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Portland Roads - Sailing the Whitsundays

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Airlie Beach, Australia
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About Portland Roads - Sailing the Whitsundays
Portland Roads - Sailing the Whitsundays have been sailing in the wake of the traditional Ngaro owners for over 10 years. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and to experience this yourself, skippering your own vessel, is an adventure for the ages. Return to nature and the holidays of your childhood, where everything is a wonder. Go beyond the brochure !
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Portland Roads - Sailing the Whitsundays
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Sinead B wrote a review Jan 2021
1 contribution1 helpful vote
This holiday has been life changing….yes I’m dramatic..…but I really mean it. Long post but please bare with me. It’s fair to say I’m much more of a city gal or landlubber: why? I’m terrified of the ocean and honestly do not understand why people travel on it, live by it and swim in it…..why people, why do you do it???? Get me into a hotel any day….I need my hair straighteners, coffee shops and technology. I do however have two children (9,12) whom I have a responsilbity to, to expose them to different experiences and settings and certainly not pass down my fears about the ocean to them. And then there is my husband Rob….ah bless him…he works so hard and is very passionate about all that he does. So here is where we start. With Rob, and his passion to be near the ocean…..he very much wanted a bareboat charter holiday. You know ease me into life on the water….He has researched for a whole year and eventually ground me down and finally I said yes. “It better have air con, coffee, en suite and a t.v!” Thinking these things couldn’t possibly be on board for the budget we had……well I was very very wrong! Rob found the Portland Roads website and managed to secure a week on board “LUCY” Ok let’s do it……. In prep we took two days sailing lessons on a single hull vessel; possibly overkill but I’m a safety girl and needed to have ‘extra’ knowledge regarding sailing. We also bought the Whitsunday bible “100 Magic Miles of the Great Barrier Reef” (didn’t need to as LUCY has two copies aboard and its expensive - plus doesn’t have Deano’s extensive tips) but it was good to pre prep and get some understanding of what was to come. Day 1 John the business owner leapt onboard and gave us an overview on his business and how what we / they do ultimately is set to help conserve and rejuvenate the reef to be enjoyed for years to come. I’m not going to lie, I became quite emotional watching someone so passionately talk about being respectful to the reef and all its inhabitants. He even engaged the children and got them excited about what we were going to do. And how what we are doing is helping them maintain and restore the reef. Making the Portland Roads company different from the rest. These guys simply love what they do and its infectious. John handed us over to Deano who gave us a tour! yes I said tour, of LUCY, whom might I add, is a lot bigger in person than on photos!!! Four large double cabins all with their own bathrooms. Full equipped kitchen (even with potato masher) coffee machine and t.v. (which we never actually turned on). There are a lot of things to remember but Deano is so cool and highlights the most important stuff. Plus if you all listen you will all remember something. We had an extra sailing lesson so that we could really get to grips with LUCY the next day. Compared to a single hull, LUCY is a dream to control. After two hours sailing around Deano takes us back to shore where he hops off and essentially leave us to get on with it. He did put a “Deano’s tour” into the nav that we could follow which in essence we did. Off we go out to sea…..(gulp) Some things about LUCY that I didn’t realise about catamarans; Stability: my goodness even in chop she’s a steady girl, and honestly I felt safe the whole time, which makes a huge difference to enjoyment levels. Maneuverability, she can almost turn in circles in one spot making getting around harbour easy and safe. Speed: we were shocked at how quick we got to places, meaning we had way more time in the ocean rather than travelling on it. Tender: her little tender meant we were able to access much more when limited by depth. Overall I couldn’t believe how quiet it was the time of year we went (December - so stinger suits are essential!!!!) and we were on many beaches where it was just us…..yep you heard me just us!!!!!! Insane!!!! Our first real stop was tricky negotiating the moorings but by the end of the trip it was all just so easy to do. What started as a two man job became a one man job very quickly. Our first snorkel for me was truly terrifying….there’s fish in the water…..lots of them….big ones too..and man are they inquisitive… But my children simply had the time of their lives…..one moment I’ll never forget was where my daughter screams out ‘Mummy look its Dory!!!!! Arghhhhhhhhhh!’ She was ecstatic to say the least. From that moment on I knew what we were doing was so very special and then I began to relax into the trip. Each night we would watch the stars come out and gaze at the spectacular sunsets. Things you just cant see from hotel windows. And the quiet oh my goodness….so peaceful. We played cards on the back deck each night and chatted about our plans for the next day together as a family….no t.v. no distractions! It was blissful. I could go on in much more detail about where we went and what we did….but I’m not a spoiler and honestly you should try this experience yourself. Because what I’ve learned is…..I’m actually part of something much larger than my self therefore I have nothing to fear….sure there are sharks in certain areas and stingers etc…but its all worth it for the absolute beauty that is the Whitsundays….the air, the beaches, the sand. the fish. the turtles. the coral and the quiet. All this beauty is there for the seeing. No photos or video or words do it justice, you just must try it. Thank you LUCY for getting us there in style, comfort and safety. I’ll never forget you. Already we are planning our next trip and we will definitely be using Portland Roads, super guys with amazing boats…..whats more they have a real desire the keep the reef beautiful. Thanks John and Deano…..see you at the end of the year!!!!!!!
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Date of experience: January 2021
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Lauren T wrote a review Nov 2020
1 contribution
I do not have enough words to explain how incredible our experience with Portland Roads was! Myself and seven girls self-skippered the Portland Roads Catamaran and were overwhelmed with the quality of the boat, service and support through out 7 day adventure. After planning our trip with John, and being orientated by Mike, we truly could not have had a more pleasant experience if we tried. Their team are highly educated and were able to assist us navigate some of the most beautiful locations I've ever seen. Thank you SO much team at Portland Roads, we cannot wait to return again! Lauren :)
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Date of experience: November 2020
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David S wrote a review Nov 2020
4 contributions1 helpful vote
WE had a week sailing with Portland Roads recently. Minimal sailing experience, but an hour with John teaching us how to furl and unfurl the sails was brilliant. We sailed for 4 out of six days with no problems. Had a great time. The itinerary which was planned for us worked really well with the weather as expected. The boat was really good and it was awesome to have power for cooking/coffee. WE had really good weather which helped! Brilliant experience
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Date of experience: October 2020
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Liv H wrote a review Sep 2020
2 contributions
The experience Portland Roads offers is unlike anything else you'll find in the Whitsundays. Not only are the boats beautiful and the experiences unforgettable but I loved the genuine the social and environment awareness they displayed - having a strong focus on protecting the environment and Indigenous culture. Josh, our Master Reef Guide, also made the experience ten times more special. He had endless knowledge about the reef and brought lots of fun and positivity to the trip! If you are considering sailing in The Whitsundays I would absolutely recommend going with Portland Roads.
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Date of experience: August 2020
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Bronah F wrote a review Feb 2020
4 contributions
What an incredible experience! Spending a week on the Portland Roads boat was near perfect. The boat itself is stunning, comfortable and spacious. The back of the boat with the outdoor dining table made for the perfect meal/chill position, and for the sunny days the shade cloths were a perfect protection from the sun. The front of the boat is very spacious and with the comfortable daybeds made for an amazing afternoon watching the beautiful sunsets. Josh our skipper was INCREDIBLE! He was super friendly, very knowledgeable and took us to beautiful places! I also felt very safe with him in charge. I hope to get the chance to holiday with Portland Roads again very soon! And would highly recommend booking with them for anyone wanting a perfect holiday through the beautiful Whitsundays!
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Date of experience: February 2020
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