Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia: Fresh clean air blew over the transoms as the Riviera fleet cruised north from the Gold Coast for the annual R Marine Jones Winter Weekend.
Like the fabled Pied Piper, the Riviera 51 Enclosed Flybridge Riv1 led the R Marine Jones fleet and was joined by a flotilla of 15 motor yachts which passed Calypso Bay, Horizon Shores and Brisbane en-route to a safe anchorage in Moreton Bay.
Admirably, and undeterred by her husband Peter’s prior commitments, Melissa Woods and her daughter Lilly set off down the Coomera River in their Riviera M400 Sports Cruiser to make the most of a guided and supported trip into magnificent Moreton Bay, with Peter joining them the next day by personal water craft.
“I knew I could do it and the support provided by R Marine Jones allowed me to feel secure,” said Melissa. “Now having completed the trip, I would like to encourage more women to take up the challenge and build their confidence and skill in a safe and supported environment of an R Marine Jones Experience.”
The decision to head to ‘Club Mud’, an uninhabited mangrove island in the centre of Moreton Bay, was rewarded with a secure anchorage and excellent protection from prevailing winds.
Anchors settled in and the wind abated, providing a stunning afternoon for the extended Riviera family of over 42 adults and 12 kids to congregate on the back of three rafted-up Rivieras.
A smooth transition from anchor to catch-up was provided by the R Marine Jones tender valet, bringing any fleet members to the impromptu social headquarters where dealer principal Randall Jones and his wife Melinda provided wine and beautiful food prepared by the recently reopened Riviera Motor Yacht Club.
“As everyone returned to their boats at sunset, on cue the moon rose from the east, brightly illuminating the 15-strong fleet of Riviera’s gently dancing around their anchors,” says Randall.
“As the sun rose the next day, a keenly contested competition for the best onboard coffee was informally won by the boat with the most tenders tethered to the stern. To relax or adventure was the only decision to be made for the rest of the morning.”
For those who love a little adventure, a small flotilla of tenders headed off to explore the relatively flat Mud Island where tidal flow and a network of mangroves have created creek-like tributaries to the surrounding Moreton Bay.
“At high tide some of these creek-like meanderings provide excellent exploring opportunities to see some of the last remaining and disintegrating whale bones from the not-so-distant past,” says Randall, pictured here receiving the 2015 Riviera Service Excellence Award for Australia and New Zealand from Riviera’s dealer relationship manager Peter Welch.
“Later that morning, the wind changed direction and opened up the anchorage further down Moreton Bay on the south side of Peel Island.
“Historically significant to mariners, Peel Island was the first port of call for vessels arriving in Queensland. Previous quarantine and isolation functions have left this island undeveloped and allowed a return to natural beauty with only a few reminders of its functional past.”
The crystal-clear waters and the sweeping beach of Horseshoe Bay provided the idyllic backdrop for the fleet of Rivieras to drop their picks. Mid afternoon was spent stretching the legs, followed by refreshing sundowners and snacks.
“On arrival to Horseshoe Bay a couple of boats had rafted up to Captain Laurie and his 4700 Sport Yacht, and as an informal host he used his master mixology skills to produce classic “old fashioned” whiskey cocktails and other delectable concoctions,” says Randall.
“The next morning, as the light of the rising sun cast its golden rays across the Riviera line-up, unhurried late breakfasts were complemented by the deep blue skies of the perfect winter’s morning.
“Some members of the fleet chose to explore a nearby wreck while others dropped a line over the side for some casual fishing.”
As the sun passed over the yard arm, the flotilla pointed their bows towards home.
Randall reports that all Rivieras performed very well and the trip has inspired bookings for the next R Marine Jones trip: The Great Sandy Strait Experience.
- To enquire further about The Great Sandy Strait Experience or any other R Marine Jones event, please email email@example.com or call +61 7 5502 9544.