A few key points to consider before we head off on the day.

Remember, any time you are out on the water the weather can change quickly! We recommend that regardless of the weather forecast you always bring a rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Wear comfortable shoes. Its not fun walking in those beautiful high heels on a moving boat deck! Regardless of how good the shoes look, you run the risk of looking less than steady on your feet! Think and plan ahead and give us the best chance to make sure we can do our thing to make sure you enjoy your time with us to the max!

What an absolutely beautiful weekend of deep sea fishing we had up here on the Sunshine Coast!

This Saturday started off with a full day (9 hour) deep sea fishing charter, with the majority of passengers being from a fishing club! Obviously our crew felt even more pressure to perform given this. The weather was a little worrisome to begin based on the forecasts, but as has been the case too regularly, BOM was well off track and it soon turned into the most beautiful day.  So much for the 80% chance of rain predicted!

A stunning morning as we head out to the Barwon Banks

The decision to head to the north end of the Barwon Banks proved correct, and we stayed there for the majority of the day as there was so much action. Our crew were kept super busy helping our guests in every way possible to get fish on and indeed off the hook.  With heaps of fish coming up, the day once again passed so quickly.  Fish species caught included: – Fusiliers,  Snapper, Tuckies, Pearl Perch,  Moses Perch,  Grassies and the usual huge heap of bream and whip-tail. All in all lots of action to keep everyone busy and entertained! A deep sea fishing trip that we all aspire to!

The crabbing side was not as successful.  It’s actually been a slow year in general for the crabs to date, but we did pull up, and couple of Spanner Crabs, as well as sea urchins and star fish!

An Okuma offshore Rod & Reel Combo was given away to the fishing group as part of our appreciation for booking with us and Brian was going to put it towards the club. Lots of smiles, high fives and thank you’s to our fabulous crew as they walked off with a bag full of quality fish.

Toby, giving Brian a Rod & Reel as a gift for booking the boat with SCA.

As part of our full day and longer deep sea fishing charters we always make sure our guests have plenty to eat. This includes an array of meats on our custom marine BBQ. Always a huge hit with all aboard!  Cakes, platters, fruit are available throughout the day so no one ever goes hungry on our charters. We enjoy watching satisfied customers sitting back in comfort on the way home after a full day of activity and food, taking in the beautiful day, fantastic coastline views, a few drinks and lots of stories to talk about.

Sunday mornings 5 hour deep sea fishing charter saw us head straight out towards Murphys before the sun rose. Murphy’s tends to work well at sunrise and sunset (Less so during the day we find) to hopefully take advantage of that.  Being just a  5 hour trip we need to make the most of the rather short amount of time available. These short deep sea fishing trips are always a lot more difficult to make as successful compared to trips with longer times of course. But (almost) everyone was successful in taking home fish on the trip. And one very large Amberjack was the reward for the early venture to Murphy’s. A couple of spanner crabs made sure nobody went home empty handed. These short trips are much more about the experience than about the result. In keeping with that our guests consisted of quite a few holiday makers, getting in before the busier period in a few weeks. The absolutely beautiful weather conditions and amazing water clarity didn’t help the cause on Sunday. Rougher weather always fishes better. But it was hard to imagine a nicer day out on the water!

Overall the weekend provided the most glorious weather we have had for a long time! The best place to be is on the water when it’s like that.  It was a bonus that the fish still “played the game” topping off a fab weekend of deep sea fishing!

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There have been some recent warnings about the Mooloolaba Bar crossing and how the sand has moved making navigation quite dangerous.  Apparently dredging is set to start on the 1st of June 2017.  For us all the hard work in getting our flybridge rebuilt is now paying off.  It allows us to steam out having full visibility ensuring the safety of our passengers, crew and vessel. As we head out before the sun rises, visibility can be difficult at the best of times, particularly in winter. Add in typically foggy boat windows and early morning surfers taking chances surfing right across the river mouth (without any way of being seen) and you can understand the benefit this has added to our operations! No doubt the added visibility will also be a huge bonus this whale watching season too! Not yet finished but at least operational, it has already become a key safety feature for us!

