Today was my first day of my sailing course with the Whitsunday Marine Academy to become 'competent crew'. Two other people were doing the course with me; Georgie from London (although she has been in Australia so long now she might as well be an Auzzie!) and Sasha from Switzerland. We were on the boat Eureka II - a bloody nince 'Sydney 60' racing boat that has taken part in the Sydney-Hobart race a few times and can get upto speeds of 30 knots! We spent the morning getting to grips with all the parts of the boat and their correct nautical terms before the passengers came aboard. With them we're going to spend 3 days at sea with the skipper and boatie, Matty and Zack. Matty is a great teacher, with a very imaginative mind that helps to explain some of the more complex points, such as 'trim' and getting the sails in perfect shape whilst Zack is your typical chilled out Aussie and incredibly tanned!
Sailing out of the harbour for the first time was exciting with a race to raise the main and head sail before cruising at 20knots to a prime snorkelling destination. I steered the boat round to the bay where we stayed the night. Everyone spent the evening up on deck after dinner, looking at the sunset and stars. There were so many of them and all incredubly bright. All the passengers were really nice, and Sasha's funny. Only one blonde moment so far when I mistook the compass on the mast for a UFO - oops!
Today was a day of R&R for most people, although there was more learning in store for us. However, Sasha and I still managed to escape onto Whitehaven Island to walk upto the Lookout Point and take some great pictures when the sun came out before wandering down to the beach-incredibly beautiful but swimmers look pretty stupid in their 'stinger suits'! We went snorkelling again in the afternoon near Hook Island and saw lots of yellow butterfly fish, parrot fish and colourful coral.
The evening was really fun up on deck; two Mancunian girls were particularly amusing (one of them pretty smashed!) so we were up drinking and joking before turning in. We anchored nearby to Hayman Island which is the major luxury resort, with rooms costing upwards of $1000 and no fewer than one staff member for every two guests!
Today was a change over day so we got a new group of passenger and a change of crew. Sasha had blatantly had enough of pulling up sails by now and made us pretty jealous by bragging about his 5 star hotel room awaiting him whilst Georgie and I have more nights on beds 50cm wide with no showers and 2 loos shared between 15 people!
We were also a bit nervous about the next skipper too, because we were told he could be a bit intimidating with a booming voice. In fact there was nothing to worry about! Pete (the skipper) was actually really cool, and an ex-economist and keen golfer so not hard for me to get along with! Charlie, the skipper from England was also really nice. We had a group of Irish guys on board this time. Their accents were so broad I originally thought they were from Hungary, and it got even harder to understand what they were saying as they started on the 120 beers they had brought on board!