The long awaited (probably not) Airlie beach blog has finally arrived, its not as if we are now in New Zealand or anything......
So after a 14hour bus from Cairns we rolled into Airlie Beach at sunset (yes another sunset) and were welcomed by the 14 hour difference in temperature! In Cairns it doesnt really get that cold, ever. If you go south for 14hours, its a different story!! But, it was sunny and we knew the next day we were going sailing so we wandered into our Hostel (Magnums for those in the know) and were greeted by a wooden hut with no sheets or blankets!! Great start, especially to a cold evening! The thing is with our travelling all these little things never seem to bother us. I dont know who said it but somewhere at somepoint someone said 'Dont sweat the small things' and I now think that they were travelling when they made that remark! It is impossible to complain about anything when the next day you are doing something new and you are on the other side of the world!
That night we had a few night caps, wrapped up and bedded in fairly early as, after speaking to others, you dont get much sleep on the boats! How right they would turn out to be!
The morning brought glorious sunshine so we relaxed on the beach before heading off to the dock to get onboard habibi, our boat of choice. You are not allowed to take on sleeping bags or your travel bags on the baots to prevent bed bugs, turns out someone had something which was festering in them, so one half of the boat was dinner for a familly of bugs. Luckily that was not our half of the boat! Very amusing, when its not you!
After some boring introduction and buying essentials (goon and ice) we set sail for whitsundays. The boat had 25 people on board and.....anyone else think this sounds more like a poorly written essay?!! I shall try and liven it up a wee bit...
SMASH, the water was choppy and was infested with things designed to kill. The huge waves battered the small vessel as its inhabitants, almost careless of their well being held onto their cups of goon. Wave after wave, cup after cup, both the weather and the crew deteriorated, finally coming to rest four hours later just off Whitehaven beach. Little did the crew know that the next morning they would be graced with the sight at 630am of two English gentlemen bearing all on the nearby white sands.
Ok so it wasnt that choppy but the drinks certainly flowed freely! We were fortunate enough to get an actual team who loved to sail rather than just motorboat around. This meant that although progress was slow, the sails were up and the wind was doing all the work for us. True sailing. There is nothing quite like watching whales from the side of a boat in clear blue water whilst fully aware that the boom could knock you in at any point!
So, this sleep we were told we werent going to get. It involved, for us at least, two beds in a corridor, one above the other about shoulder width aprt. Suprisingly comfortable but on a boat, when the sun comes up, you get up. 6am it was then!
So we jumped in the dingy and were ferried onto the empty 7km long perfect 99%white sand beach just after sunrise. When I say empty i mean it, we were the only people for 7kms. After frolecking for a while, getting naked, taking pictures, playing footy we were back on the boat to head round to a few snorkelling spots. I had never snorkelled the GBReef before so I was fairly excited. After slipping into our fetching stinger suits we were in. Not 5 minutes after 80% of the people were out. Cold it was, but to be honest I didnt think it was that bad. It was considerably worse when you got out and were greeted by the sea breeze.
We went to two different dive spots before sailing to our overnight destination, and what a place. Secluded, shaded and still with, yes I know, another perfect sunset. Red sun as it went down, nice. There was also eagles soaring above a fishing right next to the boats. It was all topped off with goon and garlic bread. A pleasant evening definitely!
The next morning we (me and one other lad as everyone else didnt fancy it) were in the water before sunrise. Probably crazier than solar powered lightbulbs, the water was like Ice and dark so you couldnt see anything!!! We waited it out and as soon as the sun came out, the water took on a whole new persona. Wildlife everywhere, clear water, great visibility, but by then I thought I was a floating popsicle so sacked it off and went for breaky!!
The sail back was spectacular. The captain set a course for home and the wind did the rest. It was bumpy, but hey, its the sea so you get used to it.
Overall, the whitsundays is a really picturesque place but I would reccommend doing it in the summer!! We loved it though and we definitely took some awesome memorys away from it, along with a new found respect for the sea breeze!!!
Next stop, rainbow Beach and fraiser Island!!!