 

A lot of sanding, polishing, fiberglassing, and rewiring has gone into getting the flybridge up to modern standards and reliability. The dashboard part is now finished and the work remains on the deck and sides.

10 Key Things you need to consider to get the best from this Whale Season

At Sunshine Coast Afloat we have tried to make it easy for you to “Come, Stay & Play” on the Sunshine Coast, and in particular Mooloolaba this Whale Season  We ourselves have two very special Whale Watching options to choose from.  We can also organise accommodation, even pet friendly accommodation, recommend restaurants and other things to do during your stay.  Consider us your “One Stop Shop” for your next trip to Mooloolaba!

1. WHERE TO GO TO SEE THE WHALES?

There are obviously a large number of locations along the Southeast Coast of Australia every whale season that offer excellent whale watching opportunities. From land based lookouts on Stradbroke and Moreton Islands to the many and varied whale watching operators taking passengers out to see these amazing mammals. Mooloolaba, the pearl of the beautiful Sunshine Coast, is located approximately one hour north of Brisbane. One of the key advantages it has is recognition as the safest bar crossing between Brisbane and Gladstone.  This is important as it means direct access to the coral sea at all times, regardless of tides, and without the issues we so often see on the news about vessels in trouble during bar crossings. Mooloolaba has a natural bay shape, accentuated by the Northern tip of Morton Island and the Southern tip of Fraser Island. It creates a semi-protected area in which the seas tend to be a lot smoother and more comfortable. That is important for both the passengers on boats and the whales. A lot has been made over the years of the ideal conditions off Harvey Bay in its protected waters there. Mooloolaba is rapidly gaining a similar reputation for good reason. Add in the fact that you are as mention just a hour from Brisbane, and for people further afield can fly direct into the Sunshine Coast Airport. Sure, we are very biased on where to go, but when you take all factors into account Mooloolaba should be up very high on the list of best whale watching locations in Australia!

2. WHEN TO GO?

The most common question we get is ” from when to when is whale season?”. This obviously varies from location to location a bit, but we will start to have the odd whale sighting from the start of June on most years. These early sightings are both special and frustrating at the same time. The chance sightings (and they are really that, chance sightings only we feel) are always super exciting. But at the same time, the reason these whales are here early is because they after either faster or more in a hurry than the bulk of the pods. That tends to mean you will see them swimming but very rarely are they in a playful mood. And given the vastness of the bay it can be very difficult to actually find these small groups so early in the season. Many an early whale watching trip is spent searching without getting a satisfactory result for those aboard. For this reason Sunshine Coast Afloat generally do not start their season until the start of July. A full month later. Our view is that our customers have come for “Whale Watching” not Whale Searching”! The true bulk of whales are really here even later. August, September and even (Early to mid) October are usually the premium months for whale watching. We judge our season end on the number of whales in the area as we enter the 2nd half of October. With the increasing whale population, the end of the season is becoming later  each year, but generally speaking, November whale watching is very much the same as June whale watching, and not something we offer our customers. as such our season tends to finish at some point in October.

3. WHERE TO STAY?

Quality accommodation at Saltwater Villas on the Sunshine Coast

For Mooloolaba Whale Watching trips, we can certainly take the hassle out of finding accommodation for you. There are a myriad of accommodation options to choose from on the Sunshine Coast. Many located right in Mooloolaba giving you walking access to most things. Some are “Pet Friendly” as well. Depending on your needs just advise us if you need somewhere that can cater for families, or a couple or even singles.  Many offer massages and other forms of retreats as part of their accommodation packages. The Sunshine Coast is geared towards ensuring holidaymakers have more than just a room and bed to make their holiday special! We deal with most if not all accommodation providers and are happy to assist you with making the right choice.

