Lady Musgrave Island, Queensland, Australia: With the true blue-water 51 Enclosed Flybridge RIV1 leading the way, 11 luxury motor yachts from 36-60ft participated in the seven-day Great Sandy Straits Experience organised by Riviera and Belize dealer, R Marine Jones.
“Some owners departed the Gold Coast with us, some joined in along the way and some travelled the whole distance with us,” says Randall Jones, dealer principal of R Marine Jones.
“Some owners know their way and cruise at their own leisure whilst some appreciate the expert guidance and cruising experience on offer as part of a larger group,” he says.
Randall planned the Great Sandy Straits Experience with wife Melinda, kids Jack and Kate, Sharm and the team at R Marine Jones on the Gold Coast.
“We always encourage couples, families, grandparents, grandchildren, new and even experienced boaties to come and enjoy the fun,” he says.
“I’m sure everyone agrees that these trips are always better in numbers. Even if owners choose to enjoy just part of the Experience, they always come home with new friends they can catch up with year-round.
“That’s the idea, like-minded people with common interests sharing very special memories.”
This very special camaraderie is certainly appreciated by those who attend the Experience events.
“Going on an Experience Trip with R Marine Jones, you feel like you’re hanging around with family and friends,” says Simon George from the 6000 Sport Yacht, Sierra Golf.
“Randall’s clients all share the same sort of passion for cruising and both Randall and Melinda are so genuine you don’t feel like you are imposing. Whatever trip they do I am going to join them – there is so much to be learnt and so much fun to be had.”
Randall says the theme for 2015 was The Year of the Dolphin, and a number of these majestic marine mammals were sighted throughout the cruise.
“We got the chance to see (but leaving safe distance) whales in five metres of water at the tip of Moreton Island – massive whales in shallow clear water … you won’t see that on a tourist boat!”
Riviera and Belize dealers regularly host Experience trips cruising in company to idyllic destinations and Randall says they are always fun for those involved, with trip-planning, weather forecasting, marine berthing assistance, anchorage activities and mechanical assistance (if required) readily at hand to give owners peace of mind.
Randall says the lead vessel for the Great Sandy Straits Experience, RIV1, is for sale and didn’t miss a beat throughout the 460nm journey that began at Coomera on the Gold Coast and ventured to Mud Island in Moreton Bay for a two-night stay whilst the fleet waited on the weather.
“Club Mud always offers good protection from the southerly winds,” he says. “It was then a short trip to Mooloolaba for a night with dinner on the marina and then through the Wide Bay Bar and past Inskip Point where a television helicopter hovered above the fleet before landing on a nearby beach to report on a sinkhole that had swallowed several vehicles over the school holiday break.
“We enjoyed almost perfect weather for the next three days … I’ve never seen it so calm, clear and idyllic,” he says. “We fished, snorkelled, swam, explored and relaxed – no paid holiday overseas could beat it.”
A Bundaberg local who was at Lady Musgrave Island at the same time aboard his Riviera 36 Flybridge said he had never seen the weather so beautiful.
And Kasey Goetz from the Riviera 37 Flybridge, Silver Lining, says she felt like she had arrived in a ‘parallel universe’.
“This is paradise,” she says. “All I wanted to do was launch the rubber ducky and explore the magic of Lady Musgrave Island.
“I couldn’t think of a better holiday – I would much rather be surrounded by whales and dolphins for 12 hours under way than other people on a plane going somewhere less spectacular.”
On Thursday the fleet pointed bows south toward home, with light winds behind them.
“The southerly winds blew us there and the northerlies blew us home – there’s nothing better than planning a trip with such a great ending,” says Randall.
- For details on the next R Marine Jones Experience event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 7 5502 9544.