Low Isles Weather

Low Isles Beach

Low Isles Snorkelling… Because Low Isles has a protected lagoon, the water here is generally much more calm than it is on the outer Great Barrier Reef.  That means it’s the best for snorkelling, exploring and sailing.
On very rare occasions we do have to cancel our Sailing & Snorkelling trips out to Low Isles.  Generally this is only in very high winds (borderline cyclonic) or severe weather.

Low Isles History & Facts

Low Isles History…

What is Low Isles?

Low Isles is situated on a large,  200 hectare, oval shaped, coral platform.  Low Isles consists of a small coral cay, a large mangrove island, mudflats, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.

Where is Low Isles?

The Low Isles are located approximately 8 nautical miles from Port Douglas, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia.  Located within the Marine National Park Zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Low Isles and its historic lighthouse were registered on the Commonwealth Heritage List in June 2008 in recognition of their place in Australia’s cultural and Indigenous heritage and are is also under the protection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

View Map

Weather & Reef Research

Weather data has been collected on Low Isles since 1887 and scientific associations date back to 1928 when it was the base for a year long scientific survey which studied the structure and ecology of the surrounding reef.

This study was the first detailed study of a coral reef from Low Isles anywhere in the world and many current theories of coral reef are based on the findings of this expedition.

Low Isles Lighthouse

Low Isles Lighthouse & Research StationToday the University of Queensland operate a Great Barrier Reef research station housed in what was previously the assistant lighthouse keeper’s house.

This centre provides exciting and stimulating reef research projects for scientists and students and more importantly plays a pivotal role in eco sustainable reef management.

Safe Snorkelling Haven

The islands are surrounded by 5.5 acres of coral reef very close to the islands, making it an ideal area for snorkellers.


Living amongst the corals in the blue lagoon are a large variety of reef fish including angelfish, damselfish, anemones, giant trevally, sweetlip, fusiliers and many green turtles are sighted daily.

The mangrove habitats of Low Isles virtually uninhabited Woody Island is a vital habitat for a wealth of bird species, including large, white Herons – a bird watchers delight.

Walking Trails

Taking the Island Heritage Walk is a ‘must do’ when visiting Low Isles. Learn about the history of Low Isles and its environment.



Go Green & Save the Turtles

Go Green! Save the Turtles bag artwork created by Low Island caretaker, Jenni Fox and sponsored by Sailaway to increase awareness of environmental best practices and assist funding of other educational materials i.e. information leaflets and interpretive centre on island near lighthouse. These medium sized durable, reusable bags are made of strong beautiful natural calico material and bags printed with “Save the turtles” artwork with Sailaway logo and message, proudly supporting Low Isles and turtle sustainability. Go Green – Go Sailaway!

Available only at the Sailaway Reef & Island Tours Marina base $7.50, plan to pick up one when checking in for boarding passes 30 mins prior to departure and perfect to use on Low Island and back home.

Sailaway to Eco Shamba Tree Farm Port Douglas

Steve Edmondson at Eco Shamba Tree Farm

ECO SHAMBA Tree Farm Port Douglas was established in August 2009 as an environmental initiative.

The location of suitable, high productive land was searched for. The investment and long term commitment was established on 27 Hectares (68 acres) of land, ex cane paddocks close to Port Douglas, adjacent to World Heritage Rainforest and boarding Crees Creek.

More about Eco Shamba Tree Farm


Sailaway Lagoon 500 Catamaran

Sailing Great Barrier Reef

Snorkeling Great Barrier Reef… SAILAWAY is a luxury sailing catamaran that takes limited number of guests to from Port Douglas to Low Isles on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.


Built by Lagoon in Bordeaux France, Sailaway is the first of Lagoon’s new production boats to arrive in Australia.


Sailaway is the first Lagoon 500 new production boat built by Lagoon in Bordeaux France to arrive in Australia.
Now at home in Port Douglas, Tropical North Queensland Sailaway undertook the longest delivery in the world to become the first large sailing cat to arrive by sea, on her own bottom in Australia.


Sailaway’s Lagoon 500 Catamaran is a truly spectacular vessel.  She moves smoothly and comfortably across the ocean, offering our guests a unique Great Barrier Reef experience unmatched by other operators.  Demand for this particular model was so high that it sold out 18 months before the Lagoon factory even launched their first boat!




Please visit the “Boat History” category in our blog for further details on Sailaway’s incredible journey from France across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to Port Douglas, Australia.

Environmental Responsibility is our business

Snorkelling Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef Tours… Sailaway visits the unspoilt Low Isles where the first coral research was undertaken back in 1928. The lagoon is home to a large number of turtles that have little fear of snorkellers, as they know it’s a safe area.

The protection of surrounding waters has changed the resident turtles’ behaviour and now close-up, passive encounters occur daily. We gain great satisfaction from witnessing an increasing level of guest appreciation of the value of the reef and encourage this through first-hand encounters and education. We’ve also invested in a new Lagoon 500 luxury catamaran, which was chosen because it has the highest-quality equipment and meets the desired standard of our environmental values.

Eco Tourism Accredited

Firstly, the Low Isles are really close at just 8.5 nautical miles off the Queensland coast, allowing visitors maximum time there. Second, the Low Isles have a unique history and are a natural iconic landmark. This highly protected and unspoilt environment has recently achieved carbon-neutral status. This is done thanks to investment in a reworked solar-power system, battery banks and use of BioDiesel.