4. WHICH BOAT OR COMPANY TO CHOOSE?

There are a few key points to consider when planning a whale watching trip. No doubt for some the key aspect will be the financial budget allocated for the experience. Mooloolaba has a number of operators offering whale watching and even swimming with the whales trips. Each operator has it own way of operating and this allows you to choose the one best suited to your personal preferences.  The more budget focused groups are catered for by Whale One in Mooloolaba. With a large vessel taking up to 120 people at a time they are able to offer prices smaller operators cannot match. At the other end of the spectrum is Sunreef’s swimming with the whales. Small group of 12 to 14 people, are fitted with wet suited and shark repelling electronic devices and accompanied by highly experienced dive masters on these very special trips. The much higher costs and care associated with such trips make this the upper end of the price market of course. At Sunshine Coast Afloat we offer a combination of the two. , or  We like to be able to offer you choice.

Sunshine Coast Afloat has 2 options for your Whale Watching tours! Cruisy and comfy and fast and fun!
  • “Whale Watching without the crowds” Small groups of no more than 23 people of a very large 55 foot ex commercial vessel – Crusader 1, with drinks and light snacks included, for a 3 hour whale watching cruise.

OR

  • “Extreme Whale Watching” even smaller groups of no more than 10 people for 2 hours on a high end, high speed,  jet boat, getting as close as possible to the water and the whales as possible without actually getting into the water!

Our whale watching trips are aimed and those looking for what we believe to be the best value for money in whale watching. Maximum comfort, the best possible service, and unobstructed “rail side” viewing positions at all times, close to the water. We believe this is as close as you can get to a private whale watching tour without the high cost that that would otherwise cost you. Whale watching is special, regardless of whether is the first time you do it or if it’s a regular outing for you. We feel that either way you should have a high quality experience that provides fantastic memories!

5. HOW TO BOOK?

With Sunshine Coast Afloat all you need do is choose which trip option you think suits best, then what method is your preference. You can book directly with the us online, or if you prefer the more personal touch simply phone us ( 0412 155 814 ). Either method is designed to be easy and comprehensive. You will receive an online email confirmation of the booking, and the day prior to the tour a reminder SMS. Both have all relevant information on times and locations. Give yourself time to head out. by that we mean if you take a break of 4 days, don’t leave your whale watching trip to the last minute. If weather forces that trip to be cancelled you have left yourself no option for an alternative trip. We recommend booking for as early as possible in your trip. That way you can always move things around should mother nature not cooperate with your initial planning! Whale watching is done out on the ocean which can be unpredictable. Give yourself flexibility in days and times to account for that. No operator likes to cancel any trip, but its about your safety, comfort a enjoyment after all!

6. WHAT TO WEAR?

Comfortable clothing is key. We do recommend layered clothing, after all, it’s winter and that means it can get cold quite quick. But this is the Sunshine Coast, and warm sunny days are still the norm in winter. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun as you will want to be grabbing that rail side view.  If you are heading out on Hela-Va Jet getting rugged up is not so important as you are in an enclosed vessel with a lot of glass for part of your journey. And even when the doors are open you are still very much protected. The whales can often get REALLY close, and their blow spray can get you! Its both wet and a bit smelly! No one ever complains at the time, but if you are wearing that brand new expensive outfit, it may be less funny the next day! Keep that in mind.

7. WHAT TO PACK?

Obviously a camera is an absolute must. We always love to see our guests photo’s so a share by social media or email is fabulous! A hat and sunscreen is always a good idea. There is sunscreen aboard our vessels, but it may not be your preferred brand or kind. Pack a light coat as well. Wind out on the water in winter can be surprisingly chilly at times! And finally sunglasses (ideally polarised). Good sunglasses will pay for themselves in one trip when whale watching. Whales are big, really big. So there is a lot of the whale under the water regardless of what they are doing. Good glasses let you see so much more! But have a strap so that if they fall they stay around your neck and not on the bottom of the ocean….

8. SEASICKNESS PREVENTION

If you are heading out on the water we ALWAYS recommend taking motion sickness tablets.  It doesn’t matter if you have never been sea sick before. Some of the world’s best skippers still get sea sick from time to time! Whale watching means you are focused on a much more detailed area than you would be just cruising. This can sometimes make people normally fine feel very queasy very quickly. Sea sickness is no fun. It will really ruin a great trip very quickly. For the sake of taking a couple of natural motion supplements such as Kwells, Travacalm or the like it really isn’t worth the risk. Check with your pharmacist for their opinion of the most effective prevention, and we highly recommend you take one or two the evening prior to your trip, and one or two more just before boarding. That way it’s in your system and we find it has by far the best results.

