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A Winter Wonderland

Mike Dicker, WRAY briefer, skipper and all-round nautical expert, writes about the Whitsundays from his unique on-the-water perspective.

There’s no doubt about it, the Whitsundays is a magical place during the winter months.

‘Winter’ in the Whitsundays means balmy daytime temperatures ranging from 24 – 26 degrees celsius, and plenty of sunshine.

It also brings with it the reliable south-south easterly trade winds, the perfect conditions for your favourite anchorages, including Butterfly Bay, Cid Harbour and Nara Inlet to name a few.

While the Whitsundays will always boast picturesque sunsets year round, during the winter months they are an especially gorgeous spectacle. Dramatic hues of pinks, reds and orange light up the sky, as the sun sets behind the island’s silhouettes.

If that’s not enough to tempt you into a visit, perhaps the annual migration of playful humpback whales will do the trick.

Pods of humpback whales arrive into our warm waters from June to August. Pregnant mothers arrive to birth their calves and fatten them up, while fathers or fathers-to-be frolic, search for mates and protect their pods, before returning to cooler waters in the spring.

Whales enjoy the lack of natural predators in our waters, allowing them to relax and play. This means you are very likely to see them breaching, jumping and slapping the water with their mighty tails as they enjoy their visit. They may approach your vessel, so be sure to turn off all propellers when whales are sighted nearby, and do not follow or approach them yourself.

There are information sheets on board your vessel specifying the distances and protocols for when you spot whales nearby or if you’re lucky enough for them to approach you.

If you happen to charter in August, be prepared to also share the water with many racing enthusiasts, who compete in Airlie Beach Race Week and Hamilton Island Race Week.

While it is wise to stay out of their way when competing, spectating these regattas from a safe distance is an unforgettable sight, and can be quite exciting.

Brightly coloured spinnakers are hoisted, and contrast beautifully against the backdrop of our turquoise water and islands. A camera and a set of binoculars are a must!

Happy chartering!
Cheers,

Mike

Whale jumping - by Tracey Charles

This photo of a whale jumping was captured by WRAY charterer Tracey Charles.