A couple of weeks ago I went on an Adventure Sailing Day courtesy of a gift experience that Rach bought me for my birthday.

IMG_0857 The Yacht I went on, which is called Solo, has quite a spectacular history. It has won the Sydney to Hobart race four times and circumnavigated the world 3 times. Also, it was the first sailing boat to circumnavigate Australia since Matthew Flinders did it back in 1802.

It was an early start when we slipped out into Moreton Bay on our way out to Moreton Island. It dawned on me that this was actually the first time I'd been out on a boat in Moreton Bay, besides catching the ferry over to Stradbroke Island. I never realised how many Island there are just a short sail away from Brisbane.

We sailed past St Helena Island and Green Island, spotting numerous Dolphins on the way and made our way over to Tangalooma on the protected west side of Moreton Island.

Once a Whaling Station, Tangalooma is now best known for it's Wild Dolphin Resort where you can stay at the hotel and then hand-feed the bottlenose dolphins which swim right up to the beach in the shallow waters during Sunset.

IMG_0860Tangalooma is also known for its Wrecks Dive site, which was where we were heading. Fifteen vessels, many of which were used to dredge the Brisbane River, have been deliberately sunk on the landward side of Moreton Island by the Brisbane Council to form a breakwall for small boats and a wreck dive and snorkel site. The Tangalooma Wrecks provide diving in depths from 2-10m and attract an amazing amount of marine life. Much of the wrecks is now covered in coral and the amount of tropical fish was very similar to when I went diving on the Barrier Reef.

This time though I wasn't diving, just snorkelling.

Unfortunately, as I jumped from the boat into the water I somehow managed to lose my snorkel. So for the first 20 minutes in the water I had to swim around in the water with only a face mask and no snorkel. I'm no free-diver so this became quite exhausting trying to hold my breath for long periods so I could get the snorkelling experience. Luckily some of the other passengers became tired quite quickly and went back to the boat so I managed to get one of their snorkels.

The experience was pretty amazing and I'll definitely be going out there again.

IMG_0869 After snorkelling the next stop was to go sand-boarding. By this time however the weather had turned and it started to rain. I new straight away that the sand-boarding would be out of the window as you can't slide on wet sand. So we sailed around for a bit and waiting for the weather to brighten up again. It didn't take long and within the hour the sun was shining and with the heat what it was we new it wouldn't take long to dry out the sand.

I've never been sand-boarding before. The picture to the right shows the sand cliff that we were to sand-board down. It's hard to get the right perspective in this photo, but trust me, it's high, and steep. The thing about sand-boarding of course, unlike when you go snow-boarding, is there's no ski-lifts to take you up to the top. To get to the top we simply had to climb, in the soft sand, in the searing heat.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that the climb to the top was probably the most strenuous exercise I've had in years, in-fact, I think running the rock race up the Rock of Gibraltar was easier than that.

Now I've never been snow-boarding either so standing on a sand-board, which looked just like a snow-board, was a completely new experience for me. None of the boat crew could be bothered to climb up there and from the forty or so passengers on the boat only a handful of us tried it out. So I had no-one to show me what to do. But how hard can it be right? You just stand on a board and try not to fall off!

It took a few attempts to get my balance at the top and stay upright, and then once I was stable I pushed off. The idea is that you put the weight on your back foot to control the descent - the harder you dig in the slower you will go. That's the theory anyway. The truth is, as I quickly discovered, once the board picks up some speed it doesn't matter how hard you dig in, there's no stopping that momentum.

I'm quite proud to say I managed to make it about three quarters of the way down before I fell off.

I would have loved to have made it up for a second go but there was no way I was going to make that climb again. My calves were on fire!

IMG_0872 After sand-boarding, the speedboat took us back to the Yacht where we had a beautiful lunch before having a leisurely sail around the islands.

To end the the day I sat back, cracked open a bottle of beer and did a spot of sunbathing while we slowly made out way back to shore.

A good day was had by all!