It was certainly a busy and eventful week last week.  We were luck enough to still have that beautiful weather with us to end winter – what winter I say.  I only recall turning the heather on twice.  She was certainly mild, not that I’m complaining.

Thank you to all that have embraced our Whale Watching trips this season so far.  We have taken a dramatic leap in the number of trips we have been able to do so far and the word is getting out that we can offer a guaranteed rail side viewing so when you do see those whales, you can take all the pictures you want.  We are finding the Humpback Whales are still out a lot wider than they usually are for this time of the year so there are certainly some changes occurring.  We are now in full Whale Watching swing – 2 months to go and we are now seeing the whales in closer than they were a couple of weeks ago so from here on in is the time to really enjoy getting out there.

We have also been doing our half day – 5 hour deep sea fishing charters.  Caloundra State high School joined us on an excursion during the week.  It was nice to see so many international students really engaging and loving the experience.  Firstly a fishing and Spanner Crabbing charter, then off for a bit of lunch and then a tour of the Tuna factory and trawlers.  A great way to spend your day at school. Lots of questions were asked about sustainability and to be able to speak to people who have been working in the industry for years is valuable knowledge.

We were also lucky enough to have a corporate charter so we did a big cook up for breakfast.  Later in the day it was a hens cruise – always nice having the girls on board singing and dancing and enjoying themselves.

Finished off the weekend with another Whale Watching trip – loving it!

If you are interested in any of our activities, please either phone Paddy on 0412 155 814 or check out our website

 

 

 

We finally had a full weekend of great fishing and weather conditions.

We did a “Mega Day” – 11 hour fishing trip on Saturday.  Not a trip we do often.  It was great to see a lot of our regulars on board and after the mid week flare up of weather, it gave for some good fishing out wide.

A great variety of fish on board ranging from a nice big Tusky, Tea Leaf Travalley, Wrasse, Moses Perch, Banana Fish and a beautiful Clown Fish which obviously went back.

Poor Zoe nearly had a fit when a Crested Tern, that is a bird for all you fisho’s, got tangled in Tony’s fishing line.  It was all hands on deck to save this poor little thing.  Zoe nurtured him to recovery, mind you I think he was happy nestled into Zoe’s chest while recovering but soon after releasing him a Booby bird tried to attack him but that soon sent him off.

Our usual Dolphin visit is always a bonus.

Sunday was a small 5 hour fishing charter – lovely conditions out on the water with a lot of Happy Moments coming up, more than we’ve seen in a long time.  A few (just) undersized Snapper were caught but a few of the passengers managed to hook a nice Grassy Sweet Lip and a good size Mowong.  Slightly frustrating as it was clear from the sounder information that the area was solid with good sized fish under the boat!

It was nice to see some women on board and Julie hooked up a nice Trigger Fish

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We have seen our first whales for the season this weekend!

We were out on the water on Saturday for over 10 hours and saw ONE whale and again on Sunday and saw TWO whales.

2 early Humpback whales spotted off the Sunshine Coast near the Barwon Banks on the 3rd June 2018.

We’re getting excited as we all know that the humpback whales are on their way, and we are gearing up for a bumper season.

At this stage we will start our whale season on July 1st, but if we see them appearing in volume beforehand we will let you know.

Why wait till July? Mainly because we really want to be whale watching, not “whale searching“!

It is a big ocean out there and with small numbers of whales it can often be difficult if not impossible to find them within the time allocation for a whale trip. Our aim is to give our guests an experience they can remember forever. Sailing about looking for whales may be memorable, but not for the right reasons!

If you a looking for an “intimate”, almost private whale watching trip, with lots of interaction and everything included – we offer two options.

  • Crusader 1 –  takes a maximum of 23 passengers – 3 hours
  • Hela-Va Jet –  takes a maximum of 10 passengers – 2 hours

Both trips guarantee you a rail side position with uninterrupted views of these amazing animals. And with an estimated 30,000+ humpback whales expected to migrate from Antartica along the Queensland coastline this year (a far cry from near-extinction caused by whaling not that long ago) numbers are increasing by between 10 and 15% year on year. These increases in numbers are becoming very much more noticeable each year now.

