Great Sandy Straits a nautical delight

The Riviera fleet leaves Mooloolaba Yacht Club bound for Tin Can Bay
Stephen Milne
As the picturesque, world-heritage listed Fraser Island came into view; Riviera owners Glenn and Pauline Vickery were in awe of its natural beauty, pristine white sandy beaches and crystal clear, turquoise waterway that forms the Great Sandy Straits.

Four days earlier, the couple left Horizon Shores Marina, near Jacob’s Well, on the northern end of the Gold Coast with three other Rivieras, for their first Great Sandy Straits experience.

They travelled in convoy to Tangalooma, which is located on the eastern side of Moreton Bay, where they anchored overnight. The following day, the weather conditions were not ideal, but their Riviera handled it well, despite the bumpy ride on their journey to Mooloolaba, where they met the rest of the Riviera fleet for the seventh annual R Marine Jones Great Sandy Straits Experience.

Each year there is a different marine animal theme for the annual Great Sandy Straits Experience, and this year it was the jelly fish. A fleet of 21 Rivieras ranging in size from 36 to 60 feet joined the R Marine Jones team for the 445 nautical mile round trip from Sovereign Island on the Gold Coast north to Fraser Island and back again.

Once the fleet arrived at Mooloolaba, they were each given a berth at the Mooloolaba Yacht Club and a gift basket containing a host of goodies including, themed memorabilia T-Shirts that everyone wore to dinner that night at the Yacht Club.

'We all had an early night because Randall and Sharm wanted to check the weather at 4am the next morning and then Randall sent us all a text message like he said he would,' Glenn said.

'We all mustered up line astern and headed off to Tin Can Bay. It was a lot calmer than the previous day and we crossed the Wide Bay Bar with ease just after 8.30am, and slowly made our way to the Tin Can Bay Marina where we refuelled and berthed for the night.

'Randall and Melinda spoilt us all with king prawns fresh from the trawler, which we all enjoyed on the dock.'

R Marine Jones dealer principal, Randall Jones, said that on days three and four, they travelled up the Fraser Island coast and found some great anchorages such as Rooney’s Point and Arch Cliffs.

Anchored at Arch Cliffs, Fraser Island, the crews prepare to climb the sand hills
Stephen Milne

'We anchored at Arch Cliffs overnight and after a climb up the sand dunes, we were rewarded with fabulous views of Fraser Island and Harvey Bay,' Randall said.

Glenn said they were hoping to go across to Lady Musgrave Island from Rooney Point but a strong wind warning forced the crew to abandon these plans.

'Instead we enjoyed climbing the sand dunes at Arch Cliffs and socialising on the beach. We had such a great time. It was just paradise.'

Randall said they moved south to Moon Point on day five where they got together for a game of beach cricket followed by afternoon drinks and toasted marshmallows.

A game of beach cricket and some friendly rivalry at Moon Point was one of the highlights of the trip
Stephen Milne

Toasting marshmallows on the fire at Moon Point was a nice way to end a great day
Stephen Milne

And on day six, they headed further south to Garry’s Anchorage where they enjoyed a spot of fishing, and one last party with ‘70s music and plenty of dancing on the back of the 56 Flybridge, True North.

'Whales were in abundance throughout the entire trip and many owners took the time to enjoy their magnificent beauty and capture some great photos,' Randall said.

Whales were in abundance on the journey north
Stephen Milne

Glenn said it was one of the best Riviera experiences, full of great memories and they look forward to the next one.

'The whole trip was a great highlight. It was a wonderful experience from the moment we left to the moment we got back to the marina,' he said.

'We were up early one morning at Gary’s Anchorage and there were groups of Rivieras rafted up together, the water looked like a sheet of glass with some mist gliding above – it was spectacular.

Riviera raft up at Gary's Anchorage, Fraser Island
Stephen Milne

'The wisest thing we did was buy a Riviera and get involved in the R Marine Jones experiences. We have met lots of new friends and have learnt what our boat can do. Randall and his team are always working to make sure we have an enjoyable time. I remember on our last trip to Kooringal, Randall and Sharm moved our tenders around while we were enjoying lunch so that we wouldn’t be left high and dry when the tide went out. I can’t speak highly enough of R Marine Jones and their experiences.'

The next R Marine Jones event is their annual Christmas beach party at Jumpin Pin, held on December 9 from 10am. This is an invitation only event. Please RSVP before November 30 to riviera-lifestyle@rmarinejones.com.au or call 07 5502 9544.

Riviera owners enjoyed socialising on the beach during the Great Sandy Straits Experience
Stephen Milne

Riviera offers 15 different models from 36 to 75 feet across four model series Flybridge, Sport Yacht, Offshore Express and the new SUV collection.

Riviera also offers the bespoke Motor Yacht line, Belize Motoryachts. Inspired by classic luxury details and timeless style, Belize Motoryachts has recently released the new 52 foot Sedan and Daybridge models.

For more information, please go to www.riviera.com.au