So where did I last leave you guys, oh yeah we had been dropped off by Jacob after hitch hiking from Townsville. We got checked in our hostel, and immediately each had a shower, we were both pretty sweaty from our walking and hitch hiking journey. We basked up the air con in our room for a while and then I suggested going down for a cheeky schooner and de-briefing the day. I also had a secret agenda of wanting to watch the football. I had seen the Everton vs. Liverpool game being played. So I thought that if I was lucky I might get to catch the United vs. Chelsea goals I had missed. We went to the bar and asked for any offers, a jug of beer was only $10 so we obliged and then I spotted the football. The united game had just begun! It rounded off a pretty good day.
The next morning we lay in as we were pretty knackered from the previous day's drama. We checked out and began the search for a cheaper a hostel. We checked in a place called Airlie Beach Waterfront backpackers for 5 nights. The place was ok, cheap, but it was a maze to get to our room which also looked a bit like a prison cell and was red hot. We soon got the fans on full blast, the air con on low and made the place more homely. We then decided to explore Airlie Beach; we walked the main strip, had a cheeky McDonald's, and went into the local supermarket, which was ridiculously expensive! Then we had a walk around the lagoon. We also found a place that did all you can eat Chilli's, a place we would go later.
Everyone who visits Airlie Beach goes so that they can visit Whitsundays, several beautiful islands just off the coast of Airlie Beach. So we then decided to go around the travel agent and find the best deal for our trip. Around seven travel agents later we were confused. They had all gave us a different option which we liked. There was a day trip which had all you can drink booze, a party boat which had a slide, spa, and diving board, a trip which gave you a free scuba dive. There were too many options. We decided the only way to decide was over a jug of beer. We went to Magnums, ordered and lay down all thousands of leaflets we had and proceeded to talk through things, we were eliminating them one by one. Each had pros and cons. It was a shame we couldn't do them all. We were left with the party boat; the slide was a big factor. It was a 2 day, 2 night trip with 53 other party goers. The problem was it was expensive; we would have to book two more nights in Airlie Beach therefor spending much more money. The other was cheaper option and only 2 days, 1 night. We would also get money back for one nights rent and would only be 22 people on the boat, so a more intimate affair. It also went the same places as the other boat just a tad quicker. The problem with this boat was we didn't know how party mad it would be and it didn't have a slide or a hot tub! We did the sensible thing and chose the cheaper option. If it wasn't much of a party boat, we would make it a party boat. We just had to wait until it had gone down in price to book.
We went back to the hostel, I used the internet facilities to email my folks, and update my blog while Tom had a power nap. It was now time to head to Cactus Jack's for all you can eat Chilli's! I didn't know what to expect, actual chillies? Chilli con carne? But I would soon find out. I was also hopeful they might have $3 coronas like the Cactus Saloon had in Townsville. We would soon find out. It was chilli con carne; we decided before hand we would have a competition on who could eat the most bowls. I felt I could at least match Tom as I know I can eat a fair bit. They were decent portion sizes but not too big, it came with the works, a bowl of nachos, sour cream, salad, tomatoes, olives, rice, cheese and of course the chilli. The only disappointment was the coronas were $6, unlike the bar in Townsville. We both ate our first dish pretty quick, we then moved on to the second we both started strongly, but I started to feel the pain towards the end of the dish. The third come out and I was really struggling. As I said before I think I'm a decent eater, I mean I ate six bits of cheesecake at my sister's wedding, but today I was failing big time. Tom was racing through his third bowl. I ordered water thinking it would help, it didn't. I went for a tactical poo but nothing would come out. My body was deserting me. Meanwhile Tom moved on to number four, he looked like he could do another ten. I was getting hammered. Tom wanted to set a record, he asked the American waiter what the record was and he told him 8, but Tom soon hit at wall at the start of his 5th bowl. I thought I got a second wind after a waitress called me weak but I only managed two more mouthfuls! I'm not going to lie to you, I was gutted. I'd lost 4.5 - 2.5, a full two bowls behind. If there was one competition I thought I'd do ok in, it would be an eating competition but I let myself down. I had to take defeat like a man and take whatever punishment Tom would give me, no doubt it would be a stupid forfeit. It's fair to say our stomachs were both in pain, so we decided to rest up for an hour or so to try and get less bloated before we hit Airlie Beach on a Tuesday night. We were still hurting from all the Chilli, but I persuaded Tom that coming out for a couple of drinks would do him good. We had a jug of beer in Paddy's bar, where there was a live singer who looked more like a football hooligan singing. He was pretty good and deserved a better crowd than the 6 people in the pub. The beer didn't help our stomachs though so we moved on to the next place. This was called Beaches and a lot busier than Paddy's. We had a vodka lemonade, but we were still struggling somewhat so called it a night and went back to the hostel.
