Leg 8 |
Australia – The Whitsundays, The Great Barrier Reef, Darwin, & Lombok, Indonesia
World ARC 2020
August 10th to September 17th
Aug 10th 2020
Sept 17th 2020
5 Spaces left
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Trip schedule notes:
This is by far, the longest trip. You’re invited to stay with us all the way to Lombok, Indonesia if you have the time. Trip prices are not pro-rated, but we realize that 39 days in paradise may be too long for your schedule, so it’s possible that you could jump off at an earlier place. Just give us a call, and we can chat.
Few places in the world are as iconic as The Great Barrier Reef. It’s one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and the only living thing on Earth that can be seen from outer space.
We’ll cruise almost 1,000 miles along the Great Barrier Reef, to the Northeastern tip of Australia, on our way around the continent, from Airlie Beach to Darwin, before sailing on to Indonesia, and the island of Lombok.
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a marine paradise, with stunning scenery, snorkeling, diving, fishing, great sailing, and some beautiful islands, to be sure.
But the shallow reefs, beautiful turquoise blue waters, and Southeast Trade Winds make it a Kitesurfing Paradise.
And on this trip we’re bringing Special Guest Instructor and Kite Pro Jake Kelsick along with fellow kitesurfer Megan Grant (author of Kiteboarding On Social Media Vs Real Life!), so it’s sure to be a fun and adrenalin pumping adventure.
If you want to know what it’s like to kitesurf on the Great Barrier Reef, check out Ben Wilson on his 2017 trip...
Flat water, breaks, coral reefs, and sandy beaches.
This will be an EPIC Kite Safari, and in many places going where no man (or woman) has kited before!
(Schedule is weather dependent)
Arrival times in Airlie Beach, Australia: 12:00 to 20:00 hours. Unpack your bags, relax, meet your fellow crew members, learn your way around the boat.
Day 2 & 3
Briefings, Training &
Sail to Whitsunday Islands
Day 2 will be Briefings, Training and Final Preparations. Day 3 sees us sail to the Whitsunday Islands. The Whitsundays are a collection of 74 tropical islands, located inside the Great Barrier Reef, just off-shore from Airlie Beach.
Our first stop is the stunning namesake Whitsunday Island, including the iconic Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. Whitsunday Island is the largest in this chain of islands with incredible white silica sand thought to be among the purest in the world. Here, tidal changes create stunning patterns and colors in the sand, often considered the most beautiful beach you have never seen.
Kitesurf Whitehaven Beach
Over 4 miles long with Hill Inlet Lookout on the north end, Whitehaven Beach is considered one of the best kiting spots by kiteforum.com, for all skill levels and perfect flat water.
The most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands. The iconic Great Barrier Reef hotel – the Intercontinental Hayman Island.
Kitesurf Hayman Island
Also home to the One And Only Club, Hayman is stunning, but experienced crushing damage during Cyclone Debbie, and is just coming back on-line this year).
We’ll Kitesurf Hayman Island, and if Hook Island isn’t providing too big a windscreen, we can catch the Trades and kitesurf Bird Island and the Langford Bird Reef.
We can also explore beautiful Blue Pearl Bay, and possibly head in to the Hayman resort for a cool refreshment after a hard day of shredding.
Sail to Hardy Reef
Once we leave Hayman Island, we’ll head across to the Great Barrier Reef. It’s very close—only about 40 km to the Northeast.
The Great Barrier Reef
There are so many places to see and explore, that you could spend years exploring the Great barrier Reef. We are intentionally cherry-picking the best spots along the way for kiting, however all of the spots offer incredible snorkeling, and diving as well. Our first GBR destination is Hardy Reef, and the nearby Block Reef and Circular Quay Reef, which you will probably recognize from the photos.
Sail North to Hinchinbrook Island National Park
(approx. 200 miles)
Hinchinbrook Island is a paradise--
Gorgeous beaches, tropical rain forests, (and you’ll swear this is where they filmed Jurassic Park).
A National Park, Hinchinbrook Island is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Listing for it’s unique flora and fauna. The waters of the Coral Sea which surround Hinchinbrook Island are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, world renowned for it’s abundant marine life offering us a chance to view sea turtles, dolphins and dugong. Humpback whales migrate along the islands coastline and are frequently sighted during late July & August.
Hinchinbrook Island offers amazing hikes and views from the peaks as well.
Day 8 & 9
Kitesurf and Explore Hitchinbrook Island
There’s a stunning 8km long beach, with an on-shore breeze, and around the point there are two “smaller” beaches that offer a more side-shore conditions.
Sail to Port Douglas
Port Douglas is a place where the rich and famous come to disappear for a while. Locals have spotted Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Keanu Reeves and plenty of other Hollywood celebs hanging out in the cafes and restaurants. There are also over 100 day tours out to the Barrier reef, Rainforest and outback, so kite widows will not be lost for things to do. If the weather is no good for kiting, it's perfect for diving on the Great Barrier Reef.
