R Marine Queensland’s Great Sandy Strait experience 2010

A fleet of 21 Rivieras ranging from early model Flybridges through to the latest model 5800 Sport Yacht embarked on a 350 nautical mile round journey from the Gold Coast to Fraser Island earlier this month for R Marine Queensland’s annual Great Sandy Strait experience.

R Marine Queensland dealer principal Randall Jones said every year they chose a marine theme to give them safe travel and this year it was the Starfish.

Mike and Jan Bolton on board their 40 foot Open Flybridge, Relajar, which means relax in Spanish, were among the fleet of 21 Rivieras.

This was the maiden ocean voyage for the Brisbane couple who purchased their Riviera nine months ago.

“We enjoyed the whole Fraser Island experience, we learnt a lot and we are building our confidence for future voyages,” Mike said.

“It was great to meet the other Riviera owners at the functions hosted by R Marine Queensland, they are a great crowd and as always we get into the party mood quickly.”

Mike said highlights of the five-day trip included the beach party where Riviera owners and their families enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres near Kingfisher Bay Resort, cruising into Tin Can Bay, the parties on board and the Seafood Festival.

Although this was not the first time Mike and Jan had been to Fraser Island, it was the first time by boat.  Mike said it was a totally different experience with views of the island rather than the bush and ocean.

“It’s spectacular scenery at Fraser Island.  We saw lots of turtles and whales and when we were cruising behind the island we had perfect weather and boating conditions,” Mike said.

On the journey north, the fleet moored at Mooloolaba in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for the first night where the crew went ashore to enjoy dinner at the Hogs Breath Café before a dawn start the next day.

“We started early to get the good weather and right tide to enter the Wide Bay Bar,” Randall said.

“The local Coast Guard assisted us on the best new track to enter the Bay, which was greatly appreciated, so we stopped by later with a kind donation.

“The Coast Guard does a great job and we recommend people use this service, particularly if you are heading into Fraser Island.

“We spent the next day at the Tin Can Bay Seafood Festival where the kids enjoyed the activities hosted by the local Council.  That day the diehard footy fans headed to the pub for the AFL Grand Final.

“After two nights in the marina we headed out to Kingfisher Bay where we dropped anchor and enjoyed the antipasto platters.  It was certainly the best night’s sleep I have ever had anchored at Kingfisher Bay.

“On day four we headed south back in the Sandy Strait to Gary’s Anchorage, which is a very protected anchorage where we all had some time to relax and do some crabbing and fishing in the company of plenty of sand flies!

“Given that we were heading home the next day we decided to up anchor and head closer to the Wide Bay Bar so that we could get a good run out over the bar.  The bar exit was the best I have ever experienced, flat and calm, which is comforting knowing I’m leading 20 boats safely back home.”