Sailaway employs qualified marine biologists and makes daily records that are sent back to GBRMPA to help with a program called “Eye on the Reef”. Our tourism experience has credibility; accurate interpretation from the crew is imperative to guest interaction. This expertise helps us pass on a better level of knowledge to guests who may be experiencing the underwater environment for the first time, and even for those who consider themselves to be knowledgeable already.

learn more about our team Meet the Crew

As an owner/operator, I’m in a privileged position to be innovative and proactive when it comes to climate change action. Being green and smart is a successful path for the future as before legislation requires it, we can initiate bigger changes in thinking if we are prepared to absorb increased investment and risk. We’re proud to be one of the first operators to install waste water treatment onboard, and have switched to recycled Bio Diesel and low emission outboards. It’s vitally important to preserve our natural assets for future generations and encourage more environmental ambassadors. The goal is for around 2million visitors to the GBR annually to take up their own climate change action and reduce their individual impacts.

Steve Edmondson
Owner & Skipper

We have plans to continue with carbon offsetting and will do this through the revegetation of an ex-cane paddock and neighbouring World Heritage Rainforest, which we recently purchased.  I hope that the continual development of carbon trading and offset schemes will create incentives for more businesses to think and act green.

I believe that allowing renewable forestation and carbon offsetting is the smart way forward as the environment can be a sound investment and benefit the future security of our children.



Serious about Sustainability

Snorkelling Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef Sustainability…


Sailaway’s luxury Lagoon 500 Catamarans sail primarily with wind power.  Our tenders use bio-diesel with low emission 4 stroke outboards.

Eco Tourism Accredited


We contribute $10.00 from each and every passenger ticket towards sustainable reforestation & carbon offsetting programs that protect Low Isles and our neighbouring World Heritage Rainforests.
We also talk to our guests and educate them about the servious environmental issues and challenges facing Sailaway’s favourite natural wonders including Low Isles, The Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforests.

Raising your awareness & appreciation of our pristine natural environment is an essential part of our carbon footprint reduction strategies.


We provide bins to recycle plastics, paper, cardboard, aluminium/steel and glass used on-board Sailaway.

Our on-board toilets are kept clean and hygenic using the Sani-Loo waste water treatment system.


All food and produce served on-board is locally sourced and prepared fresh in Port Douglas daily by our friends at Port Douglas catering.

Six Degrees of Separation: Steve & Katrina Edmondson

Sailaway Owner/Operators Steve & Katrina Edmondson

Port Douglas Snorkelling… Port Douglas Power Couple Katrina and Steve Edmondson grew up in a perpetual six-degrees of separation from each other, yet it took them nearly two decades to meet. Once they did, there was no stopping them from achieving their dreams. The result is a thriving company featuring Port Douglas’ most beloved yacht, Sailaway, and a business that continues to grow.

Steve and Katrina are very hands-on, so much so that Steve actually skippers the beautiful Sailaway at least twice a week. Aside from the most beautiful sailboat in Port Douglas, the couple also have the management contract for Poseidon, the reputable reef-dive adventure boat, which just happens to be owned by Katrina’s family.

The couple have 2 young children, Guy & Jazmin and they reside permanently in Port Douglas. Their business name pretty much sums up the couple’s intention. “It means the finest and the best, with all things considered.”

Like their motto, it appears that Katrina and Steve have the best of everything at their fingertips.

 Extracted from an article by Maggie Wildman Read full article

From Bordeaux to Port Douglas: Crew Report 1

Sunset Sailing Port Douglas

Wishing everyone a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Sailaway IV is now completed and has recently been launched in Bordeaux in France!
Katrina and Steve made the long journey to Europe for the handover and final inspections and this is our first newsletter giving you updates on the sea delivery from France, across the Atlantic, Panama Canal, across the Pacific and into Port Douglas.

The sail delivery is now under way. We met up with our Delivery Crew Morrie and Irene and the Lagoon team as well as Brendan Hunt, our broker from Vicsail, Sydney at the Paris Boat show early December. A very impressive event and we felt even more confident that we had chosen the right model of boat and quality builder.

We enjoyed staying in the heart of Paris and having a dose of Europe, including the cold grey rainy days sitting in cafes near Notre Dame broken up by long walks, sightseeing and metro rides from St Germaine. We made our way to Bordeaux by air then train to the beautiful and historic sea port of La Rochelle. After checking into the Mercure Hotel next to the marina, we gazed out in the evening sky to spot the distinctive Lagoon profile and could not resist getting fleeced up and jumping the gate to introduce ourselves to our new Sailaway IV a Lagoon 500.
We had received regular photos during production from the factory yet needed to get onboard and enjoy our reality check. We were not disappointed even though we had no lights or torch we were very excited with the prospects that lay ahead. Needless to say, we made ourselves at home and stayed on the boat for the next 6 days.

Sailaway IV undertook the first sea trails from the factory to La Rochelle to have the new custom stainless steel life rails built and make final preparations for the 14,000 nm sea delivery. During the initial 6 days living onboard we had some very cold and windy days, ice covered decks, one morning gusting 52 knots. The sails went up, new spinnaker hoisted, reef lines adjusted, all lockers, hatches and manuals inspected. Endless lists were attacked to keep the departure on time, hoping for a weather break and the team all got motivated. Many laughs were had and stories were told during the numerous outings to great restaurants. Work was productive with the usual ‘Plat de Jour’ and a bottle of Rose’ as well on the odd crisp clear day.

Katrina and Steve left for the 37 hours journey from La Rochelle to Cairns and Port Douglas, while Morrie & Irene made their final checks and studied the weather on Morrie’s sat phone data linked to laptop in anticipation on the shortest but potentially hardest leg of the journey, across the Bay of Biscay in winter, aiming to get to Lisbon for a Christmas break. The Atlantic crossing is planned during January and Steve, Katrina and family will join the boat again in Tortolla BVI, Caribbean around the 1st February 07.

P.S. Latest report from Sailaway IV via sat phone. “Everything going like a dream, 45 nm from Lisbon Portugal on the 22/12/06 at 12.30pm. Boat sailing well and fast in varied conditions.”