'Living the Daydream' Riviera Brisbane Hosts the Inaugural Circle Whitsundays Experience

Six days of leisure cruising around Queensland’s idyllic Whitsunday Islands was an experience to remember for the Riviera Brisbane family who met at Abel Point Marina for day one of the Circle Whitsundays Experience, which took four Rivieras some 60 miles from Abel point Marina to Woodwark Bay, Montes Reef Resort then north through Gloucester Passage stopping at Bono Bay, Armit Island and Nara Inlet before cruising back down to Hamilton Island.

A fleet of four Rivieras ranging in size from 42 to 58 feet began their experience with meet and greet sundowners on board Riviera 56 Double Trouble, followed by dinner at The Tides Restaurant at Peppers Resort.

The next day the weather had turned so the fleet consisting of Riviera 42 Supreme,  Riviera 43 Serenity, Riviera 5800 Sport Yacht Bellagio and Double Trouble departed Abel Point Marina bound for their mooring at Woodwark Bay, some 10 miles from Abel Point Marina.

Riviera Brisbane dealer principals Rod, Julie and Ben Crawley delivered fresh prawns and chilled wine to the boats once the anchors were set.

“We all enjoyed the prawns and wine on the back of Bellagio,” Rod said.

“After a quiet night we all met for a barbecue lunch at Woodwark Bay.  In the early evening light, we were delighted with sightings of a baby shark and dolphins.

“Early morning kayaking was enjoyed by a few of the group, before we set off 15 miles to Gloucester where Peter from Bellagio was very keen to try his skills on “dragging a line”.  He proudly hooked three fish, which the group enjoyed later that night for dinner, on board Bellagio.

The fleet anchored at Monte’s Resort where coincidentally there was another group of boaters enjoying a Jimmy Buffett themed evening.  Riviera Brisbane would be hosting their own Jimmy Buffett and Curry night a couple of days later at Nara Inlet.

“Arriving at Montes Reef Resort the next day was hectic, as there was a huge group called ‘Shag Island Cruising Club’ named after the small island across from Montes.  About 85 boats with flags of every colour along with Jimmy Buffett flags was a blaze of colour against the turquoise water.  It was their meet and greet night at Montes that evening, so lots of people in bright aqua t-shirts and hats filled the resort.  It was a great atmosphere, and we met up with a couple from Abel Point on their Riviera 38 called Daydream, and they joined us for dinner. The staff at Montes did a fantastic job with char grilled fillets and mango macadamia coral trout and not to forget the sticky date pudding to finish off.

“After a peaceful calm night, we all met for breakfast at the Eco Resort where they put on a great hangover breakfast which was much needed by all.

“A slow cruise took the fleet 4 miles to Bono Bay, our next destination and the group enjoyed a quiet day strolling the beaches and relaxing.”

The following morning it was time to head north again and with the weather dead calm, the boats all had a great cruise, stopping for morning tea at Armit Island, which is located 12 miles due north of Airlie Beach.

“The crews all went ashore for a well needed walk and snorkel around the large reef area.  The alert was given out for that evening’s ‘Curry and Jimmy Buffett night’ and everyone started to get organised for the event.  After a slow cruise, we rafted up in Nara Inlet for the evening,” Rod said.

“That afternoon, the crew from Bellagio set off for the walk to the Aborigine caves.

“Once we were rafted up it was great to see Sharon and Mick O'Phee arrive on their Riviera 47 called Shazmick.  They had cruised from Brisbane and endured a rough trip up, so it was great they were able to join our Jimmy Buffett and Curry night, which was followed by an entertaining Haka performance on the swim platform of Double Trouble. As the night progressed the Quash and Kiwi enjoyed the rugby on the TV, and the evening finally got into full swing with Grant from Serenity doing a fantastic performance with the spoons. I really think the whole of Nara Inlet heard our celebrations. It was an impressive raft up of a 58’ Sports, 56', 47', 43' and 42’ Rivieras.”

Jimmy Buffett is a country music singer-songwriter, author and film producer with a widely known love of boats and the sea.

The highlight of the trip for Jan Hedges on board Serenity was rafting up at Nara Inlet and watching the rugby union on the satellite TV.

“It started with two guys going past in a dingy and asking if we had caught any ‘fush’, a dead giveaway they were kiwis.  So with that they were invited on board our raft up of five boats, mainly to support the lone Kiwi in our group,” Jan said.

“The five Kiwis including their wives performed the haka on the duckboard and the two black and white dogs were snapped up as mascots and then entertained us with some spoon playing.”

“The last morning of the trip was a little slow to get started, but the crews from all the boats meet on the front of Double Trouble, for the much needed rope lessons. Our final farewells to Peter, Stephanie, Liz and Helen from Bellagio, as they had a flight to Sydney.  The rest of the boats finally departed to Hamilton Island for I am sure a well needed rest.”

Stephanie and Peter Daly from Bellagio said the Circle Whitsunday Experience was a fantastic week.
“We are relatively new to boating so Riviera Brisbane’s love and knowledge of boats and boating was impressive and your passion for Riviera infectious,” Peter said.

“Best of all, your friendship and the many new Riviera friends that we now have made this cruise the most wonderful experience.”

Rod said, “The trip was great and we all had lots of fun, it certainly will be on the calendar for 2012. So if you are in the Whitsundays next year come along.”

Please click below to read Circle Whitsundays Experience 2011 - Trip Journal written by Geoff Simmons, one of Riv family, telling us his fantastic moment with Riviera Brisbane's this inaugural event.

(PDF file, 1.64MB - require Adobe Reader , get the latest version of Adobe Reader from Adobe's download page )



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Click to enlarge image: Peter from 'Bellagio' catching fish

Peter from 'Bellagio' catching fish

Fresh prawn and wine delivery

Fresh prawn and wine delivery

It was a beautiful day for a raft up

It was a beautiful day for a raft up

The Riviera Family enjoying a social get together during the raft up

The Riviera Family enjoying a social get together during the raft up

Sunset at Montes

Sunset at Montes

Eco Resort

Eco Resort