Whitsundays, 23rd - 25th September 2010
Where oh where to begin!
We got to Airlie beach the day before the cruise and rather than sorting everything then, we both crashed out as we'd been partying hard the night before. Even got a Maccy D's for dinner - sacrilege against the Detox, but absolute heaven. :)
So the next morning we checked in for the cruise and she gave us 15 minute directions. Having a whole hour to get there we went shopping and managed to get the booze, soft drinks, a bikini, hats, beach towels, suntan lotion and a beach bag - whirlwind shopping trip, but glad to know I've still got it. I can't wait to hit Bluewater when I'm back!! Anyway, 15 minutes would be adequate if it was sign posted correctly and the map hadn't been photocopied into oblivion. We got there in just the nick of time, handed over our shoes (no shoes what-so-ever on the boat - won't need the evening pumps then, doh) and off we went.
We were on a Catamaran called Power Play and we secured our spot at the front of the boat on the netting. I felt like a movie star laying there, sunning it up in my new bikini whilst sailing through the Whitsundays.
Then the goddesses of rain struck again and the 'rough seas ahead' began. This was hilarious to start with and every time we went over a wave we were getting soaked from all directions including underneath as we were laying on the netting. We layed out there about another half hour until it became beyond ridiculous and we all moved to the back of the boat.
After a couple of hours we got to Whitehaven Beach which is the second best beach in the world. We all piled into the dingy to take us to shore, but as the sea was so rough it couldn't get too close for fear of getting beached. If we'd managed to keep even a bit dry on the ride to shore that was about to be thrown to the wind (or into the sea more like) and we all had to jump out when we were about waist high.
We absolutely couldn't believe it. This is the Whitsunday's for Pete's sake, it's meant to be a tropical paradise! Anyway there's no point dwelling on things like that, we are afterall the Goddesses of rain, and we all ran back into the huge crashing waves. The sea was unbelievably warm which was shocking as I expected it to be cold as the weather was so bad. We started walking across Whitehaven Beach and passed a large shallow inlet no more than knee high, which was full of sting rays. There were also loads of markings on the sand where they had been before the tide had gone out.That was pretty spooky as I was worried one might still be in its hole and we'd stand on it. Thankfully that was not to be. We were all absolutely soaked and our sun glasses had changed function from sunnies to rain protectors. It was such a surreal experience. The sand we were walking across was a very fine dazzling white sand that is 98% pure silica. They believe the sand was brought to this beach by prevailing winds over 1 million years ago, so has been bashed around by elements since before then which is why all the colour has been stripped. Each grain of sand is also perfectly round, and that makes it feel like you're walking on powdered snow. It's so fine that you can clean your jewellery in it, and if you get any of it in your phone or camera, well you may very well have to send them off to camera / phone heaven. It also didn't feel like normal sand. It was like walking on dusty powered snow, and our heels were sinking so far into the sand that I felt like I was in a step class - butt crunches ahoy! :)
The boat had sailed round to a more sheltered location in a bay on the other side of the island, so we headed towards the rainforest entrance to take the path over there. Unfortunately in all the craziness of getting to shore, the crew had forgotten one very important item - the shoe bag! The rain had really started to come down again and although the trees provided shelter from the wind, it was like running through a rain forest whilst having a shower following us the whole way.
I really love the randomness that travelling brings with it. I never in a million years thought I'd be running through a rain forest, barefoot, in a bikini, soaking wet and still pouring with rain. :)
After about 15 minutes we got to the infamous Whitsundays lookout. However, rather than being greeted with one of the World's most breathtaking views we were rained off by it stinging us all in the face. Nice. We tried to take the rain protectors off and quickly thought better of it, and then ran back into the forest for some protection. Fecking marvellous! Apparently it's unseasonably wet right now and it should be the best time of year to visit. Well beam me up scotty to the land this is suppose to happen - I want off the soaked through to the bone wet train please.