The journey from south to north is one of the longest migrations in the world and we would love to share this magical experience with you.

It was always believed that the whales gave birth once they were well up north in calm protected waters.  We are now seeing more whales having their babies along the way.  The question now is, how far up the coast will they travel with their calf before heading back.

This year we are excited to have “Humpbacks & High Rises” whale research on board to try and find out more about these magnificent creatures.

Generally speaking, over the last years, the absolute best time for whale watching has been  August through October.

Get in early and book your seat on Crusader 1 or Hela-Va Jet.

 

Make your Sunshine Coast Holidays even more fun!

If you are visiting the Sunshine Coast for a holiday, or maybe you have family and friends visiting. To see and show the Sunshine Coast at it’s best, you need to check out some of the fun marine activities we have on offer. Whether you are after something relaxing, fun, adrenaline pumping, romantic, family orientated, by yourself or with a group,  we have something that will suit all occasions.

Whale Watching

We can offer you two types of Whale Watching.  Some fast, fun action getting out to the whales quicker but no need for bulky life jackets and you don’t get wet!  Hela-Va Jet is one of only 3 in Australia. A very unique machine.  We open the doors as we get closer to the whales so you can enjoy being close to the water and amongst it all.

Our other vessel – Crusader 1 is a 3 hour cruise on our 55 ft vessel.  Enjoy the open deck where you can move around easily and have a rail side view at all times – ready for that photo moment.  We only take a maximum of 22 passengers – so no crowds!

For more information on our very special whale watching tours have a read HERE.

Deep Sea Fishing

We offer Deep Sea fishing and Spanner Crabbing charters ranging from 5 hrs – 18 hour over-night trips.    These trips are great for the family, individuals or groups.  This time of the year there is lots to see out on the water – Dolphins, Turtles, Whales along with the Spanner Crabs and fish.

Ocean Jet Boating

Enjoy the thrill of a roller coaster on the water but you don’t get wet.  This ride includes all the usual tricks and turn you would experience on a calm water jet boat ride but you are out in the ocean to enjoy the coastline.  If there is swell we will even ride the waves.  You don’t get wet nor do you have to wear life jackets so it’s about sitting back enjoying the music and thrills.

Guided Kayak Fishing Tours

Another great adventure for the family.  Our guide will take you up in amongst the estuaries where boats can’t get to and teach you about kayak fishing, or simply enjoy being out on the water with the family.  The tours are great if the swell is too high in the ocean.

Romantic or fun Cruises for Two or more

We offer various types fo cruises from private two person trips complete with a picnic all all conducted in our beautiful waterways, to group cruises for up to 23 of your closest friends and family.  Check out our Facebook page for the latest trips we have done to get an idea.  All our cruises are adapted to completely suit your needs. All you need do is select your cruise, a picnic and swim – we can assist with your request.

With all the erratic weather we have been having over the last five months, we were, once again, having to cancel our fishing charters but the decision was made to head out with our local Bird Watchers last Sunday.

The winds were blowing from the south-east at 15-18 knots with gusts up to 20-22 knots. The swell refused to ease off all day but this hardy group headed out some 23 nautical miles offshore looking for some bird activity and more impressively, stayed out the whole time as well.

Some of the bird life spotted were there Brown Booby, a Red-footed Booby, Providence Petrel and a Grey-faced Petrel which I believe is not common for the Sunshine Coast area.

See the full report from Greg Roberts – http://sunshinecoastbirds.blogspot.com/2018/05/sunshine-coast-pelagic-may-2018.html

We are hoping to get some better conditions for the group on their next trip, which is this weekend but again, I don’t think we are in luck.

Surely the weather on the Sunshine Coast has to settle soon.

 

 

 

 

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!!

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!

This winter, the Sunshine Coast is anticipating the arrival of record numbers of whales into its waters. Between May and November, more than 20,000 Humpback Whales are expected to pass our shores, looking to make Queensland’s warm waters their temporary mating and birthing ground.

