The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world's largest living organism, known as the "eighth wonder of the world", it is one of Australia 's most proud possessions.   The Great Barrier Reef is contained within the GBR Marine Park which is about ½ the size of Texas or just a bit larger than Japan, so can that whole area be that great ?  What makes your appreciation of the Great Barrier Reef so GREAT is discovering for yourself, the stuff you see on the discovery channel or on documentaries narrated by the likes of David Attenborough.  Some GBR locations close to the mainland are visited by large boats carrying hundreds of passengers every day for their GBR experience, so can the ecosystems at these locations really be that great ?  

 

Does “great” equate to remote, therefore pristine ?  Boat-owners will understand the trade off between time and distance.  Most boats cruise at speeds of between 6 & 12 knots per hour, so visiting remote locations to discover what makes the GBR great requires choosing a live aboard boat trip!  Enter “mal de mere” (seasickness) into the equation and you have a problem that can afflict a significant portion of the human population.  For best results the traveller needs a live aboard boat operating in (or able to get to in a short period of time) protected waters because large waves can quickly develop in short distances at sea with strong winds.   

 

The Whitsundays is a microcosm of the Great Barrier Reef comprising of 74 Islands with so many protected anchorages that smooth water is easily accessed, no matter what the wind direction.  Surrounding many of the Islands are fringing reefs that boast magnificent coral gardens with friendly fish, exactly as they were when Captain James Cook discovered the area in 1770.  These Islands abound with wildlife and Aboriginal caves decorated with ancient paintings so you can see much of what Australia has to offer compacted into one small area.  The Whitsunday’s are "Nature's Playground" both above and below the water.

 

On a sailing expedition cruise, you can live aboard a yacht for a week or more, so that your days adventure begins on waking and continues unabated through to after dark, when fish can be seen leaping from the water under the ship's strong search light.  There are close encounters with nature as dolphin play at the bow and whales leap playfully in the distance.  Snorkelling over colourful coral reefs accompanied by hundreds of friendly fish is an experience to be treasured. It is an ideal family holiday because of the educational aspect where family members of all ages can learn together as they experience nature, guided by experts.  Sailing the calm waterway's of the Whitsunday's is a unique Australian experience not to be missed.