Welcome to our whistlestop tour of the Whitsundays!
We arrived on Tuesday morning, after a long Greyhound journey from Cairns down to Airlie Beach. Arriving at 11, we immediately tried to jump on a boat that was sailing around the islands. We managed to fill up the last places on the boat S.V. Whitehaven, but we had to be at the marina by 12! A massive rush obviously followed, in which we paid for the cruise, packed what we wanted to take on the boat, put our bags into storage, grabbed some things for lunch and caught a taxi down to the marina. We made it on time!
The crew were all really friendly, though very surfer-esque, using 'gnarly' and 'sick' to describe everything! Almost immediately after leaving the shelter of the harbour the rains came down, the water got choppy and the boat started leering all over the place. I was glad I'd taken seasickness tablets! It definitely wasn't what we imagined our sailing trip was going to be like. It rained sporadically on and off for the rest of the day, and when it wasn't raining it was very overcast. This meant it felt pretty cold on board, with the wind. We were sharing our room below deck with two other people, who strangely enough, happened to be from Leicester! We ended up having some really weird conversations to be having whilst sailing around the Whitsunday Islands! The sun did manage to poke its head through in the late afternoon, just as we were going snorkelling, which made the visibility in the water much clearer, though this spot wasn't as good as when we were in Cairns. We had some really good food on board the boat, chicken curry one night and spaghetti bolognese the other, with tasty snacks beforehand. We also had loads of biscuits and fruit cake as an afternoon snack!
We were woken yesterday morning by the sound of the boat's engine at 6.30am, nice and early. The weather didn't really improve, but we did get to see Whitehaven beach. This place was amazing, even with the rain. We've already decided the photos really don't do it justice! Whacking on our stinger suits, we went for a swim despite the rain. There were loads of sand bars that you could reach from the main shoreline, and we got some great views over the beach from a viewpoint at Tongue Point. The afternoon was spent snorkelling at Blue Pearl Bay, which was much better than yesterday's snorkelling. There seemed to be loads of fish, and there was another giant maori wrasse here, this time named Elvis. He loved to be fed fish balls, and when he lurched for one Jo was feeding him she let out a startled squeal!
Today we simply put up our sails and headed back for Airlie Beach through some really rough waters. Joe and I both felt pretty ill, although Jo was fine, and we had to stay up on deck to get some fresh breezes and keep our eyes on the horizon. It felt really strange getting off the boat on to dry land, as we felt we were still swaying, and it took me a while to get over my lethargy and perk up a bit! The rest of the day was spent waiting around Airlie until our Greyhound bus tonight to Hervey Bay. We did some washing, had lunch and browsed around some of the shops.
Our bus is at 8.05, so we're hoping the journey goes as smoothly as the last one, and we escape some of this awful weather! We can't complain though, the Whitsundays were still amazing, despite the rain.