I travelled south from Cairns to a stop off point for the Whitsunday islands called Airlie Beach. It was a nice little backpacker spot which had a respectable beach but it rained the two days I was there so I didn't have much hope for the weather for my sailing trip. On the morning of the first day I met a couple of Canadians at my hostel who were on my sailing boat so we walked down to the marina to await the trip. Our boat was really impressive, it was called Avatar and was sort of like a small catamaran boat. We first met our crew which consisted of an Aussie, an American and a Swede and then got on board. There were about twenty of us on the boat and the span of nationalities was huge. There were people from Sweden, Canada, Ireland, Wales, Italy, France, Switzerland, Holland and a couple of English. Everyone was really great and I made some good friends over the three days of sailing.
Our first activity on the boat was to sail to a snorkelling spot beside an island called Coral Cove. It was really good for visibility and the range and colour of fish was pretty decent. We then spent the rest of the day sailing around some of the smaller islands in the area before throwing down the anchor for the night between a couple of small islands. The Swede on board did the cooking and he made a decent job of it in a pretty cramped kitchen. The next day we unfortunately woke up to a fair bit of rain and my little hole that I slept in even leaked a bit. We were due to sail to Whitehaven Beach that morning and it was a bit disappointing that it was raining when we got off to explore the national park around Whitehaven. It's voted one of the top 5 beaches in the world and it's sand is something like 98% silicon. It was still a great experience walking around the beach with its swirling paths of sand and the sand itself was amazingly fine. We also went to a lookout point at the top of the island but the visibility wasn't great because of the rain. Once we got back to the boat our captain told us he was going to sail us to another beach that he knew was sunny. Once there we jumped off the boat agan for some more snorkelling and a bit of exploring of the beach. It was a great beach and at one end of it you could see the horizon for 360 degrees and hear a pin drop. It was absolutely amazing. It's hard to believe that places like that exist in the world. We found another good night spot and that evening we spotted some dolphins playing around at sunset which was another really remarkable experience. The day just got better and better after the disappointment of waking up to heavy rain.
On the final day we woke up to almost completely blue skies and the whole of the Whitsundays looked very different. The water seemed to reflect its turquoisy-blue glint onto the island mountains and it was truly spectacular. Our boat battery for the engine didn't start that morning so the captain had to take the dingy to another boat to get a replacement. We were all happy that it happened because it meant we got another couple of hours on the boat when the islands were looking their true best. We then sailed back to Airlie Beach marina and sadly disembarked the Avatar. We walked back to Airlie and then went our separate ways. I was quite sad to leave the place both for the amazing scenery and the people I'd met. The same day I caught the bus down to Hervey Bay where I spent the night before travelling again the next day down to Brisbane and the next great adventure hopefully awaiting.