9. BE PREPARED

Our crew/staff are extremely knowledgeable about the vast majority of available information regarding humpback whales, and are there to assist you. However, it’s always good to know a few basic facts about Humpback Whales so you can tell your kids, ask more questions, and generally appreciate and enjoy these magnificent animals more so. One easy way is to simply follow our blogs during the season. We will be providing heaps of  interesting and often amazing information about these marvellous mammals.

10. Have fun

One of our mantra’s at Sunshine Coast Afloat is “Whale Watching is a team effort“. By that we mean that these stunning animals are for the most part under water, and can be difficult to initially spot. 20 sets of eyes are far more effective in spotting them than just the 2 sets of our crews! Keep an eye out and shout out if you think you have spotted something! The quicker we find them the more time we are able to spend watching and enjoying them. Remember, there are only a few of you aboard and the more we help each other the more fun we all have! OUr goal is to give you the best possible experience. Your “job” is to help us make that possible!

Sunshine Coast ESS Training Assistance

Crusader 1 and our team here at Sunshine Coast Afloat recently had the pleasure of assisting a bunch of great guys from Hall Engineering out into the Mooloolaba Bay to participate in the practical component of their Elements of Shipboard Safety (ESS) course with Sea School.

This course qualifies a person to work as a deckhand on a commercial vessel. It is also a prerequisite for anyone applying for a certificate of competency as Master/Skipper or Engineer of a commercial vessel.

It is also suitable for anyone who is embarking upon a career at sea and participants include recreational boat owners, volunteer crew, sailing club members, competitive sailors, and is a compulsory OHS unit for GPH Deckhands, Coxswains, Engineers and Masters.

The knowledge gained from doing this sort of course is valuable even if you own a boat or partake in boating just in a recreational sense on a regular basis.

The course includes face-to-face teaching in the classroom as well as demonstrations putting on a life jacket, use of the EPIRB, safety equipment checks, crew drills, how to use a fire extinguisher and line handling basics, and the essentials in the grab bag. Understanding the key safety elements aboard commercial (and hopefully recreational) vessels are looking at in exact detail. Possibly even more essential is the practical experience gained which is obviously of massive benefit should an emergency ever arise out at sea. Even the more simple areas such as abandoning ship with a life jacket on are covered.

Michael demonstrates stepping off a vessel and entering the water with a life jacket.

During the in-water sea survival drills and tasks, the trainer will activate a real life raft and you will be involved in many exercises relating to abandon ship scenarios. This may all look and appear like fun judging by the smiles on everyone’s faces, but it certainly has its challenges as anyone would contest to that has had to climb into a life raft at sea.

How Intelligent are Humpback Whales?

Although we cannot get close enough to Humpback whales to see if we can teach or train them like other animals such as dogs. Or for instance how we can teach birds to talk, and dolphins and seals to do tricks. We know monkeys able very much able to learn. All of that aside, we do think Whales are smart because of what we do know of them: –

1. Humpback Whales have large brains

Whales, (Sperm Whale) not people, have the biggest brains of any animal on earth.

The adult sperm whale brain is 8,000 cubic centimetres. Our brain is about 1300 cubic centimetres.

Scientists compared a humpback whale brain with brains from several other cetacean species and found the presence of a certain type of neuron cell that is also found in humans.

They found that the humpback cerebral cortex, the part of the brain where thought processes take place, was similar in complexity to animals such as dolphins.

2. Humpback Whales communicate really well through their body language

It is believed that whale communication is one of the most sophisticated forms of communication among all animal species.

Whales use their body language and display behaviours to communicate their wants, needs and intentions to each other.  Breaching, tail slapping and the like are all signs of playfulness or communicating to other whales that there is danger.

