Lady Musgrave Island, North Queensland, Australia: The turquoise waters of the large lagoon and 1192 hectares (2950 acres) of reef surrounding Lady Musgrave Island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef was certainly a sight to behold for 40 Riviera owners and their friends as they dropped anchor in the Capricorn Cays National Park for the annual R Marine Crawley Lady Musgrave Experience.
The fleet of 13 Rivieras travelled in convoy from Runaway Bay Marina on the Gold Coast north to Bundaberg Marina and then on to Lady Musgrave Island where they spent the next few days snorkelling, fishing, socialising and relaxing in one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
This was the first time Max and Maree Hume had taken their Riviera 4000 Offshore Blasé to Lady Musgrave Island and they said it was absolutely sensational.
“We just enjoyed the whole experience – to drive into Lady Musgrave, drop anchor in 25 foot of crystal clear water, grab a Corona and fall off the back of the boat and swim with turtles was just magic – it doesn’t get any better than that!” Max said.
“The water looked like a sheet of glass – it was a once in a lifetime experience but we will do it more than once.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the hospitality and knowledge that Ben Crawley and his team are prepared to pass on and it was very comforting to know we had their guidance and support throughout the journey, especially when crossing the Wide Bay Bar at Great Sandy Straits.
“We had about 13 Rivieras crossing the bar together with an easy swell and constant radio communication so that was comforting and on the return trip Ben organised for the Coast Guard to guide us out because of the rough conditions.”
Maree said, “We met some wonderful people and the other wives are delightful, so it was great to make new like-minded friends with a passion for boating – it truly does feel like we belong to one big boating family.”
Phil and Carmel Kaye on board 43 Open Flybridge Lady Soul said the two days they spent at Lady Musgrave were simply the best.
“Our 40-year-old son came with us and he said it was the best thing he had ever done in his life – that would be the best way to describe the whole experience,” Phil said.
“After two days at Lady Musgrave we headed about 10 kilometres north and caught a few fish, which was a real highlight for me, but Lady Musgrave itself was just unbelievable.
“I have been on a few fishing trips in the area but this was the first time Carmel and I have ever been to Lady Musgrave Island and we look forward to next year’s Experience.”
The avid angler says he holds the record for the largest snapper (11.8 kilograms) ever caught at the Straddie Classic, an offshore fishing tournament held off North Stradbroke Island, so its no wonder he ventured offshore to wet his line.
“There’s no way in the world that I would go to Lady Musgrave without having a fish – it was absolutely unreal,” he said.
“Carmel loved the whole experience. There were about 13 boats at this year’s event with four of us returning home while the remaining eight continued on to Pancake Creek, Hamilton Island and Lizard Island – we will definitely be going again next year and plan to continue to Hamilton Island with the fleet.”
Guided by R Marine Crawley’s dealer principal, Ben Crawley, the fleet experienced perfect coastal cruising conditions and managed to stay one step ahead of the weather for the entire trip, which was held from July 5 to 24.
Ben said they dropped lines a day early to make the best of ideal cruising conditions up the coast and they were rewarded with countless whale and dolphin sightings along the way.
“Our first anchorage was in the sheltered glassy waters inside the Great Sandy Straits which made for a pleasant start to the trip with the odd whale sighting off Hervey Bay,” Ben said.
“The next day, the prominent Riviera trail wound their way north through the Straights en-route to Bundaberg where we hunkered down for the night and enjoyed the small township style home cooking at the wonderful Bundaberg Marina Restaurant.
“With glasses filled and conversation aplenty, it was a good thing the group had a late start planned the following day.
“The weather window was clearly working in our favour as the R Marine Crawley group left Bundaberg the next day for a leisurely 50 nautical mile cruise out to Lady Musgrave Island.
“Upon entering the channel and getting anchors set, it was clear that we had a beautiful couple of days coming. As the afternoon wound down on the first night in Musgrave, we ventured into shore for some afternoon sundowners and to choose the ideal spot for the infamous Musgrave Beach barbecue planned for the following day.
“As the sun rose over the surrounding reef, it provided the perfect backdrop to a fleet of glistening white hulled Rivieras anchored in the mirror like waters, setting the scene for a day of fishing, snorkelling, turtle watching and beach walks. It was evident that today would be one for the memory banks as tenders started off from their mother ships loaded with food and drinks and the group of 40 once again took over the coral lined shores for what proved to be another day in paradise.”
The following day the fleet split into two groups, one that continued north and one that headed south back home to complete the 650 nautical mile round trip.
“As the boats said their goodbyes it was clear from the light winds that both north and south bound boats would benefit from calm cruising conditions and leave the island with new friendships and fond memories of yet another R Marine Crawley Lady Musgrave Experience.”
R Marine Crawley’s next event is the Lizard Island Experience held from October 14 to 25. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or + 61 7 5529 5007.
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