Airlie Beach - one overnight bus journey later and it's 630 am - here we are. Now, as everyone does when they come here, we are going to sail the Whitsunday islands! But first we 'sleep walk' through the day, check out the man made lagoon, check-in for our bat the next day, eat, shop - find the last Matt Reilly (crazy Oz author) book i need to read, and just relax. Packed a bag for 2 nights on a boat...
Sailing day - so we stock up on some beers, most others are on 'the goon' - the cheapest wine available, sold in cartons. Dump our rucksacks at Peterpan's travel agents and head for the fine vessel that is the Passions of Paradise - not one Oz on board, cpt and 2 other crew from the UK. Room below deck is cozy, get a double bed in a room for 8 people, air-conditioned....nice! Sail out to the first bay, anchor by 530 for dinner in a breeding area for sharks - so tranquil and relaxed - saw a squid appear then shoot ink and disappear, cool.
The next day we are up at 630 thanks to the noisy Cat, who looks after us in the galley for the trip - great food, and plenty to eat - sail to beautiful Whitehaven Beach - you can see the outlines of where stingrays have been basking when the tides out - also visible in the shallows from shore! Postcard perfect beach! Stinger suits (jellyfish protection) recommended for swimmers - i didn't go in! Back on the boat, chugged over to another bay for snorkelling, people dropped off by the tender (little dinghy) - stinger suits required - i passed on this occasion. Sharan went and really enjoyed it - i got the whole boat to myself as the other 30 people were away for about an hour - ah, peaceful. Had a lovely dinner, then drank and watched the sun go down - made people sing their national anthem to retrieve drinks from the 'eski's' (coolerboxes). Cat started catching squid, they squirted ink and water everywhere when caught. No bait required - i caught the biggest one - they were served up at breakfast the next day - fresh! Highlight was seeing Steve the Dolphin and his mate, a large Trevellian - so amazing to see live and in the wild! Some people slept on the deck, i preferred the bed and air con :O)
Last day on the water, i decided to join in on the snorkelling - and there were jellyfish every bloody where - i thought this was how it was the day before but Sharan and some others indicated this was not the case - so i got the Cpt to hook us out of the water asap! D'oh. Bad timing really, these months are notorious for jellyfish activity. Sailed back to Airlie Beach - lucky we made the trip as Cyclone Hamish was going to be closing in over the next couple of days and all trips would be cancelled.
Spent the afternoon swimming in the man-made jelly-free lagoon (swimming pool).
A great adventure on the high seas, met some great characters - met up in the evening for drinks and pizza - much hilarity ensued.
The next day we headed to Townsville/Magnetic Island