01.09.2014 - 05.09.2014 28 °C
Airlie beach is a beautifully small seaside town visited by many as the starting hub for trips to the famous Whitsunday coast in Queensland. A series of small shops and a handful of lively backpacker bars and hostels line the main street which backs onto a huge lagoon on the beachfront. Everything was in easy walking distance, perfect for our pre-sailing trip shopping (mainly goon, sickness tablets and suncream). This time on arrival to our backpacker digs, we were greeted by a group of Germans playing drinking games on the floor. Not ideal after a long bus journey.. so we headed for the hostel bar for a cheap dinner and got chatting to another lovely couple from Manchester.
We were booked onto a 2 day sailing trip around the Whitsundays onboard the famous 'Siska'. After another early get-up we arrived at the pier and met our group and crew for the next 2 days. It was a VERY windy morning, despite being hot and sunny, which proved for an interesting day ahead. After a short introduction and being shown to our bunks, we all headed up on deck to set sail towards the islands. A few of us pitched in to help hoist the sails before taking a seat for the journey. Along with the other dumb arses on board, we thought it would be a great idea to be at the front of the boat with our legs dangled over the edge and thought we were in for a few hours of 'hands in the air, whooping' behaviour with the wind in our hair as the boat picked up speed. Such dumb arses. Instead, picture this, a group of five morons huddled in hoodies and absolutely soaked through, close to tears every time a huge wave crashed over our heads! Let us tell you.. the glorious sunshine does nothing for you when your reaching such fast speeds in a rough sea!
Our miserable mugs were soon transformed when we arrived at the paradise which is Whitehaven. The Whitsundays are a selection of protected islands on the Great Barrier Reef. Whilst some of these islands have huge tourist resorts for the rich and famous, many of them are deserted national parks only visited by day trippers. After arriving at Whitsunday island, we began our climb up to the Hill Inlet lookout point. The morning's suffering obviously wasn't enough for Dan, as he then decided to split his toe kicking a rock. He bled out all over the viewing platform as we stood in awe of the view before us. The tidal shifts had created the most beautiful pattern of white silica sand and crystal clear turquoise water. The whole group were ecstatic as we ran onto the beach, the fine white sand squeezing under our bare feet. We paddled together in the water spotting sting ray and reef sharks before separating to capture the photo opportunities. The remaining hour or so was spent relaxing in the sun, where we all bonded through a group cat nap. The morning of shivering and being soaked through must have worn us out. We were in the most beautiful place most of us had ever visited, yet we CLOSED our eyes and fell asleep! TYPICAL BACKPACKER BEHAVIOUR.
We climbed back aboard Siska for more sailing to our destination for the night. Thank god the sea was calmer and we could all enjoy getting to know each other over red cups of goon as the sun set in the distance.
After a delicious dinner cooked by our chef Oyster, most of the group decided to play Uno, but us and our 'Fresh out of Essex' gal pal Dawn thought we were way too cool for that. Instead we chatted absolute waffle and laughed until our belly hurt. Theres something about brushing your teeth up on deck, surrounded by the dark pacific ocean, as you look up at the starry night sky..
Amiee rose bright an early, before even the crew were awake, and climbed up onto the deck. The sun was just rising over the horizon and there was nothing but the peaceful morning ocean in sight. Day two was snorkelling day. Our new favourite activity in Oz. We couldn't wait to throw a wetsuit on a jump into the warm sea. We literally could not move for tropical fish. There were hundreds, some so close to our goggles staring us in the eye just asking to be chased. Again, we spent as long as possible exploring the coral hand in hand, shocked faces, pointing at the weird and wonderful fish. After lunch we headed for another beautiful island. We chose to do some more snorkelling rather than lay on the beach, and we are so glad we did! A small group of us were on a mission to spot a turtle. After persevering for a while, there it was.. a huge turtle cruising casually along. We hoped he didn't mind being followed for almost half an hour by a few amazed travellers, who occasionally stroked his shell and grinned excitedly at him every time he came to the surface for a breather. When we reached the rest of our group on the beach, we all ran over to boast. The boys who were with us each went to their significant others to tell them what had just happened.. 'We followed a turtle for ages' was exaggerated to 'We followed a massive turtle for miles' and so on.. We all joked about the skilled storytellers of the group!
Then it was time to sail back to the Australian mainland again, where we had a fun night out with friends we had made previously and our new Siska family. After a hangover day at the lagoon, some stand up paddle boarding, and a big barbecue lunch, it was time to move on to play Bikers in the quiet town of Agnes Waters.