Whilst the Humpback whales are by far the most frequently sighted species, if you search hard enough, you may just be lucky enough to spot one of these other fascinating beasts!

ORCAS

Orcas prey on humpback whales, and are happy to travel long distances to areas where their prey is most abundant. With the large numbers of humpback whales visiting the Sunshine Coast’s waters, it’s only natural that orcas too would be attracted to the area. So look beyond the humpbacks, and you may spot a pod of orcas lurking nearby!

DWARF MINKE WHALES

Dwarf minke whales migrate along Australia’s East Coast annually, before gathering at Northern Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef for a few months over winter. Smaller than the humpback, they are distinguished by their unique colourings, particularly its white pectoral flippers with black edging.

These whales will be passing through the Sunshine Coast between June and August, so you may get lucky and spot one on your whale watching tour!

SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE

The rarest of the four, the Southern Right Whale is currently considered endangered. However the good news is, their population is on the rise, and so too are sightings! They follow a similar migration pattern of the humpback and dwarf minke, visiting the Sunshine Coast’s warm waters over the winter months for mating and giving birth.

These playful and inquisitive animals have been known to swim right up to boats to check out what’s going on. They also like to put on a show with mum and baby performing acrobatics for amazed whale watchers!

Keep your eyes peeled whilst your out on your whale watching adventure, and you may just be lucky enough to spot all four!

 

What a weekend just past!
Finally a really good break in the weather enabling us to get our guests out!
The results were excellent as we certainly had some great trips.
The cyclones started to impact us as far back as on New Years day, and basically continued to play havoc until Early April (Yes, that’s a touch over 3 full months!), we lost a massive part of the normal summer fishing time.
Our first trip out immediately showed we were already into the changeover to the Winter species.
Not that that is all bad, but the Summer pelagics are always exciting fish to hook!
All in all a mixed bag of fish species caught by the end of the weekend.
A few excellent school Jewfish (aka Mulaway), a lot of Red Emperor (sadly most JUST under the limit), Tusk fish, Parrot fish, Snapper, Cobia, a lot of Red Throat Emperor, and the normal reef fish such as Cod, Pearl Perch, Gold Spot Wrasse, Banana Fish etc. We even hooked a few Coral trout and a Nanoguy! Not a common fish for our region at all!
Just a selection of the fish caught this weekend.
The weekend started off with a 5 hr sunset charter. The forecasts were borderline so we changed it to a sunset charter to get the best of the weather.
Luckily we had picked it right, and it was a good fun trip.
Jamie had a bit of a Bucks get together with some of his interstate mates that could not make the main celebration.
A few others joined the charter & there was some good fishing.
Some of the action as the sun set on the 12th April
Friday was a corporate outing with a great bunch of guys from the Cleveland area.
This charter was a Full 9hr day out at The Barwon Banks. And, like the 5hr it ended up with another lot of good fish on board. Have to say, some of these guys could really fish! 🎣 🐟 🐠
Overall just an excellent day out on the water, with a nice BBQ lunch, some great Fishing, and one lucky person walking away with a rod & reel combo compliments of Sunshine Coast Afloat.
Saturday also started with a 5 hr sunrise charter. It’s worth noting that now that the mornings are getting darker we are seeing some spectacular sunrises.
It seems that the fish must be hungry from the extended period of bad weather as we managed another number of beauties being caught on this trip as well.
Michael had organised this for their Bucks party celebration (well, the start of it I guess) and seeing as they had the boat to themselves they  decided to have a great big cook up breaky – bacon, eggs & hash browns. Certainly hit the spot we were told!
Some of the action on the 5hr Charter on the 13th April.
A quick clean up & turn around for a 2 hr cruise which turned out to be another Bucks celebration.
A 2hr Bucks Party cruise
After that we headed off to the back canals to pick up a Hens group. They had rented a canal-front house for the occasion, so instead of them coming to us to board, we went and picked them up from the pontoon attached to the property! Talk about door to door service!! I do wonder what the neighbours thoughts seeing the 55 foot Crusader 1 coming in to moor up at the property! These girls certainly knew how to party. Lots of singing, dancing & screaming.
On Sunday we had yet again another 5 hr (half day) charter to begin with. Luckily once again the Fishing was good. And on this trip his we even managed to get a few Spanner Crabs as well.
Some of the fish caught on the 5hr Charter on Sunday morning April 15
The final trip of the weekend was Sunday afternoon when we finished off with an 80th birthday celebration. Another absolutely lovely bunch of guests. They too incorporated a BBQ lunch, while they enjoyed a beautiful day out on the water with  with family & friends.
All in all  simply a fantastic few days.
We can only hope the weather and this pace continues!