The next day we woke up with a massive task on our hands. It was Halloween and we had no costumes. Airlie Beach is a small place with one street with all the shops on, the street is probably only half a kilometre long too, if that. We had no idea what we wanted to be either. As you can see we were in a pickle. We cracked on and the first shop we went in gave me some inspiration, I found a sombrero for $2, I couldn't pass up that kind of offer so decided I'd be something Mexican. We were then advised by the receptionist at our hostel to go to the Whitsundays shopping centre where there is a Coles, Target, Reject Shop, and various other stores. Our first stop was The Reject Shop, it looked like a Wilkos and we were hopeful we'd be able to pick up some bargains there. That hope soon ended though when the staff informed us they were out of face paint. I did however find an inflatable crocodile and suggested to Tom he should dress up as a dead Steve Irwin. He loved the idea, and purchased an Australian hat. We struggled to find anything in Coles who were also out of Halloween items apart from witches' hats. I then eventually got some new flip flops from target and also found a kids beach poncho that would add to the Mexican theme I was going for. Things were falling into place for me but Tom was having a nightmare trying to find Khaki shorts and a T-Shirt. He was advised to take the bus and head to the next department store where they sell working clothes. I headed back to the hostel. We both had successful journeys. Tom came up trumps in the department store and found his shorts and shirt, I meanwhile found some face-paint at a newsagents. These were ridiculously overpriced, but what's Halloween without a bit of face paint? I bumped into Tom after my find and we celebrated our accomplishment of getting our outfits with a McDonald's ice cream. Things got better for Tom when he found a toy stingray to add to his costume, for those of you who don't know Steve Irwin died when he dived and was stung in the heart by a sting ray. We dropped off our items at the hostel and treated ourselves to some relaxation time by the lagoon, before the nights proceedings got under way.
So a few hours passed, we headed back from the lagoon, ate some pasta and then thought it would be an ideal time to start drinking. We did a few rounds of s***head and ride the bus and it was fair to say me and Tom were both a bit tipsy. The party needed more than us two, but the hostel was dead. Tom then stumbled across two Halifax girls - Brook and Katie and invited them to the balcony for drinks. They came along and we managed to persuade them to paint their faces, they then helped us to perfect ours. Mine had come on leaps and bounds throughout the day. Now I had face paints I thought I could be a Mexican Tiger again, something me and a few of the lads did for a night out in Innisfail. But that wasn't that scary, so I thought seen as though it was Halloween I needed to make this scary. How did I do that I here you ask. Well the answer my friends' fake blood. I would be a Zombie Mexican Tiger. I'm pretty sure I'm the only man in the world who has dressed up as this, so I'd like to see myself as a creative genius and a great innovator. I proceeded to tar up my poncho and smear fake blood all over myself. Tom then persisted on painting my face insisting he could do a brilliant job. He didn't. I looked a mess! If you ever stumble across Tom in your life, never let him paint your face, especially if he is a tad drunk! Me and Katie patched things up the best we could but the damage was already done. I don't know what I looked like but it wasn't what I expected. Time was pressing on, so we headed out first to Up n Under where there was $100 for the best dressed Halloween costume, I was confident before until I had my face painted by Tom. We had a few drinks and there was no sign of the best dressed competition so we moved on, also because there was a lack of people dressed up two, there was only a couple of smurfs, another Mexican, a cave girl, and a bloke in Toga. We headed to a small club called The Pheonix, where it is quite possible me and Tom were the only ones dressed up. So we went to Paddy's which was alright. After a drink or two we then went to Africa, no not the continent, a club in Airlie Beach. It was decent in here, we had a dance, drinks, I hid Tom's sting ray, a few more people were dressed up, but I was very disappointed with the turn out and lack of effort for Halloween. For me, getting dressed up for a night out is brilliant; it appears many backpackers in Airlie Beach didn't have the same opinion. Still we had a good night all the same.
The next day I woke up in sheets covered in my face paint, I had a shower and sorted myself out. Tom was up and did the same though he had particular trouble getting the make-up off his face the girls had put on him. Tom was eager to do some exploring so we decided to do the 6km round trip walk to cannonvale beach. The walk was flat, we saw some good views, but truth be told the walk was pretty boring and cannonvale beach is less than impressive. We headed back to town, as Tom wanted to hire a waterproof camera or case for the Whitsundays trip we were going on the next day. Unfortunately everywhere had sold out of the hire cameras so he couldn't get one, his only option was too buy a $70 waterproof camera case. Again we were hit with a dilemma. So we decided to discuss the pros and cons over a jug of great northern beer, we were then greeted by the prize board again. I won straight away. I was over the moon I won the hat that I wanted in Townsville. Tom didn't win but they gave him a key ring and a little Carlton mild ball anyway. We had our drinks and Tom decided to go for it, so he brought the case and we tested it out in the lagoon just behind the shop. Walking back to the hotel we saw that there was an open mic night on at Magnums. This was one of my challenges for Tom, he had to perform at an open mic night, for a bit of Dutch courage we went back to the hostel and drank the remainder of our goon left from Halloween night and then headed back. Unfortunately though we missed the open mic set, so Tom had got away with that one for now. We finished our jug of beer and headed back as we had an early start the next day for our Whitsundays trip.
