I'm going to group up a few things in this blog as I'm not going to write a different blog for each town I went to over the last week or so, both you and I would be bored!
I'll start with the Whitsundays... I arrived at Airlie beach in the morning and it had a good old rain for pretty much the whole of the day! Still I'd rather all the rain come down today leaving it nice for the sailing trip. Thankfully this came true and the sun was out the next day for my walk to the Marina.
I was on a boat called Siska, I've since been told that it's circumnavigated the globe twice and even Prince Charles has crewed it! There were 20 of us on the boat, and the first stop was going to be for Snorkelling. The first site was ok, but I don't remember seeing too much. We then went to another bay and had much more luck there, I swam alongside a couple of turtles and even saw a stingray, fun times!
We then went for a sail as there was some wind, everyone who wanted to got a go at hoisting the sail or getting the jib into place etc. A few hours later and we were in our resting spot for the night. We had a nice dinner, drank a few beers and chilled out on deck until it was time to head to bed.
The next morning we headed over to a bay just behind Whitehaven and it was a really good place to spot turtles. You only had to look at the water for a few minutes and you'd eventually see one coming up for air. We then went to a lookout for Whitehaven beach and then went to the beach itself. It was stunning! The sand was so fine and white. It reminded me of lake McKenzie from Fraser Island. Apparently the same sand was used to make the lens for the Hubble telescope! After a few hours on the beach it was time to gently make our way back to Airlie Beach, most people from the boat met up for a few jugs in one of the bars until people had to jump on busses to head to their next destination.
Next stop for me was Ayr where I was recommended to go for diving at the SS Yongala ship wreck. It was a really small dive centre and the boat that went out took only 12 people. It was amazing, the wreck had become a haven for all sorts of sea life, I saw a guitar shark, sea snakes, loads of barracuda. The wreck itself was covered in coral but there were champagne bottles and light fittings still on the sea bed.
Then on up to Cairns! I only had a few days here. First thing I wanted to do was to dive the Great Barrier Reef and I'm glad I did. The coral is just stunning to look at, went swimming with turtles, saw a scorpion fish and a stingray. Pictures will go on FBook when I can get to a PC.
Then my last day in Cairns was spent on a tour of the Atherton Tablelands. It's a bit like a table top in between a few mountains. There's loads of sugar, banana and other foods growing in massive plantations. The tour took us to a couple of waterfalls and lakes. The whole area was a lush green colour and rainforest just everywhere! We also stopped at a Spanish castle which had taken a bit of a beating by the numerous cyclones to have hit N Queensland over the years. Still the history and the story of the castle was fascinating. The guy who built it made it the first private hydro powered residence in Oz way back in 1930 which is impressive. The couple that own it now refurbished the turbines and generate so much power for the grid that they make money by selling electricity to the power companies!
Sadly this was the end of my time in Queensland, next stop Byron Bay to meet Sarah and Georgia for Xmas!