We carried on running through the forest, on boardwalk, mud, wooden steps and finally stones - ohhhhh the pain!When we got back on to the boat we all got changed into dry clothes and then had the dilemma of where to hand the wet clothes. We all tied them to the side of the boat hoping that the weather would improve and they would dry over night - yeah right! There was only one thing for it, and out came the goon. :) We had a BBQ on the boat, drank lots, played games, nearly blew up the speakers and eventually passed out. Thankfully our bed was in the dining area - the tables were lowered to bed height and they put a mattress on top and we slept there. 2 other girls called Danni & Bex were sleeping on the side above where we were and all had visions of one of them rolling over and landing on top of us! Thankfully the goon seemed to knock everyone out and the next thing I recalled was being woken up to Sophie's alarm tone of Rihanna & Eminem Love the way you lie. This was actually the theme song of the whole trip, so only seemed fitting really, just ashame it went off at 5.30am!
We had breakfast and then headed back to the lookout.The view was a lot clearer but it was still raining. We posed for a load of group photos which have nice rain splodges on them and then headed back to Whitehaven Beach. We spent a couple of hours here playing in the water and posing for pics on the beach before the boat came to pick us up.
We then went to some of the islands in the north of the Whitsundays and Selena & I went snorkelling. The marine life here is very similar to the Red Sea and I would have loved to dive, but it was so expensive and quite frankly the visibility was so good there really wasn't any need to. Also Selena's not a strong swimmer and didn't know if she wanted to go snorkelling again as she'd had a freak out the last time she did it about 6 years ago in Mauritius. But before we came away I said we'd get her back in the water and I'd go with her and if anything happened I'd be there to get her back to the boat. We our gear and a couple of noodles so we could be proper lazy and not even have to worry about swimming. JWe had a wicked time and saw loads of corals, a Stout Longtom, Parrot fish, Napoleon Wrase and a blue spotted stingray. The area we were in was also a Turtle breeding ground so had seen a lot of Turtles from the boat that morning.
Did you know that like us Turtles breath air, but one of their breaths can last about 30 minutes. I was mystified as to how they then sleep under water. Apparently they slow their heart rates down to a couple of beats per minute, which means they can sleep at the bottom for 8 hours without needing to surface for air. So the first time the come to the surface in the morning they have to take 5 breathes to get their system going again. Sounds like a pretty neat trick to me!
When it came to getting back onto the boat the dingy came over to pick us up. When it got to us we were still in deep water and getting onto this thing could have been taken right out of a comedy sketch! I pulled myself up but when I was out of the water, didn't have enough momentum to spin myself round so I could whip my legs round and into the boat. The second time I tried it the skipper grabbed me and threw onto the boat. Ladies and gentleman, I introduce to you a black Neoprene Seal'. I was just expecting him to help me out but he lifted me up and somehow threw me over the other side, but as my hands were still behind me I went face first into the side of the boat. Luckily no damage done (don't worry dad, nose is still intact!), but then he did the same with Selena who landed right on top of me and then he started tickling the pair of us. Feckin hilarious and everyone else in the boat was rolling around laughing.
That night was also spent drinking an obscene amount of goon and as we started drinking so early and dinner wasn't ready til really late we kinda skipped it and just ate 2 small bread rolls each - whoops!
The next day when we woke up I couldn't even remember getting into bed and everyone cracked up at us saying we were both highly entertaining! What I do remember of the evening involved dancing on deck, nearly blowing up the speakers with a Tiesto mix, getting everyone to do their favourite porn star poses and a water fight with the skipper.
The next morning we decided to go snorkelling before breakfast and quite frankly I think we were both still drunk. Selena cracked me up as the day before she'd been well nervous and today she just jumped in. When we first got in the water she couldn't work out why she couldn't breath whilst looking at the fish - err maybe you should try breathing through that thing on the side of your head?! Ahhh yeah, a snorkel! Lmao! We were on a drift too so the boat took us pretty far away and then we just floated back to the boat. She didn't even freak out when we were in deep water - she must have been pissed! Lol.
Airlie Beach 22nd & 25th - 28th September 2010
Not a lot was done here. We caught up on sleep, got use to being back on land - I swear everything was rocking for days, topped up the tans and went out drinking a couple of nights in the hostel bar where house spirit and mixers are $3 during their 7 hour happy hour - Caroline I wish you were here!