A FREE Rod & Reel for Christmas? Thats right! Summer is on it’s way, and so is Christmas – only about 5 weeks to go as I am writing this!  At Sunshine Coast Afloat, we want to make sure you are set for the best Christmas holiday season yet! Fishing is pretty much the national pastime for Australians. (Well, probably almost every human on the planet!). And we know that as much as we would all love to head out every weekend (on one of our charters of course! ) that is neither realistic or possible.

So if you are looking at heading out over the Christmas holidays we want to make sure you are rewarded! How? Well, as a small local business we need your help to get as many people heading out with us. Be it on Crusader 1 or on our Kayaks. The more the merrier! And if you can help us with that we will help you to keep fishing even when you can’t jump aboard with us!

So now is the time to organise that group of guys (and gals) and book a Fishing Charter on Crusader 1. Get a group of 7 or more together and we will GIVE you, the organiser, a free, brand new, Offshore Rod and reel. Yep, your to keep (or give away if you are feeling like Santa). Retail value of over $100.00

Got way more than 7 People? Get your group size to 14 or more and you actually get go FREE!  Get to a group of 19, and the entire boat is just your group.  You still get the Rod and Reel AND you get to have up to 21 people come on for no extra cost. Thats 3 free of charge (You should be one of them of course!)

A couple of happy campers receiving their free offshore Rod and Reel sets from Sunshine Coast Afloat.

Got an offshore rod n Reel already? Well, how about a japanese made estuary spinning rod designed specifically for kayak fishing? That’s right, you can walk away with a super high quality Japanese Rod and reel set worth well of $140.00 by coming out kayak fishing on one of our Guided Kayak Fishing tours! And in this case its not just you that gets the gear. Everyone in your group does! AND you only need 4 or more people to get this happening! 4 hours of fun and expert assistance on how to get the most out of your kayak fishing.

Another group having a great time on a 4hr Guided Kayak Fishing tour.
(Free Rod and Reel available for direct bookings only. Not available for bookings made via 3rd Party agents and or sites)

Choose your experience for some of the best Whale Watching of the year.

With the Sunshine coast whale watching season closing at the end of the month it surprises some people to know that there is in fact often no better time  for some truly amazing whale encounters. The number of whales in September and October, heading back to the antarctic waters, is simply astounding. And so many of them have of course their new family additions swimming alongside them. (and the calves are usually so playful too!).

In fact this time of year you will often get the chance to spend time with a number of different pods. Some in groups of 5 or more together.

Why Choose Sunshine Coast Afloat for your whale watching?

When choosing who to whale watch with there are a number of operators  and vessels on the sunshine coast. From the biggest and most well known operators of Whale One and Croc one down to the smallest with Set Sail Cruises or Hella-va-jet. This now give visitors (and locals) to Mooloolaba a much better range of operators to choose from for their experience with the whales.  Every operator is different. These differences will range from the type and size of vessel, to the actual way you get to interact with the whales. Some of the larger vessels will take up to 120 passengers on a trip, and then with the smaller vessels as little as 5. Smaller groups can often mean you might have the boat to yourselves. The larger vessels usually have the ability to pay on board for additional amenities (food and drinks), or come as “all inclusive” tours.

