Trip Start Jul 26, 2004
Trip End May 31, 2005

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Flag of Australia  ,
Thursday, November 18, 2004

Let's wrap up our trip of Australia-Part one:

It was with great sadness in our hearts and tears in our eyes that we departed the Town of 1770. Okay, that was a bit melodramatic, but we did really love the place, and we were not relishing the 10 hour overnight bus ride we had ahead of us. Despite being cramped in the seats, (more Chris than Lara) and having to listen to inane chatter in a variety of languages, we arrived bright and early at our destination, Airlie Beach.

Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday islands, and many people stop here to chill for a day or two before heading out sailing, snorkeling and/or diving. The town has all the making of a Spring Break oasis, with a beautiful beach and lagoon area, many bars, and a lot of cheap backpacker accommodation. We settled into our hostel, just 10 minutes from the main strip and prepared ourselves for our sailing trip which we were to depart on the next day.

So... ( cue music) Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started on a sailing boat
Headed for the Whit(Sundays)

The mate was a mighty sailin' man,
the skipper brave and sure.
9 passengers set sail that day,
for a 3-day tour...a 3-day tour

The weather started off quite nice,
our first day we just cruised,
our day was spent aboard the boat
where we chillaxed, snorkeled, and snoozed

The next 2 days the wind was fierce,
the water was more rough
No worries for us, we loved it all,
as we are pretty tough

The boat it rocked from side to side,
the waves came rolling over
at night we docked and ate our food
and drank our Bundy (Aussie rum) and cola

With Gilligan (alright he wasn't there but a guy named Scottie was)
The Skipper (Brian) too
A millionaire and his wife (that would be us- hah)
A movie star (more like a dental hygienist from North York)
Professor and Maryanne (2 students from Sweden- Matias and Annie)
All on the Independent Endeavour!

It was just like the TV show except for the crashing on a deserted island, the coconut phones, the skipper constantly smacking Gilligan (Scottie) around...and we don't refer to one another as "Lovey", just "Lover". If you get a chance to get down this way a trip to the Whitsundays is a must. It was one of our highlights so far. Our ship was a winner of a round the world trip and three Sydney to Hobart races (a big thing here). We sailed in style with great accommodation (wood and teak interior) and great food (we didn't cook, Yay!). Over the three days Chris got quite a workout as one of two men travelling with our skip and hostie. He was hauling sails, and at the end of each day had a couple of well deserved drinks. With the wind whipping up on the last two days we had a good opportunity to see how a world class sailing ship performs. The winds were so sharp that they tore one of our sails!

We learned a little bit about how to sail (although we won't be buying a boat when we get back -unless it's cheaper than a house) while visiting some excellent snorkeling spots and mooring at night to watch some beautiful sunsets and count the millions of stars. On our second day we visited the world famous Whitehaven Beach, noted as the second best beach in the world (Stop the presses! Who has the job of rating the best beaches in the world?!!...and do they need an HR consultant and a teacher to help them?). We couldn't imagine a more beautiful place. White powder sand, pristine blue water. There were even tiny little sharks in the water. Awesome!

Whitehaven was a wonderful place to have as a backdrop to our STINGER(swinger) suits. These skin tight lycra suits were used to protect us from the potentially harmful stings of tiny, mostly unseen, jellyfish that occur on this coast for six months out of the year. We think the SUITS are simply a way for the crew to get a laugh as we tourists prance about in the water wearing skintight uniforms that could be found at a Star Trek convention. Nonetheless, we wore them any time we were in the water and nobody was stung.

Back on the bus. Destination: Townsville. We stayed only one night because even though it is the second largest city in Queensland, there wasn't much going on. It was like an answer to a riddle. What if you created a city and nobody cared, what would you have? Townsville. It was a good place to springboard into what began a week of relaxation. Now we know what you're thinking: relaxation, all they're doing is sailing and swimming. That can be very taxing! However, living out of a backpack and staying in a different place almost every night can be quite exhausting. Okay, still no pity...we'll move on.

We took a short ferry ride from Townsville to a small island called Magnetic Island. We stayed in a very cool hostel that had an extremely laid back vibe. There was a saltwater pool on the premises surrounded by hammocks, and a short walk to a great beach. Our accommodation consisted of a very small air conditioned(whoowee!) hut, just big enough to fit a bed and us. It was set out on a property that was also home to many birds, including 2 peacocks and a gazillion rainbow lorikeets. Very pretty animals, but loud. At night the possums came out to play, or try and eat our food- hey, we're on a budget- no mooching! We had our first (of many we are sure) modeling gig. We were photographed to be on the new webpage of the hostel which should come out in the new year- We hope to make a living at this someday, but we may have passed our prime.

Next update:

Lara's Nirvana
Meet the Parents( Koretskys not Fockers)
Chris makes friends with the Sharks

Until then...we miss you. Keep sending us updates on your lives when you get a chance

L and C
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