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Powerplay Whitsundays Trip – What you need to know?

Whitsundays Powerplay Catamaran
Cass Roberts

Cass Roberts
Skipper/Manager for Powerplay

Hi Cass, what is the name of your tour activity where you're located and what do you offer as a product?

We have a vessel that does 2 day 2 night overnight charters around the Whitsunday island. Powerplay leaves on Day one , heading out for the islands, having more of a chilled first day.

Second day, you have a full day where you'll be going to Whitehaven beach and the Hill Inlet Lookout where you will spend some time on the Whitehaven beach itself and then generally doing snorkel or a water activity towards the afternoon, then spending the night on the boat, and then obviously you're last morning is dependant on what people want to do, they can either chill, go for a snorkel, and then we will commence our return back towards in Airlie Beach.

Powerplay is our younger market; so Powerplay takes 18 passengers per 2, generally the 18 to 35 mark, so more of the social aspect. Not like a booze cruise, but clients can still interact and have fun.

What age demographic usually travels on the tour with you?

Powerplay you generally attract a youth adventure traveller who doesn't want that full hardcore party boat experience. They still want to have a social drink at the end of the night, but they want to be able to sleep as well.

What level of fitness would you say you need to participate?

It's pretty across the board really. It depends on how much you physically want to do. Obviously it makes it a little bit more challenging if have any disabilities; if you can't walk properly, or anything like that it does make it hard; like for bush walk or the snorkelling. But we have taken people on board before that have those limitations. But if obviously you're wanting to get involved in the activities you want to have just even if like a low to medium range of physical fitness to be able to get in the water and swim around and enjoy yourself more than anything. But people are more than welcome to just come on and sit on the boat if that's what they want to do.

Do you offer a range to pick up and drop off locations? Is there an average time for pick up and drop off?

Prior to the trips we don't offer any pick ups or drop offs.  Like most overnight Whitsundays boats, we just have the meeting time at the Able Point Marina. The guests will need to check in 48 hours prior by calling the number on their voucher given by One Stop Adventures upon booking and they'll give them a detailed description of how to get down to the vessel plus what to bring and not to bring. 

The best thing about catamarans is that you've got space, is that we can put things on there as well. Powerplay has a spa and paddle boards, and also kayaks

How far is it from Airlie Beach to Abel Point Marina?

From Airlie Beach it's a 15, 20 minute walk. And if you go cab ride it'll be $5, $10.

Do you have any tips or advice for things that people should bring with them or have prepared beforehand?

Being prepared beforehand, obviously taking your clothes, obviously we don't want people to go too crazy with alcohol, but making sure you've got enough to keep yourself satisfied. It's nice to have a drink at the end of the night.

People are quite surprised how cold it can get night time. During the day it's beautiful, but you can get that little bit of wind at night time if you really get that wind chill out there and you can get a few people that are feeling quite chilly.

And the water temperature as well. Our water temperature only fluctuates about six degrees throughout the entire year. But if you're in the water for half an hour or longer, your body will naturally cool down. So obviously we give people the stinger suit and everything like that.   I think people can be caught out thinking because they are in the tropics that it is warm 24 hours a day, its best to bring a light jacket or hoodie as you still might get cold with the wind chill.

What about sea sickness and things like that?

Sea sickness is 50/50. We're pretty lucky because we have catamarans. Catamarans seem to handle the seas quite well, and there's a lot of outdoor space for people to sit. Obviously we always recommend for people to not sit inside, but sit outside get some fresh air.

And being a catamaran having more deck space means that they can sit outside more comfortably. They don't have to worry about sitting right up against every other single person on the boat. They can have that little bit of space.

Before the boat we always recommend- we always ask people, "have they every experienced sea sickness before, do they know what it's like?" We always recommend that they take sea sickness tablets just in case. They're very cheap anyway, so it's not like you're going to be hugely out of pocket, but we do always recommend them.

I've never been personally sea sick that I can physically remember, but I can understand that it must be not a nice experience.

It's pretty sound advice. What kind of training do your guides or hosts have, and how experienced are they?

For our hosts, prior to going out on a trip on their own all new staff all do a minimum of three training trips. We like to send new staff out with a variety of our very experienced staff members so they're getting trained from a few different people. After they're done and have completed the training, obviously we're happy with them, they'll go out on their own with a experienced skipper.

Our Skippers have all the necessary tickets and licences plus we make sure they are passionate, responsible and will be able to educate our guests about the Whitsundays and why it is so special to visit this amazing area. A lot of our hosts go out and get all their tickets and licence’s and that work there way up to being Skipper which is always encouraged as they really know the trip well.

And it's nice to feel comfortable with someone that knows their job. To the customer it's a really nice experience.

Well that's where I started. I started as host, worked my way up, got my skippers ticket, and now I'm up to manager.

What sort of qualifications, certificates, or awards does your company obtain?

We're a part of the Eco-accreditations. So every couple years we go for an Eco-accreditation. So making sure we're Eco friendly.

We have won numerous awards over many years in tourism awards both nationally and state based awards.

We're part of the local boat committee which is called the WCBIA.  It's pretty much a committee that's formed by a lot of boat companies that are here.

So we're all working together, and we all operate within the same rules. So we're all paying equally. We're looking after our staff equally, and we're looking after the environment equally. So instead of it being too competitive amongst the other companies we're all trying to work together. Which is really good.

What type of vessel that is Powerplay?

