On the bus we met two of the girls who were in our group for the Fraser trip, so that was good. We arrived early in the morning so just lazed around by the lagoon for the day trying to catch up on some much needed sleep. At 7pm on 27th March we headed down to the pier for our 3 night sailing trip on the Whitsunday islands. The boat, Anaconda III was nice, pretty new looking and a decent size. There were 30 of us on board plus 7 crew. After a quick briefing about the ship and everything on board (which included them telling us we were only allowed one 1 minute shower per day) we set sail. We were shown to our cabin, which as bad luck would have it, was right at the front of the boat, the 'roller coaster room' they called it. They weren't wrong. With both of us on top bunks, it was a night of sporadic sleep which included plenty of us desperately clinging onto the bed preying not to be flung off.
After we'd woken up our mood improved drastically when we realised we'd reached Whitehaven beach. This was a awesome stretch of sand. In the shallows we did some scuba training, learning the basics, which was cool, don't think I could ever really get used to breathing under water. We also met some Canadians on the beach who'd been in our Fraser group, so we had a nice little reunion! That afternoon we set sail to Bait reef. This was the scene of mine and Westall's disasterous scuba dive, or in Westall's case his attempted scuba dive. So we got all geared up and jumped in. The instructor, Justin, started talking us down, about 2 meters down Westall frantically starts making the “I've got a problem” sign. Justin keeps telling him to equalize (when you pinch your nose, close your mouth and blow gently), but Westall's not having any of it, and up he goes. Afterwards he was cussing himself, he couldn't quite believe he'd tried to scuba dive with his history of ear problems, but I think the train of thought was 'how many times do you get to see the great barrier reef?' Not to be deterred the rest of us carried on and we had 40 minutes down there, most of it about 12 meters down there.
That evening we nursed our wounds and thankfully had a better nights sleep, no doubt partly due to some alcohol consumed as we felt sorry for ourselves. The following morning I woke up and went out on deck to see about half the boat looking green like they were about to throw up any minute. There was more snorkeling, this was good and we saw saw a turtle right up close. I think it was that afternoon when we were sailing and this school of dolphins were swimming right up at the front of the boat. Nice moment. After another night aboard the roller coaster and 3 days without showering, we were ready to get our feet back on dry land. But for the next day whenever you stood still it still felt as though you were on the boat bobbing up and down. So we got off the boat on March 30th and spent that evening in Airlie, looking forward to another overnight bus ride to Cairns the following evening.
james and mark