Camaraderie binds boaters at Lady Musgrave Experience 2008

Phil and Cheryl Harman have enjoyed a number of Experience events with Riviera aboard their Riviera 47, Larrikin. For Kevin and Jan Evans, the R Marine Coomera Lady Musgrave Experience was their first.

Yet “camaraderie” was the first word both used to describe the highlight of the 10-day boating adventure.

For Vince and Colomba Giufre, it was a particularly exciting adventure. They took delivery of their Riviera 40 Gizmo just three weeks before setting out.

“It was a fantastic introduction to the Riviera family,” said Vince. “We’ve made some amazing friends from that trip.”

Kevin and Jan Evans moved to the Gold Coast in 2002 after a successful career in Adelaide. Kevin’s boating before moving north was fishing aboard his 30-foot cruiser around Adelaide. The couple bought a Riviera 41 in December last year and were delighted when Keith Hanson, Dealer Principal at R Marine Coomera, asked them to join the trip.

“It was great to meet so many other couples with the same interests,” said Kevin. “Socialising was the highlight for us.

“It was an entirely new experience for us. The Great Sandy Straits inside Fraser Island was a real eye opener. You don’t realise how big that island really is until you run along side it.”

Phil and Cheryl Harman live in Melbourne but their boat, Larrikin, stays on the Gold Coast.

“We’ve been on a few Experience events,” said Phil. “This time a lot of the people didn’t know one another, so it was a great way for everyone to make new friends.”

Phil and Cheryl were joined by a couple from Western Australia who had recently returned from R Marine Perth’s Port Geographe Experience.

“Many a good night was had by all,” said Phil, “We hosted the first of many ‘margarita nights’ at Mooloolaba on the way north.”

Vince Giufre said the knowledge of the R Marine Coomera team was invaluable.

“Keith Hanson knew every little nook and cranny to explore during the voyage,” he said. “There were many days when we had the tender off the boat two or three times!”

The fleet of 18 Rivieras voyaged from the Gold Coast north to Mooloolaba on the first day and then set out to cross the notorious Wide Bay Bar and travel the Great Sandy Straits to Kingfisher resort on Fraser Island.

The northern destination and highlight of the Experience was scheduled to be Lady Musgrave Reef and Island.

“The weather was not good to us on that day,” explained Kevin Evans. “But it was enough to whet our appetite to visit again.”

Phil Harman had more fun than most at Lady Musgrave. He lowered his 3.4 metre tender and set off outside the reef for a spot of fishing.

“Catching big kingies in a three-metre tender is quite exciting,’ he said, grinning at the memory.

Kevin and Jan Evans hosted another Adelaide couple for the event.

“They got the taste for the lifestyle during the Experience,” said Kevin. “When they get back to Adelaide, I think they will order a Riviera!”