Powerplay is just over 12 meters, so she's a motorcat, so obviously she's designed for pretty much comfort and speed.

Is food included or available to purchase on the tour? If so, what are the options and do you cater for travellers with dietary needs?

All food is included. Dietary requirements, obviously we do cater for what we physically can. If your vegetarian, then gluten free, dairy free, we all can cater for.

Obviously it gets a little bit harder when you're getting ... not like allergies, nut allergies, we're all good. It gets harder when you say things like celiac, because our galley is classified as commercial; but obviously it's small, condensed, in a condensed space.

As for when it comes to things like that it does make it a little bit more challenging for us, but as to generic dietary requirements, or even just say like your allergies to nuts, nuts are fine, and your vegetarians and stuff, we do cater for. There's no extra charge or anything like that. We supply the extra food on top of that, an a lot of our food is a variety anyway. So we've got a fairly good choice.

Could you just run me briefly through the itinerary of what the client would experience on the tour?

Powerplay would depart from the marina at 12 PM. She'll head out to generally her first snorkel spot where guests can snorkel and have a go at paddle boarding or just relax for the afternoon.

Then you go and anchor up somewhere nice for the evening, generally somewhere where you can see the sunset. Getting up bright and early in the morning, we don't sleep in, so 7 o'clock breakfast in the morning to head down to Whitehaven Beach. So you'll be heading normally down to Hill Inlet first, where you talk the bush walk; which takes 15, 20 minutes depending on how fast you want to walk it. Just a gradual incline, obviously it's not a challenging bush walk. So you'll do the bush walk first up to the lookout, and then you'll spend anywhere between and hour and a half to three hours on Whitehaven Beach.

Going back on to the boat normally around lunch time, so you'll be having your lunch or your snack, something like that. Then heading to your snorkel water activity sports for that afternoon. And it's always depending on the group. You might do one sport, and go and stay there for like two hours, every loves it, or you might go to a few places that are like next to each other.

Generally finishing up the night in another place where you can chuck the paddle boards in and enjoy the sunset. Sit the jacuzzi where I watch the sunset.

Jacuzzi, yeah good stuff.

And then obviously your last morning is obviously a bit of a shorter part of the trip because you are spending that time getting back in. So you get up and obviously have that last little activity if you want to go for a swim or a snorkel, and then heading back for your journey home.

Nice. Sounds really good. Are there any extra costs, or optional extras that customers should be aware of?

The only additional cost on that is if they want to purchase any bottles of water they're all $2 each. Otherwise you can drink the water that's from the boat, or bring your own. And then lastly, just in Powerplay, we do photos throughout the trip, so if they're interest we sell little USBs that look like a little dolphin, which are adorable. We do the big slideshow throughout the trip and they at the end if they want to purchase the photos we put it on to the USB and then they can take that home, and that's $15.

Is there a best time of year to do your product?

I personally think winter. But coming into like winter- winter, like coming to like the more of the end of it kind if thing. So we get the whale season, and it's based all on whales. I love humpback whales, they're absolutely amazing. So the best time to come here is actually our low season.

So when you say winter, which would be also July, August.

July, August ...obviously if you're wanting just that little bit of weather, September is fantastic. September, I personally think is the best weather here, but it's just at the very edge of that whale season. So July, August is ideal to see the humpback whales. Obviously if you're coming from countries where it's a little bit colder it's still warm, it's still nice.

I like it because the summers here are hot. All you want to do is go for a swim. I think if you had to pick like two of the best months, August, September I’d say.

You're looking at the mid 20s and then you've got the chance to see humpback whales, so it can't be that bad. Do you have a high or low season in terms of your bookings? And if so, how far in advance should people be looking to book?

In the low season you really on want to be looking about a month in advance is ideally the best time over the low season.. Over the high season you want be looking at about three months in advance, at least.

Especially over those periods, say Christmas, New Years, very, very busy. Those trips are always booked out, so if you don't want to miss out yeah definitely.

So our high season is definitely over the summer. Make the more of it, put a big smile on your face, it's still going be hot. It might rain, but it's still hot , it doesn't rain for long either.  It's generally isolated over the mainland as well. So people are getting on the boat and it's raining, but by the time you get out there it's not.

Do you have any safety systems need procedures in place for travellers?

All of the crew, they go through extensive training on all safety aspects and every passenger on board will have clear safety briefing upon boarding the boat and throughout the whole trip.

Why would you say your product is different to other suppliers in the area?

I think the best thing about our product is obviously, we've been around for a while, we know what we're doing. Our boats are fairly unique in this industry, they're in quite of a small bracket.

You have a lot of the boats that are almost 20 passengers and up, or you have 8 like we have 8 passengers, and they're your real like fine dining. We've got that nice little spot in the middle, where we've got 12 passengers or 18 passenger. I think it's a really, really good number. 

Not having to worry about too many people on board, and also being a catamaran you've got space. The best thing about catamarans is that you've got space, is that we can put things on there as well. Powerplay has a spa and paddle boards, and also kayaks; those little bitty extra things that we can out on the boat without making you go, "oh this is cluttered."

Because you've all still got that space. And I think catamarans being spacious as well is why you won’t feel like you're sleeping on top of people. So having private cabins is also very appealing to people as well.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add, anything that we've missed, or tips, or advice, or anything you'd like to suggest to people?

Just for everyone to come and visit this amazing region that is the stunning Whitsundays and experience it on Powerplay! 

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