Gestures show compassion, nurture, dominance and curiosity. Whales have been observed lightly rubbing against or bumping other whales in their pod.

These light physical gestures are believed to be a form of nurture or intimacy among whales and can sometimes be seen when a mother is caring for her young or when two adult whales are performing a mating.

3. Humpback Whales can actually show emotion

Much like humans, whales are playful. This can often be seen when they breach for a group of humans who are whale watching. Are whales smart enough to perform on cue? Well, it can look like they are showing off!  They can also often be seen touching and nurturing their babies or a mate in a gentle way.

Evidence suggests that whales have a complex brain structure for complex function, that they often live in complex societies, that they are capable of experiencing a range of emotions.

4. Humpback Whales can sing

Only male humpbacks sing.  Both males and females communicate by sound.

They have at least 34 different variations of sounds to communicate. Many of the sounds are of very low frequency and are out of our range. These sounds travel kilometres underwater, and can be heard above the surface as well. Each type of sound means something different and they amazingly understand each other.

Whale songs evolve throughout the mating season and each year the song is a little different.  As the theme changes the group pick up and incorporate this into the current sequence. This is one of the mysteries of the animal world.

Humpback whales sing as they are travelling along the Australian coastline.  It was originally thought that they were stationary when singing but this is not the case.

5. Humpback Whales protect & save other species

Scientists are noticing that humpback whales are going out of their way to save other marine species from orcas.  They are not sure if it is intentional or an unselfish act brought on by self-interest.  Some scientists have witnessed humpbacks intervening in orca hunts to save other mammals many times – 115 to date to be exact – that they now suggest the protective behaviour could be ingrained in the whales, though no one is completely sure why.

Scientists are still a long way from understanding these magnificent creatures.

Closer to home: –Humpbacks and high-Rises is an independent not for profit research organisation dedicated to the research and protection of whales and dolphins in south-east Queensland, Australia. We focus our research and adaptation strategies on coastal impacts caused by urbanisation for the benefits of marine mammals and our coastal community. 

 

 

The first Humpback whales have been sighted, on their way north to the Sunshine Coast!

Whale Watching out of Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast, approximately one hour north of Brisbane, is rapidly becoming the go-to-place to interact with Humpback whales.  It offers several different types of whale watching options. Mooloolaba in particular caters from attracting the masses on Whale One to the intimate, small group options offered by us at Sunshine Coast Afloat.  And of course it is also the hub of “swimming with the whales” with Sunreef Mooloolaba.  There are just so many options to choose from, all so close to Brisbane.

Our trips are based on the experience we work hard on to be able to give our guests. Small passenger numbers with almost everything included in the price. The complete goal is to provide extremely intimate, almost private, tours with personalised service. The small passenger numbers enables us to ensure all customers always enjoy rail-side viewing of the whales, and of course other marine life.

At Sunshine Coast Afloat we offer two different ways to experience the thrill of whale watching:

  1. a relaxing cruise with no more than 22 other passengers on one of the largest charter vessels on the Sunshine Coast,
  2. or if you are more inclined for fast and exhilarating fun, head out on Hela-Va Jet which only takes 10 people.

2016 was an amazing whale watching season. So much so that we are now all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the whales here on the Sunshine Coast this year. A few have already been spotted in NSW, and given that, it will be only a few weeks before we will start to see them up here. In very small numbers at first, but it is always so special to see the first, obviously keen, whales heading North! For us these first whales are almost always spotted on our deep sea fishing charter trips. They certainly add a lot of excitement to the lucky passengers aboard on those trips! One mind-blowingly amazing trip, which the whales made unbelievably special, in 2016 was an ashes scattering ceremony. A ver special and emotional send off I am sure the family will always remember with great fondness because of the whales presence that day!

Two large Humpback Whales playing alongside Crusader 1
Whale Watching action on Crusader 1 in 2016

In the past five years, the number of humpback whales making the journey north from their feeding grounds in Antarctica to the warmer tropical waters of the Pacific to breed has risen from 18,000 to more than 22,000. It is estimated that we are looking at around 25,000 humpbacks this year. More whales mean more pods travelling closer together, more social interactions, antics and action for us to all see and enjoy.

