I’m very lucky that I’m invited to work on Hamilton Island regularly; last week I was invited up to capture all the excitement, glamorous events and anticipation of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - an annual week long regatta where yachties, spectators and racegoers from all around the globe embark on Hamilton Island to race and soak up the atmosphere…. whenever I pack my bags I always know I’m in for such a great time up on the island….
… when I fly I always pack a bit of work to do on the plane, however when I fly to Hamilton Island I never do this
too many distractions out the window… I can always guarantee that somehow a bubbling conversation is always ignited with the stranger next to me….the flights are always filled with such great atmosphere….I think it’s because it’s a really easy destination to get to and who doesn’t love palm trees, sunshine and the fragrance of coconut oil…
… Coming in over the islands…. the colour of the water gives me goosebumps every time….
…. I hit the ground running, checking into The Beach Club,
a quick glance out to the swimming pool, ohmy, see you soon pool…. quick outfit change and I then made my way to the first of many luxe events to cover for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week….
… First up was the Charles Heidsieck / Mr Porter Champagne Lunch, a three course menu by qualia’s executive chef Alastair Waddell in the Long Pavilion of qualia overlooking the perfect blue waters of the ocean and taking in the balmy Queensland sunshine….
… The place cards – I squealed with delight to the see this little anchor, it was designed by my friend – artist James Gordon… clever man Jimmy!
….Yes, if I was stranded on an island I too would want to have my travel trunk full of Charles Heidsieck, the finest champagne in the world with me….
…. This is Jimmy Niggles… I met him at lunch; he has been growing his beard for four years in a pursuit to raise awareness and conversation for having regular skin checkups. This all came about when Jimmy lost a dear friend of his to melanoma, so long story short Jimmy has taken it upon himself to spread the word to have regular skin check ups through his ‘conversation starter’ of a beard
it worked for me, I started a chat with him based on his beard….. this is his website too - beard or no beard, I think what Jimmy is doing is pure good – what a dude!
…. Ah, the beautiful folk having a grand time….
…. Then as the sun went down the party kept rolling loooong into the evening….
…. Come day break my room was bathed in glorious morning golden light……
… Took my new nautical espadrilles out for a spin….have to fit in you know, ‘When in Rome…..’
…. The extremely comfortable room at The Beach Club….. also known as home for the next three days….
…. Accompanied by the best croissants this side of Paris……
… After breakfast I decided to head down to the marina to have a look around and see what was kicking down there…. it was here I ran into my soon to be new friend Ian – a yachtie… I was chatting to Ian and I said how I really wanted to get out onto a boat to shoot things from a different perspective… Ian said, ‘Well, Kara – Can you swim?’ – me – ‘Yes’…… Ian – ‘Do you get seasick?’…… um….. silence…me – ‘uh.. No, never’ …..
I lied, I soooo lied, I get sea sick on a pontoon let alone a boat. Ian – ‘Well, I have a boat, why don’t you come out with us?’….. me – ‘Great…..great… what are the chances’….
…. ah the kindness of strangers, so this was me for the next few hours….. aboard the stunning Mista Gybe….
hoping that in fact that maybe my seasickness had just always been in my head….
… Before we set off from the marina there was a lot of discussion and finger pointing about this little booklet with maps…. I was trying very hard to stay out of everyones way
boats are small you know and stay hydrated I googled sea sickness and apparently water is the key, I was guzzling the water like nothing else….. when all of a sudden I started hearing the words ‘Race’, ….. ‘Start time’…. ‘Race’…. race? What race I thought? It then hit me like a hammer – we were about to compete in one of the races for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week….. I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me sooner I think the Mr Charles ‘Champagne’ Heidsieck may have had something to do with my fuzziness from the night before…..
…. So this was us for the next four or so hours, in the no motor/no spinnaker division….. due to my complete lack of sweet sailing skills
and knowledge I thought to myself that this race might be a bit of a dud if we have no motor….and no spinnaker… whats going to happen? …… lucky I didn’t voice my thoughts like a fool…..there was so much action happening on this little boat…. words I hadn’t heard before though quickly got a handle on what was happening when they were shouted out ‘tacking and gybing and booms and goosenecks and sheets i know what you are thinking, not those sheets, there were no bedsheets onboard’ and moving from one side to the other side …. it was very exciting and exhilarating; there really was no time to feel seasick…. thank goodness, must of been all the water I drank….
…. these were the boats in a different division – with spinnakers…. they really pick up a lot of speed and they are so graceful to watch on the water….
…. I then came back on land for a quick frock swap and traded my sea legs for some high heels and headed straight to qualia’s Pebble Beach for the highly anticipated Net-a-Porter fashion parade and cocktail party…..
… trays and trays of pretty lychee martini’s…..
…. the DJ spinning some tracks to get the party started…..
… meanwhile backstage it was all stations go with models – including Nicole Trunfio in hair and makeup…
…. the sun setting on Pebble Beach…. beach sunsets – it doesn’t get much better does it?…..
… then things went dark and very exciting as the girls came out and walked around the pool in this seasons ‘lust-have’ resort looks….
… Next up on the fabulous agenda was the ‘Paspaley Pearl Luncheon’ back at Pebble Beach, pool-side at qualia, celebrating the pearling family and their world class Australian South Sea pearls…. accompanied by a spectacular three course lunch again presented by Alastair Waddell
… Loved all the summery details and the colour combinations…the Paspaley yellow sure does pop and is such a joyous colour!….
…. All aspects of the lunch celebrated the pearl – even down to using the exquisite pearl meat extensively throughout the menu…
…. All the while girls floated about in the pool on swans with Paspaley parasols and pearls, smiling and having a great time…. it was infectious!…..it was such a happy and fun lunch….. the whole party atmosphere felt very ‘Slim Aarons’
….. like all the good things in life the afternoon came to a close far too early….
…. On my last day I woke on sunrise and headed down to Catseye beach for a morning swim….
… It was just magic….. immersed in the most beautiful aqua blue….. and sparking sunshine as I floated about…
….. Couldn’t resist having a flip through the new Hamilton Island Luxe Guide… I love these little pocket guides…… plus one of my shots made the cover… chuffed!……
…. Then headed down to the marina once again to grab a coffee and read Mr Porter newspaper while dangling my feet off the jetty…. cheap thrills….
…. to keep things exciting and since I had proved I had my sea legs, I was invited aboard Andiamo…. the luxury one of a kind cruiser owned by the Oatley family, who also own Hamilton Island…..
… We sailed in amongst one of the last races of Race Week….. taking in all of the timeless nature of sailing and watching humpback whales breach….
… Our chic striped gang on Andiamo…..
….. Then before I knew it Audi Hamilton Island Race Week had drawn to a close and it was time for me to leave the island paradise behind….. home bound…..
…. til next time beautiful water…