruises, weekend sunset cruises as well as private charters, allowing people to enjoy the Sunshine Coast at its best.
On this sunny October morning, I met up with skipper Brian Pearson and four guests in front of Set Sail’s comfortable Tasman C35 catamaran, ready to untie the mooring lines, hoist the sails for a three-hour cruise and glide off Point Cartwright. Motoring out of the marina, our skipper announces that this morning there is a strong probability to see wildlife off the coast, in particular humpback whales. How right he was! We had just left the port entrance behind, set the sails and picked up speed heading northwest, as the first splashes appeared in the vicinity of the boat. ‘That’s what we want to see!’ So, quick tack around to get a closer look at the pod of whales playing at the surface of the water. What a great wildlife spectacle we experienced just half an hour into the trip!
We continued heading offshore, following the whales in the distance under full sails, and enjoyed a lovely sailing trip. On the way, guests are welcome to take over the steering wheel, as well as help to trim the sails and learn more about sailing, in general. Or simply sit back and relax in one of the waterproof bean bags. The fact that Set Sail Cruises are run on board a cruising catamaran has numerous advantages: The boat is very stable, safe, super comfortable and spacious, given the wide area in front of the mast in addition to the generous saloon space around the cockpit. It was a real pleasure to be on board!
Some six nautical miles offshore, it was time to tack again and head for Mooloolaba – however, our cruise wasn’t over, yet. We had the opportunity to see two more pods of humpback whales less than 100 metres away from the boat while approaching the coast. Just amazing! Finally, we sailed through the breakwaters and glided smoothly into the port. What a fantastic experience!
For the three-hour sailing trips with Set Sail Cruises departing from Mooloolaba Marina, there are several routing possibilities, depending on the prevalent wind and weather conditions, the sea state and considering the guest’s wishes as well: Heading north along the coastline to the Maroochydore area or south past Point Cartwright Lighthouse to Kawana. ‘Quite often however, we see humpback whales just off the coast and end up sailing with them offshore’, explains Brian. Actually, that is what happened the morning I was on board and as I mentioned at the beginning, I absolutely loved the trip!
Check out Set Sail Cruises www.setsailcruises.com.au and contact Brian to book your sailing experience!