Humpback whales travel from their feeding grounds in Antarctica, past New Zealand, through the Tasman Sea, towards Sydney and up to north Queensland where they begin popping up for people to see. This round-trip is about 12,000 kilometres. The Humpback whales migrate north between May and August.  The whales and calves then make the return journey south between August and November.  The best time to see these majestic creatures off the Sunshine Coast is between July to end of October. The warmer waters allow juveniles, who are born without blubber for insulation, to mature before dealing with the icy southern water.

Sunshine Coast Afloat commence our Whale Watching trips once we are confident there are large enough number of whales around. This as we want to make sure, as best we can of course, that this is a whale watching trip and not a “whale searching” trip.  This does mean we start later than, and finish earlier than most other whale watching operators. Other operators usually start in early June, which can be as much as 4 to 6 weeks earlier. Our other charter operation allow us to closely monitor the number of whales sightings on a daily basis. We believe that this is the best way to set a start date. These earl sightings in NSW ma well see us begin a little earlier this ear as well. Fingers crossed! Either wa this blog will always keep you up to date with where we are at.

Some of the interesting facts about these fascinating creatures:

  • The average weight of an adult Humpback whale is 45 tonnes, which is about 1000 children together
  • An average length of 13 to 17 metres which is about 10 adults lying head to foot.
  • The average lifespan is between 45 – 50 years
  • Adult Whales can hold their breath under water for over half an hour
  • An expelled breath or ‘blow’ that reaches a speed of between 300 – 500 kilometres per hour as it exists through the blowhole.
  • The Humpback Whale has two blow holes, one for each lung. Each of its lungs is the size of a small car.
  • Humans identify different whales is by their tails. Each whale has different characteristics, just like our fingerprints!
  • The Humpback Whale has no teeth instead they have baleen plates, that acts like a giant sieve!
  • They also have little or no sense of smell or taste
  • They do have very sensitive skin that is easily sunburned
  • Remarkable eyes with strong muscles that change the shape of the lens so they can see in the air or underwater.
  • Their eye the size of a grapefruit
  • Incredible hearing ranging over many kilometres for navigation, communication and finding food
  • Pectoral fins that are ten times longer than your arm
  • They have a Belly Button as well.
  • Calves that are fed daily over 400 litres of rich milk which is the consistency of condensed cream

START PLANING YOUR WHALE WATCHING EXPERIENCE NOW SO YOU AREN’T DISAPPOINTED.

 We are family owned and operated, but we also ensure our crew are experienced, dedicated and knowledgeable. They enjoy sharing their passion and are always happy to help and give you the best experience possible.

Sound interesting?  Click Here to book or make an enquiry.

 

 

Like the idea of a cruise with a difference?

We hope to, with this blog post explain, why you should have your next adventure with us, at Sunshine Coast Afloat.

Simply put, if you love the sun, salt and sea then look no further than Sunshine Coast Afloat!

For starters, if anyone knows a good time it’s our team! We have extremely experienced guides and state of the art equipment – this combination leads to the ultimate, enjoyable way to see the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Together with this we offer an amazing range of water-based activities, all of which can be modified according to the conditions of the day. And every budget is catered for! We offer deep sea fishing & crabbing charters, whale watching, ocean jet boat thrill rides, bucks and hens parties, guided kayak fishing tours, coastline & canal cruises, water taxi services and much much more!!

To give you a taste of exactly what to expect when booking, we’ve received some great feedback from just one of our amazing recent experiences – A bucks cruise that took place on Saturday 25th March 2017.

The boys that booked this adventure brought along their surfboards, drinks and a massive breakfast cook up – things that are all encouraged when booking with us at Sunshine Coast Afloat. Toby and Rob were the skippers that looked after the boys on this trip. Touring them around Mooloolaba and even taking care of the breakfast cook-up so the boys could make the most of the surf! Each and every party can be catered the way you want, with this one really focusing on the boys and just having the best and most chilled out day possible! They had such a great time they are considering making it an annual outing!!

