A great adventure and even greater friendships for the Riviera family
Queensland, Australia: As the sun set on the final day of the annual R Marine Queensland Great Sandy Straits Experience, some 45 Riviera owners enjoyed tapas and drinks under the Pandanus tree at King Fisher Bay, Fraser Island.
In its 5th year the Great Sandy Straits Experience has become a highlight on R Marine Queensland’s calendar of events.
A fleet of 11 Rivieras ranging in size from 36 to 51 feet set off from Sovereign Islands on the Gold Coast and embarked on a 408 nautical mile round trip north to Great Sandy Straits and back again.
R Marine Queensland dealer principal Randall Jones said every year they chose a marine theme to give them safe travel and this year it was the crab.
“This year coming into Tin Can Bay we could see a lot of jellyfish in the water so next year there is a good chance the theme will be jellyfish,” Randall said.
“We start with our first group meeting at Sovereign Islands in the Broadwater and then we collect the boats as we move through the Brisbane area where we anchor at Tangalooma for lunch before continuing north to Mooloolaba for our first night which includes a meet and greet dinner.”
This was the first R Marine Experience for Margaret and Barry Hill who purchased a 3600 Sport Yacht earlier this year.
Barry who was an avid yachty since the early 60s said the Great Sandy Straits journey was a whole new experience for him.
“It was a new experience for us and a great introduction for my wife because she hasn’t done that much boating and she wasn’t really into sailing like I was,” Barry said.
“I have been racing yachts since the early 60s. I have taken yachts through Great Sandy Straits and up to the Whitsundays but I had my back fused so I had to give up offshore yacht racing and go for a more relaxed style of boating.
“It was wonderful to meet so many other happy Riviera owners and the 3600 Sport Yacht with IPS makes it a very simple boat for Margaret and I to handle.
“Overall it was just a great experience, very well organised and the dinner on the first night was a great night. It gave everyone the chance to meet and then the prawns at the marina in Tin Can Bay was another great get together for everyone and we really enjoyed the tapas and drinks at King Fisher Bay (under the Pandanus tree).”
Riviera 47 Flybridge owners Dale and Kathy Cash have been on several R Marine Queensland Experiences.
“We had a new boat this year so it was very exciting for us,” Dale said.
“We saw the whales again on our way home and I am sure it was the same whales we saw last year, one was as big as the boat.
“There was a nice marina at Tin Can Bay. It was just nice to relax and have a break from work. We really enjoy the company of the other Riviera owners and we have got some really close friends who we met on one of the first trips so now we raft up together and enjoy each others company.”
Randall said the five night experience included a mixture of planned activities and leisure time such as lunch at Tangalooma on day one followed by dinner at Mooloolaba where they anchored for the first night.
The next day they left Mooloolaba bound for Tin Can Bay where they crossed the Wide Bay Bar with the assistance of the Coastguard.
“The Bar can be quite dangerous, it wasn’t in this particular case but we get the Coastguard to guide us through to support the local groups and we give them a donation for their help. It also shows our owners that they too can get assistance form the Coastguard when they come to a Seaway entry or Bar,” Randall said.
“Once we got through the Bar we anchored at Inskip Point and then we made our way down to Tin Can Bay Marina where we provided everyone with fresh prawns and then they had the afternoon at their leisure.
“On Wednesday we headed north to Hervey Bay or what they call Moon Point on Fraser Island before anchoring at King Fisher Bay where we went ashore.”
The next day the fleet moved south to Gary’s Anchorage which is well protected from the weather. They anchored overnight and spent most of Friday exploring the local area.
“People were able to put their crab pots in and do a bit of fishing and exploring in their tenders around the little creeks and estuaries,” Randall said.
“Friday afternoon we moved closer to the Wide Bay Bar and anchored so that at first light we are up and gone through the Bar at the right tide and on our way home on Saturday.”
R Marine Queensland’s next event is their Christmas Party on December 4 at Jumpinpin. R Marine Queensland have sent out invitations but for any Riviera owner with a vessel in Queensland who hasn’t yet received an invitation, please contact R Marine Queensland on 07 5502 9544.
Click to enlarge image:
Approaching Mooloolaba for our first night
R Marine Queensland provided fresh prawns for owners to enjoy on the marina at Tin Can Bay
The fleet heads in from Double Island Point heading for Wide Bay Bar
Barry and Margaret Hill on board their 3600 Sport Yacht
Margaret Hill on board 'My Girl'
Dale Cash with his grand daughter, Emma Gill
Riviera owners enjoyed tapas and drinks on the beach at Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island
Watching the sun set at Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island