Margaret Balfour and Shane Bridges have been bareboat chartering with Whitsunday Rent A Yacht for 10 years.
Both keen fishing enthusiasts, you could arguably say they’re hooked.
But what exactly is it that keeps them coming back to the Whitsundays year after year?
Margaret and Shane’s love affair with the Whitsundays began on their honeymoon.
“We’d never chartered a boat before – we had a small fishing boat but it was just a little aluminium tinny; we’d never sailed a big boat, but we like fishing and we love the water,” Margaret said.
Following a successful first charter the couple decided to book an anniversary trip.
“We started coming up here for our wedding anniversary every year, but then we got addicted and now we sometimes come two or three times a year,” Margaret said.
The main attraction for Margaret and Shane has been getting away from it all.
“We both work and live in a world where there are constant emails and phone calls but out here, if you find the right places you’ve got no internet and no mobile reception; it’s just so peaceful,” Margaret said.
“The rest of the world doesn’t exist,” Shane added.
“It’s just us on a boat and nobody else around.”
After all these years Margaret and Shane have a few ‘must visit’ anchorages they call into each time they visit.
“I think Nara Inlet is the most picturesque spot but Stonehaven’s got the best sunset,” Margaret said.
The couple also like Macona Inlet and Tongue Bay, renowned for its turtles and walk to the Hill Inlet lookout over world-famous Whitehaven Beach.
Low tide walking on the beaches and a bit of amateur photography are among Margaret’s ideas for great ways to fill the days.
“We often just walk in the shallow water and look at the fish and the coral – you actually don’t need to snorkel it’s so clear,” she said.
Of course fishing features heavily in each charter trip, with one of the most memorable moments of the last decade’s visits being an 80cm Golden Trevally landed by Shane in Tongue Bay.
“It was our last night and we had no bait left – just a couple of prawn heads. Shane had a few lines out anyway and the fish just went crazy,” Margaret said.
“There was a whole big line of Golden Trevally through the bay.
“The first one bit him off, the second one swam around the anchor line but the third one he pulled in and it was massive!”
Recipe for success
Margaret attributes the couple’s chartering success to the fact she’s an avid reader and likes to research places before she visits them.
“I think if you read about boating in the Whitsundays before you come and particularly if you can get hold of David Colfelt’s 100 Magic Miles, that’s the best preparation you can do,” she said.
“And get the right food!” Shane added.
Shane and Margaret shop online with Coles long before their plane has even touched down on the Whitsunday coast.
Over the years they’ve collected phone numbers for a few local taxi drivers, and on the way to the Whitsunday Rent A Yacht base in Shute Harbour they usually swing past Coles to pick their ‘click and collect’ shopping order up.
“We’ve got a standard list of things we buy for the trip and we order everything a couple of days beforehand,” Margaret said.
No licence, no worries
Ultimately these 10 wonderful years of bareboat chartering with Whitsunday Rent A Yacht might never have happened if Margaret hadn’t discovered she didn’t need a boat licence to do the trip.
“I’d heard of bareboating but it never really occurred to me as a holiday option because I didn’t have a boat licence,” she said.
“But you don’t have to have a boat licence at all.
“It’s actually not a hard holiday; it’s a great holiday for families, for kids – it’s just something everybody can do.”
To book your next bareboat holiday in the Whitsundays contact us today on 1800 075 000.
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