At Sunshine Coast Afloat we operate a small fleet of vessels from 5m-17m. We specialise in small group charters from 2 people up to 23 people on our vessels Crusader 1, Hela-va-jet and SupaYot.  We work closely with all other regional operators including Sunshine Seaplanes who often help locate the whales before we even leave the dock. All of this to allow us to get you quickly, and comfortably, close up to our large marine friends.

Because, as mentioned, we specialise in smaller groups, our tours are aimed squarely at those people that want a guaranteed railside, uninterrupted viewing position.  We don’t need PA systems to be heard of the noise larger groups always generate. Your experience is purely directly with our friendly experienced skippers and crew, who are there to assist you and answer any “whaley questions” you may have. No matter where you go on board, you will never be standing behind someone having your view blocked. You will never struggle to find a comfortable seat when you want to have a sit down. In fact, we do everything we can to make you feel as if you are on a large private trip with just a few friends. The sort of trip we all really want to have!  Add in the fact that the Whales certainly seem to love our boats, constantly having a number of very close personal encounter this season and last.

Sunshine Coast Afloat is a small Family business with a complete focus on providing high quality experiences and service.  Every member of our crew have young families of their own, ensuing a great understanding of your family’s needs. Each of our skippers have been working on the ocean for over 10 years, in all areas of marine tourism. From Scuba Diving to long range expedition cruising, up and down the east coast of Australia. Each brings their own knowledge and experience with them them and all are willing to share this knowledge with any of our passengers interested. Their experience and understanding of what our customers need and deserve means that your time is valuable and is treated as such by each and every crew member.

 

A humpback whale shows her tail near Crusader 1 on the Sunshine Coast

When choosing your boat with Sunshine Coast Afloat it’s worth knowing the facts:

Crusader 1

Crusader 1 coming back to her home port
  • Spacious and very stable 17m Conquest West Coaster
  • Cruising speed of up to 23 knots
  • Max 23 passengers.
  • All inclusive with food and non alcoholic drinks.
  • 2 toilets
  • 2 decks
  • LOTS of seating to accommodate more people than actually aboard.

Crusader 1 is one of the largest charter vessels on the Sunshine Coast. So large that most other operators would easily run up to 100 or more passengers on a vessel this size. With just a maximum of 23 people the most common comment we get is “Gee, the boat almost seems empty!”. And that is the feeling we want for our guests because that means you have both room and privacy aboard! Room to move about. Room to position yourself for the best view or angle possible. And privacy to not feel crowded or “sardined” in. Privacy to feel that you are having a very special and privileged experience!

Our main deck is only 1m above sea level. So when the whales decide to check us out you are SUPER close! Anyone that has had this experience will agree, its an emotional and moving experience!

Our forward deck is only 2m above sea level and its quite common to stand there and watch the whale swim right under our bow! Dolphins are also often seen playing in the wake as we head out or on our way back in.

Hela-Va-Jet

2 shots of Hela-Va Jet during whale Watching trips
  • 9.5m enclosed Oceantech Jet Boat
  • Cruising speed of 35knots (70km/hr)
  • Seats up to 12 but only takes 4-8 passengers (10 with 2 kids) for whale watching.
  • All inclusive whale watching

Hela-va-jet’s size and speed make her an ideal whale watching platform for small groups in sea conditions up to 1.5m of swell. She has the ability to get you out to the whales up to 10 miles off shore within 15 min of leaving the river mouth. In calmer seas enjoy the smooth, fast, air conditioned ride. And when the seas pick up strap in for a high speed adrenaline filled ride out to the whales as the highly experienced skippers twist and turn through the waves.

Once with the whales your skipper will open up Hela-va-Jet’s full length gullwing doors allowing you to move around the cabin getting the best views from at sea level with the whales.

Hela-va-Jet’s size allows her to sit on a single wave preventing the twisting motions you can get on larger vessels (which usually contributes to sea sickness) making for a very comfortable, fun and easy time with the whales.

If any above the information above sounds like something you are interested in just give us a call on 0402 625 825 or 0412 155 814 or jump online. We would love to have you aboard!