Sailing in the Whitsundays on the Solway Lass

Australia and Airlies beach sailing trip.


For the longest time I have wanted to do sailing on a vintage ship, and last summer I found this great schooner from 1902 that did 4day cruises from Airlies beach in Australia. 

Let me tell you though, it was not easy to get there from Japan (=_=') as you can see from my screenshot of "flight card" app there was a lot of changes and a lot of stay over time in the airports along the way. (and some 40min bustrip from Proserpine to Airlies beach)
But I had made up my mind and was looking forward to the trip, and before going I had decided I would get a good wide angle lens for the trip as you can't really back up to get everything in frame when you are on a boat. \(>_<)/

At the time, my main lens for the Sony A77 that I brought was my Zeus 24-70mm f2.8, a gorgeous lens, but heavy, bulky and not quite as wide angle as I wanted. Having read some good reviews of the Sigma 10-22mm I decided that it would be my main lens on this trip.

Sigma 10-22mm

I personally thought that the A77 and the sigma 10-22mm did a great job fulfilling my needs for the trip. :) check out the smugmug gallery from the trip here --> Link <--

The schooner (Solway Lass) was a wonderfully sail ship with the Jolly Roger and what have you? 127ft (33mm)

Crew was fantastic and the constant flow of great food from the galley was even overwhelming at times. And as the only ship out of Airlies beach, the ship had a licensed bar onboard. (O_O)/

Solway Lass - Jolly Roger


Cabins where air conditioned and made for 4 people, but there were also 2people cabins available for couples. ♥

It also had a swing rope from one of the mast, so once we stopped at one of the islands that became a popular "sport" as the picture above will no doubt show :) 

Solway Lass Crew

The cruise was all around the whitsunday islands, and as a passenger it was hard to really know where I was. (although in the captains defense, he did explain it) but coming home and hitting "places" in aperture, I got a better understanding of where I had been as I could see what photos I took were, thanks to the GPS function of the Sony A77. (Likely to be the one function that I will miss on the Sony Nex 6 as I bring it with me on travels)

Whitsunday Islands, and where I took pictures :)

We also stopped and did snorkeling as well as diving. That was my first diving experience, and definitely something I would do again. Especially because the Great Barrier Reef is as teaming with fish as everyone will have you believe. And the reef, being a wildlife preserve, the fish have nothing to fear from humans and therefore don't ;) so they basically swim right up to you. Now the pictures below were shot in a one-off waterproof film camera, so the pictures are not "top grade", but I hope they give an idea of some of the underwater wildlife.

Next stop, White heaven beach - "best Eco beach on the planet."

Honestly, I just wanted to go sailing so I had not looked into what sort of beaches the Solway Lass was scheduled to stop at. So I was very surprised to see this magnificent beach. ♥ Whitehaven stretches for a spectacular seven kilometers. The sand is almost 100% silica, which gives it the white color and the sand feels like the sand you would find in an hour-glass between you toes.

I hope your monitor is 4096x928px resolution like this picture ;)

At White heaven beach, we saw stingrays and lemon sharks. The stingrays were hunting for small craps in the sand using sonar, and the lemon sharks came in with the tide as they could easier get their pray in shallow water of the inlays on the beach. 

In the front of the ship below the "flying jib" there was a net stretched out that you could lie in and just relax while the slow rocking of the ship and the soft sound of the ocean waves lulls you to sleep... (no I am quite sure you are not supposed to sleep there, but none the less I fell asleep twice out there while on this cruise ♥ it was likely my favorite spot onboard the ship. and the view from there was spectacular too. (⌒ω⌒)

So if you are interested, please visit the Solway Lass homepage, or they facebook page to find out more.

Lastly, here is a youtube video/slideshow I made from the trip, please let the HD version load for maximum effect ;)