Cooking a Breakfast Feast on the BBQ on Crusader 1.
Cooking a Breakfast Feast on the BBQ on Crusader 1.

Another great thing about Sunshine Coast Afloat is that if you have an idea, just ask us and we will find a way to make it work! We pride ourselves on finding ways to organise and alter the trip the way you wish; whether that’s bringing your own music, drinks, food ect. We want you to have the most memorable day, so we will go to all lengths to make this happen!

Another recent review after a fishing charter:

“We had an excellent experience with Sunshine Coast Afloat! Not only would we recommend them to others but we would happily go again. The staff were super helpful and happy to chat and get amongst the people. Great knowledge of fish and awesome enthusiasm! Personally what impressed me the most was the attention to safety and the pride they took in keeping the boat clean”

Felicity Tripp 2017 (Google Review).

Sunshine Coast Afloat were the winners of the 2014 Sunshine Coast Business Awards, and runners up in 2015! It was a privilege to receive the top prize and realise our efforts and promises were paying off!

We will do everything possible to ensure you will have an amazing time!

We are getting ready for the 2017 Overnight Fishing trips!

Been thinking about how you could do something very different this winter for your fishing trip? Here at Sunshine Coast Afloat we have been experimenting with 18 hour overnight charters for the last few years. I say experimenting because it does take a lot of effort to get such long trips exactly right. Weather, locations, passenger and crew numbers, departure and return times, even the supplies needed on such trips needed are all key components that we have over that time tweaked, changed and improved upon over that time. The reason for this extreme effort? Because these trips are REALLY SPECIAL. To us as well as our customers! They are the trips we do not want to take any chances on. The trips which we want our customers to know that every aspect has been put under a microscope for, all with the focus of ensuring it is as close to perfect, for them, as any outdoor activity can get to!

One of the additions this year is simple. Advance booking notice to our regular customers and those that have requested the dates when available. That email was sent to everyone a few days ago. On Monday (3rd April) the dates will go live.

Another, much bigger change, is the manner in which we are now using the moon cycles and trip options. Because we have learnt that the weather forecasts HAVE to be stating perfect conditions for these trips (No room for guessing/hoping), which of course means that we have a very large percentage of these trips being cancelled due to weather, We have this year set 4 trips per month. 3 to 4 days before the Full Moon, 3 to 4 days After the Full Moon, and then as a backup, the same time frames for the NEW MOON in the same month. We hope that this will stop the “no charter this month” situation we found ourselves in so often last year. The reality is that we will work on one trip a month still, but have up to 3 alternative time frames in most cases should the weather forecasts not align perfectly for the main dates.

Another major change is the onboard equipment for cooking. We tried a normal marine BBQ – too small. We tried a full size “normal” outdoor BBQ – too unreliable in the conditions out on the ocean. All in all the only real option was to have a custom made marine BBQ. One made for marine conditions, but in a size that allows us to cook for 12 people in comfort and without sacrificing anything!:

 

As well as this, we are in the process of upgrading our fishing tackle (again). Although we will remain loyal to our main gear as supplied by Rapala for the Okuma Reels (overhead and Spin), we have recently started testing the newest releases they have available. So far so good, but these much stronger reels have shown some issues with the rods we have been using for the last 2 years. As such we are currently in the process of testing a higher quality range of rods to make sure that if you wish to use our tackle on any of our trips (you are more than welcome to bring your own on our charters!) you can be assured that you will be using premium gear!

There are a few more changes that both have been made and that are in the process of being made, but more on those in other posts!

Does this type of trip sound interesting? You can find more detail on them here: OVERNIGHT FISHING TRIPS

Want an email on the dates? Just fill in the form on the right hand side of the product page, email us via [email protected] or call us on 0402 625 825  We are here to help!!

 

The Christmas Lights in Mooloolaba are set to shine again!

December is always a magical time of the year in Mooloolaba. So many of the home owners put up amazing Christmas light displays which are only able to be seen from the water. And of course, every year we have the Mooloolaba Boat Parade with many boats all decorated in the Christmas spirit. The river and canals tend to be fully lined with people watching these wonderful displays sailing past them.

