Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday islands, Australian Capital Territory
Airlie Beach and sailing trip around Whitsundays
We turned up at Airlie Beach hoping that we could just hop aboard a boat that day, but as things are wont to do when you try arranging them last minute, there were no more boats. Instead we booked for the next day and stayed in Airlie Beach that night. AB certainly caters for backpackers with several large hostels, all with buzzing bars. The Ashes also of course was on with most Brits drowning their sorrows. Trust me to have tickets to the 2 tests which will mean absolutely nothing as it seems imminent that us Pommies are on course for a thrashing 3-0 defeat. Ah well. Our boat didnt leave until 2pm the next day so we had another night out. Ring of fire was once more indulged in, this time, with our dorm buddies. It seems we always end up being the only girls in these dorms, but I am not complaining.... Airlie Beach has a lovely lagoon, read outdoor swimming pool, and I thought 4am a great time for a nocturnal dip! What wasn't so great was having to check out by 10 the following morning.
Everyone who goes to Airlie Beach does a sailing trip around the WS. Our trip was 2 nights, 3 days. We were a little disappointed when it transpired that there were only 8 people on our boat, when the Catamaran could hold up to 50. A german couple whose PDA offences were multiple and 5 girls does not bode well for a 'party atmosphere'. Still armed with our 5 litres of Goon (cheap wine in a box), there was still potential. However, I was feeling worse for the wear the first day along with most of the others I think (people out here seem to be permanently drunk or hungover), so the first night was a very tame affair, much to the despair of our crew. I think the skipper (giles) and dive instructor (sam) took offence to us after that because they were, to put it bluntly, utter s***s for the rest of the trip. Anyways, onto more positive aspects of the trip:
The whitsundays are amazing, and yes I will use that word! It was great to be aboard, and at least with such few numbers, we had plenty of room to chill out, plus we didnt have to camp out and could sleep aboard, which also meant we could see more of the Whitsundays themselves. The first day we simply spent sailing for about 4 hrs - sailing is certainly great for sunbathing and it was baking hot! We got talking to the other girls on the boat, who were all from Scarborough. That evening we enjoyed some delicious food cooked by the resident chef, and watched the sunset.
The next day was much busier. We were up by 6am to have breakfast (weetabix yummy) before being dropped off at Whitehaven beach on Whitsunday Island itself. It certainly is a highlight of the islands with white silica sand making it the most beautiful beach I have certainly ever seen, and at 8am it was pretty deserted. We also went to thelook out to get particular good photos of the view, before spending a couple of hours in the sun on the beach itself.
We then went to a place called Tongue Bay, allegedly where some captain dude had his tongue bitten out by a fish! The certified divers did their free dive, whilst the rest of us went snorkelling. We all had to wear stinger suits. I felt like a bit of a bond girl in it, though they werent all that sexy! See pics! Snorkelling was great as we were on the edge of the barrier reef. After lunch it was time for us to go scuba diving. Forutnately since I have been diving before, I wasnt all that nervous. Sam and Amy both decided to do a dive too. Our dive instructor however turned out to be rather impatient, despite having first time divers. Sam had some problems with her regulator whilst practising the skills underwater, and with the dive instructor (also Sam) being anything but encouraging, was dissuaded to come with us, which was such a shame. Anyhow we carried on and saw some great stuff. The reef itself is incredible. We found nemo not once but 3 times! We only went down to 8metres but for a free dive as part of the ticket, it wasn't bad value at all. We then did some more snorkelling later that day around Luncheon Bay opposite the ultra exclusive Hamilton Island where they charge you about 50GBP just for stepping onto the island! That evening, we saw another stunning sunset and got stuck into our goon. We played an entertaing round of Twister before moving onto 'Eat the Box.' This involves getting the carboard box from the goon and placing it in the centre. Each person in turn has to bend down and pick the box up with their teeth, without touching the floor with their arms. If you fall over twice, your punishment was to be hit rather hard on the posterior by a cricket bat - which was a bit too jackass style for me! I would have preferred just to have drunk. Once everyone in the circle has successfully 'eaten the box', you tear some off it so having to bend down lower and lower. The box ended up being a flat piece of cardboard. Unfortunately this was my downfall and I bowed out in the last round and succumbed to the cricket bat, but Sam managed to emege victorious and free from a beating!!
We then played 'I have never' with the girls, whilst the crew and their moronic aussie friends recruited from some other boat, retired to the stern of the boat. Seriously, I know the Britsh laddish culture gets a bad press but aussie guys are no better.
Day 3 was spent pretty much just sailing back to Airlie Beach - the segregation between crew and customer becoming ever more apparent. That said, the trip itself was great and we had a good time with Yorkshire girls and I got to go diving finally! We left Airlie Beach that night and caught the overnight Greyhound bus to Hervey Bay, from where we are doing a 2 day guided tour of Fraser Island.