Here you can choose to Kitesurf Four Mile Beach, explore the town, or kick back and relax at Barbados Port Douglas, at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina.
Fourmile is a stunningly beautiful beach that stretches for four miles in the beautiful town-ship of Port Douglas.
Peak season is in winter when the swells generally appear from the Southeast and the wind is a steady 15-25kts.
Best kiting is in the winter from late April to October when the Southeast trades come through.
There's no shortage of nightlife in Port Douglas. Try the Court House Hotel for some live music and great counter meals. The Ironbar is tops for a few beverages and there are more restaurants than you can poke a stick at.
Sail to Three Islands Group National Park
Full day sail North, deep into the Great Barrier Reef, to Three Islands Group National Park.
Three Islands Group
Kitesurf through the Three Island Group.
Here we visit the Ribbon Reefs (#9 & 10) and experience world-famous Cod Hole dive site, at the tip of Ribbon Reef #10.
Friendly Potato Cod
WAVE KITING on the GBR
OK, so everyone is no doubt thinking the GBR is great for steady wind and pretty flat water, but in my opinion the best kept secret about the place is the huge number of reef locations with decent breaking surf. Not Hawaii or Tahiti by any means, but plenty of clean overhead to double overhead waves winding off reef setups. This is not hearsay, but personal observation from 20 years of working on the reef.
Most of the reefs in the GBR tend to grow in massive ovals, so the northern ends have a nice taper which catches the wind driven SE swell and wraps it around, giving a right hand wave that progressively gets held up by the wind as it changes direction.
North of Port Douglas, we have about 700km of Ribbon reefs which lie right on the edge of the shelf and catch all the deep water swell coming off the coral sea. The ribbons form almost a continuous line, BUT, every 10km or so there is a pass, and this is where the waves are perhaps at their best and offer a huge untapped potential for adventure kiting. The ribbon reef on the southern side of the pass has a right hand wave wrapping around its northern end (see pics below), and there are often triangular "delta" reefs in the middle of the pass that have perfect A-frame peaks winding waves left and right. The Cod-Hole (offshore from Lizard) at the northern end of Ribbon #10 is a classic case, with Dynamite reef sitting smack bang in the middle of the pass and throwing up heaving barrels, which several hardy souls have surfed but to my knowledge no one has kited.
Of course there is a catch, and the problem is access and launching. Ideally, we would like a sand cay close to the northern end of an outer shelf platform reef or ribbon reef. These cays do exist at multiple locations along the GBR , although we are not making their location widely known at this stage as we are still developing the logistics for tours to these spots. However, anyone with access to the net and google earth or NASA's Worldwind program could make some pretty educated guesses as to the best spots.
The big problem is that there are not many cays near the northern ribbon reefs, which have the best waves and the best wind conditions. This means you would be looking at boat launches which adds to the complexity and skill level needed to ride these spots. Added to that, the general isolated nature of the ribbon reefs, big currents belting through the passes, heavy seas, and sharks galore, means these spots are really only for riders that are on top of their game. However with the right approach, a knowledge of the effects of the tides (see my previous post) on the waves, and some good boat or jet ski support, I think we will see some exciting kiting taking place right on our doorstep in years to come!
Right you are Coral Sea!
And nice analysis of the waves & breaks of the Great Barrier Reef.
Not far from Ribbon Reef, we head to Lizard Island Lagoon for amazing kiteboarding in gorgeous flat turquoise waters.
Day 16 & 17
There are many other activities to enjoy at Lizard Island as well—so we plan on
two days here:
dive to see the giant clam garden – some over 2 meters wide
swim with manta rays
catch a black marlin
or just head over to the sand-floored Marlin Bar for a cold beer
Night Sail to Sandbanks National Park.
Sail to Cape York, Thursday Island, and the Torres Strait
Cape York is the Northeast corner of the Australian continent. It is also the Southern end of the Torres Strait which connects the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
From here we turn West towards Darwin, and proceed through the Torres Strait, past Prince of Wales and Thursday Islands, and into the Arafura Sea--leaving the blue waters and the trade winds of the Pacific behind.
Across the Gulf of Carpentaria to Cape Wessel, through the Arafura Sea to Cape Don, and then down the Van Diemen Gulf to Beagle Gulf and Darwin.
Day 21 to 23
Three day Sail to Darwin
Day 31 to 35
Set Sail for Lombok
Set Sail for Lombok – 945 miles across the Timor Sea and Indian Ocean.
It’s been an AMAZING trip—almost 2,000 miles around Australia, with epic kitesurfing up the Great Barrier Reef. But now it’s time to put the ship back in shape, do our debriefings, and say goodbyes, until the next time.
The schedule above represents a typical itinerary and should only be used as a guide as actual itineraries may change and are always subject to weather and local wind conditions.