At Sunshine Coast Afloat we are almost finished putting our new Christmas lights display on the Jet Boat as well. This year, for the first time, we have entered Hela-Va Jet into the Christmas lights parade as well. We have opened this up to our customers to be part of, so if you want to be aboard one of the vessels in this very special parade, give us a call. We still have seats available!

And of course, we will be running the 1-and-a-half-hour Christmas light cruises every night during December (excluding Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) as well. Remember, we can get into those smaller canals where larger vessels just cannot go. You really do get to see the very best of these wonderfull displays!

christmas-lights-04

We hope to see you aboard soon!

It seems like a LONG time since we have had truly pleasant conditions on a weekend. For the last 5 months the swell has averaged close to the 1.7m mark and winds have averaged around the 18 knot mark! Tough conditions for anyone heading out deep sea! But the forecast for this weekend looks near perfect for deep sea fishing!! :

Sunshine-Coast-Weather-Forecast-for the 27-Nov-2016

The reason I have only put up Sunday’s forecast is because we are already fully booked on both trips for the Saturday, and I would hate to give anyone a false impression that they could still get a spot on one of those trips. However, as is common this time of year so close to the school holidays, Sundays trip is only half full! Just the one trip at this point. a 5Hr charter in what are forecast to be the best conditions of the entire weekend! I honestly cannot recall the last time I have seen a forecast stating “Smooth seas, and add in just 7 knots of wind!!  Should prove to be a lovely time out on the ocean!

We are heading out, so if you think this sounds like a trip you want to be a part of give us a call or book online ( Click here for the 5Hr page on our site ). We would love to have you aboard!

It’s that time of year again when Spanner Crabbing will be closed from midnight November 20 until midnight December 20th, 2016. We thought it appropriate to tell you a little about Spanner Crabs that may interest you.

The purpose for the closure is to protect the spanner crabs during their breeding season when they are most vulnerable. The closure gives the crabs a chance to spawn and helps replenish crab stocks. Spanner Crabs are also known as the Frog Crab or Red Frog Crab. The first/front legs are “spanner” shaped and the rest are flattened and have numerous short bristles. The spanner crab’s body colour varies from orange to red. Spanner Crabs prefer bare sandy areas.  They remain completely buried in the sand for most of the day, but they emerge rapidly when food appears.  Sharks and turtles feed on spanner crabs. Both often take advantage of crabs being caught in nets.Spanner Crabs are found around most of the Australian coast from NSW north to southern WA. On the East coast of Australia spanner crabs don’t seem to like to go much further south than Coffs Harbour, and they don’t go much further north than 1770, so typically the main area’s are in pristine unpolluted waters from the top end of Fraser Island to Mooloolaba. They are caught commercially, mainly using dillies, but also as a by-catch of Prawn trawling, off southern Queensland and northern NSW. Mooloolaba currently exports Spanner Crab to Japan, China, Hong Kong, and New Zealand.

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A crab’s growth isn’t continuous, but from a series of moults that happen when it reaches the size of its current shell. Moulting is triggered by hormones. A new ‘cuticle’ (hard protective layer) is secreted under the old shell. The crab rapidly absorbs water, splitting its shell along suture lines, then backs out of the old shell. Substances stored within the crab’s body are rapidly redeposited to harden the new cuticle into a larger shell. The fluid in the body is replaced with meat during a period when the crab feeds voraciously.

Amazing how nature works!  We hope the crabs spawn well and we get a good season next year.

 

The Sunshine Coast Food Trail was launched by famed Sunshine Coast chef, Peter Kuruvita, at an event at Mooloolaba’s Rockliff Seafoods recently.  There local spanner crabs are featured on Peter’s new SBS TV program ‘Coastal Kitchen’. Visit Sunshine Coast have a new interactive website, which we are part of, that enables visitors to create their own personalised food trail taking in the region’s best producers, markets, restaurants, cooking schools, events, wineries and brewers.

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