When we started Jet-Skiing we dreamt of riding them around the Whitsunday Islands and it was this dream which led to our ill-fated attempt to jet ski around the entire Australian coast line, but that’s a story for another time. After a few days in Airlie Beach the wind was finally on our side and we decided to head out for a run to the world famous Whitehaven Beach. Heading out from Able Point marina we made our way across towards the narrow passage that runs between Hayman and Hook Island in what can only be described as ‘as good as it gets’. For the first leg of our days journey we were heading to Manta Ray Bay for some snorkeling with the abundant aquatic life that calls the Marine Sanctuary home. Manta Ray Bay has some amazing coral formations and thanks to the local tour operators feeding the fish on a regular basis the ‘locals’ know to come over and visit any boat that pulls up into the bay and wait for the handouts. Among the huge schools of Scissor Fish and Fusiliers were a couple Giant Trevally and a very docile Maori Wrasse all eager for a free feed. We tied up to one of the available dinghy moorings, slipped on our fins and made ourselves at home amongst the fish while we admired the scenery below.
After brief but pleasant half an hour or so we climbed back on board the skis and headed around towards Whitehaven Beach. This was the choppiest part of the day but only lasted about 15 minutes and we were back in calm water and within sight of the world-renowned Whitehaven Beach. We anchored our skis on an isolated stretch of sand and took some time admiring the pristine environment in which we were able to immerse ourselves in a way in which only a fellow jet-skier would understand. They certainly make you feel like you’re apart of the scenery as opposed to being a spectator to it.
After a quick swim and a cold drink we head around through Solway Passage and onto Hamilton Island, where we paid the $21 per ski for four hours access to the facilities. We had what can only be described as a very average over-priced meal in an amazing location. For those that haven’t been before your marina fees allow you access to all of the resorts facilities including the swim up bar and pools on the resort side of the island, a short ten minute walk away. If your lazy or want to see a bit more of the island you can always hire a golf cart and take yourself on a self guided tour, whilst we didn’t do it on this particular visit we have done it previously and it’s interesting to see how the ‘other half’ live. There is also a fuel facility if your ski needs a top up to get back to Airlie Beach, with our long range tanks we were fine so we didn’t check prices but I think it’s suffice to say that you would be not only be paying the usual ‘Marina Tax’ but also the very lucrative ‘Island Tax’.
After lunch we made our way back out of the marina and headed North along the Whitsunday Passage and in through the narrow ‘unsafe passage’ that runs between North and South Molle Island then on towards Daydream Island. We decided not to go ashore and played a round for a bit in the calm waters before heading back to Able Point Marina to wash the salt off the skis rinse the dust from our throats. All in all it was a great day in perfect conditions and we covered somewhere around 100K’s. Some more places of interest if you have the time are the reefs around Stonehaven anchorage on the western side of Hook Island and Blue Pearl Bay on the western side of Hayman Island. These are both accessible without deviating to much from the journey we
undertook so if the weather gods are smiling and you got away to an early start it would be a good idea to add them onto your itinerary and remember, if you ride a jet ski, the Whitsunday’s is a must do destination. It's also worth noting that Ben from Whitsunday Powersports is somewhat of a local guru when it comes to jet skis so should you have any mechanical difficulties whilst your there give Ben a call on 0401 276 297.