Well we've spent just over a week in Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. Weather hasn't been all that tropical with quite a few rain showers and lots of wind. But the showers are only short and its still very hot when the sun shines through.
We spent the first two days relaxing by the lagoon (you can't swim in the sea here because of the jellyfish) and having a final attempt at improving our tans. Then we set off on our 3 day Whitsunday cruise on the 'Kora' catamaran. The trip was a bit too much of a party boat for our liking but we still had a good time staying on South Molle Island (finally getting a private room, if you ignore the spiders) and lazing on Whitehaven Beach, the 4th most beautiful beach in the world apparently! Whitehaven has silicon soft white sand, just like you see on the telly and was wonderful for the first 10 minutes when we were the only boat there. But its not so nice when another 1000 people turn up!
On the final day of our cruise we stopped off for a snorkel off Black Island where we got our first real glimpse of the Barrier Reef's coral and fish. Saw lots of fish and brightly coloured coral and thought it was quite good.
Once we returned from our cruise we had another couple of days chilling by the lagoon before we went on a dive trip with Dive Time. We were really looking forward to this trip, and although the bad weather meant that our itinery had to change it was definately our best day in the Whitsundays. Our first stop was at Luncheon Bay on Hook Island where we went for a snorkel all around the rocks and realised how much better this site was than where we had been on our cruise. The water was crystal clear and when we jumped in it was like jumping into the tanks at Sydney Aquarium. You were surrounded by hundreds of tropical fish, all sorts of colours and a vast array of coloured coral. We saw 2 giant fish which were nearly as big as me, Marc watched them swim past, while I tried to get my head out of the water as fast as I could! We think we identified them on the chart on the boat as Potato Cod.
After our snorkel we did a scuba dive to go into deeper waters. The visibility wasn't so clear further down but we still managed to see loads more fish and coral. After lunch on the boat we moved around the island to Maureen's Cove and had a second dive. This was even better than the first going through massive areas of reef and diving down between the rocks. We swam through massive canyons, with the coral rising each side like mountains, very colourful mountains. Here we saw great shoals of fish, even our instructor was amazed by some of it, so much that he swam head first into a massive coral formation!! Much to our amusement! Only later on Marc did the same thing! Can't take men anywhere. Unfortunatley our photos didn't come out very well - lots of blue and bubbles and little dots which we could assure you were fish! Never mind i'm going to buy some postcards of the fish we saw as reminders!
Its our last day here today, and guess what, we spent it down by the lagoon. Off to Noosa tonight only a 16 hour bus ride away.