Spots to look out for when navigating the Whitsundays

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Spots to look out for when navigating the Whitsundays.

WRAY briefer, skipper and all-round nautical expert, Mike Dicker, writes about the Whitsundays from his unique on-the-water perspective.

We keep saying that sailing in the Whitsundays is easy, and it really is. However, there are several areas that will require a little more discipline with your navigation, so here’s a short list of those "just be careful" places.

I have deliberately referred to pages in 100 Magic Miles by David Colfelt, as this marvellous manual will be your navigational "bible" for the time you are chartering with us in The Whitsundays.

Unsafe Passage (page 169):

The very name is enough to make an experienced sailor tremble, yet Unsafe Passage is very scenic, very convenient and perfectly safe, provided you stick to the middle of the passage and monitor the "lead lights" that are on the Northern end of Daydream Island as you navigate through. You will always have at least 6 metres under your keel, even at low tide.

North-West Hook Island, Langford Island, Black Island and Hayman Island (page 177):

This area is generally considered the prime snorkelling territory in the Whitsundays and for that reason, most charterers will try to spend some time here. There is a lot of beautiful coral, which we all try to protect from damage from anchors, chains and wayward boats. In this region, all that’s needed is a little common sense and a little care and discipline with your navigation. Always know where your boat is in relation to the surrounding reefs and coral bed areas. If you refer to the aerial photo on page 178, you will see that you have masses of room to navigate, so just take a little more care. Always use a public mooring when staying overnight in this area.

French Shoal (page 200-202):

Situated approximately 1 mile east of and running parallel to Whitehaven Beach, French Shoal is simply not visible from deck level on your boat, but it is there (see the aerial photo taken by our resident aeronautical briefer Ian Wells). This photo gives us a rare and accurate perspective of French Shoal. To avoid running aground here, simply follow the dotted route lines that will guide you to the west of Lagoon Rock, as you navigate North or South in this area.

Do your homework and enjoy the buzz of navigating around this area we call home.

Happy Navigating,

Mike