I think I mentioned this before but if you come to Airlie Beach, you come because you want to go to Whitsundays. We booked this after much deliberation on a racing sail boat. Tom was panicking a bit because he thought it would be full of old people who wouldn't want to party. I assured him everything would be ok. We walked to the meeting point for 8am and Tom was instantly relieved when we met the rest of the passengers, they were all of a similar age to us. We headed on to the boat and met the crew, the skipper Mick, Jay and Bruce - a Swedish guy who they give different names every time because he is new to the boat. They were brilliant characters. The skipper gave Tom the nickname Sir Lunchalot because of how many times he went down for dinner. We also got called The Green Team because we were both wearing green t-shirts. Because they were only a three man team they would often need help sailing the boat, so the green team often got called up to put up sails, turn handles, throw ropes and various other things. Our first day saw us sail to Whitehaven beach, which is probably the best beach I have ever been on. The sand was so soft and the sea so clear. Me and Tom had already been drinking from when we were on the boat and were now tucking into some pina colada. We also found some sting rays in the sea which Tom was able to get photos of with his new camera case. After a few hours we headed back to the boat and did some extreme sailing to where we would anchor for our overnight location. Often while were sailing the boat would be 45 degrees sideways, then we would have to go the other side as fast as we could, it was all very entertaining but made it hard to keep drinking our VB's and goon. We reached our destination, had some nachos and continued drinking. We were drinking with some Irish girls from Donegal. They had crazy names like Orla, Grianne, Aissilyn and Aina. And they were as crazy as their names, we taught them ride the bus, everyone got a bit drunk and things went a bit mental, Orla even nearly managed to fall off the boat.
The next day I woke up on deck with my feet on the steering wheel. I managed to see sunrise and then went and got a couple of hours sleep before breakfast It was fair to say there was a lot of people feeling delicate and suffering memory loss the next day . I was one of them, I needed a drink, and a VB to sort me out, unfortunately though we had drank all of our booze the day before. This consisted of 2 litres of pina colada, 10 VB's and 4.5 litres of fruity lexia wine/goon. So I had to make do with a cup of tea. We then did some snorkelling I saw a few fish, some coral and a giant clam and then tragedy happened as I got cramp in my calf. I was in pain, the boat had just gone back to drop some people, I thought I was going to die. But as you are probably aware I survived the ordeal and even managed to do a bit more snorkelling. The skipper took us to another place to snorkel as we didn't get to see too much at the other snorkel point; at this one we saw turtles, sea cucumbers and a jelly fish. Even though I had a stinger suit on I decided to get out when I saw the jelly fish and not risk it, also I could feel cramp coming on again. We then sailed back to sure, it was a lot steadier than the previous day, skipper liked to call it a champagne sail. He then informed us of the after party that was happening that night. We were happy we had our plans sorted, so once we got back to sure we checked in at our hostel, added our new friends and chilled out until it was time for the after party. Unfortunately only 7 of the 22 people on board made it, a lot were moving on that night. And we were a bit disappointed that none of the crew turned up. We had a good night though and got through plenty of jugs of beers with a Canadian chap and girl, a lad from Cambridge and two Swedish girls - one gave tom a challenge to do a Swedish dance called the Bugg whilst he is in Oz. They all disappeared one by one leaving just me and Tom there, the Man Utd vs. Arsenal game was on so I was pre occupied with this and then Tom spotted Bruce from the corner of his eye, he was too drunk to get let into Beaches so we finished our drinks and too him to Magnums for a drink. We were watching the football and Bruce didn't seem that drunk until he fell off the bench when Rooney missed a penalty. He then went to the toilet and was never seen again, my guess is he stumbled back home to sleep or he tried to get into Beaches again. We were fairly drunk too, so after the Utd game where we got an impressive 2-1 victory over Arsenal we headed to McDonalds and then back to the hostel.
The next day we woke up in a fragile state, we were meant to hitch hike to Mackay, our next destination, but we were in no state to do this, so decided to book the bus instead making life a lot simpler. We chilled out, until the bus come where we were headed to Mackay to meet a man called Roger about a job cleaning dishes in his pub.
So read again next time where unanswered questions may be answered. Such as will Roger give us a job cleaning dishes?, how will Mackay be? And will Tom ever get better at painting faces?
So until next time stay safe and take care