Sailing the Whitsundays (no Whitty pun needed)

Trip Start Apr 09, 2010
Trip End Sep 07, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Monday, July 5, 2010

So we ventured south to Airlie Beach, boarding our overnight bus at around midnight and rolling into Airlie Beach 12 hours later, both much more tired than when we started. We checked into Magnums (winner of 'the best hostel in the world' - although we;re pretty sure this may have been self-proclaimed), and stepped up the Westernization process with a massive amount of MaccyD's.

The real reason we were in Airlie (aside from Ronald McDonald) however was to sail the Whitsunday Islands. We boarded our boat the following day with a single bag each, a box of goon and a couple of six-packs (not including James'). We met our crew - Captain Rick and dread locked, deck hand Rah (short for Ulriah, apparently) and the cook (whose name is currently escaping us), and set sail with the wind in our hair, and the sun on our backs. This soon changed as the wind picked up speed and the clouds loomed over our heads, the water became rougher and rougher, and as a result, so too did a couple of the girls on board. Sea-sickness took it's hold of a couple of our fellow sailors, and as night descended we we're both cold and wet and wondering what all the fuss was about.

However, we awoke the following morning to bright sunny skies, clear, calm waters and smiles all round. We cruised on over to the stunning Whitehaven beach, which has the finest and whitest sand you will probably ever find - so fine in fact that you can reputedly clean your gnashers with it - we tired and we're unconvinced. Clean teeth or not, the beach was superb, and the morning was made even better with a bit of beach long-jump action along with our fellow British Naval Officers, Rowe topped the charts, with a massive 3 meter effort (unconfirmed). We then made it round to 'Manta-Ray Bay' which was going to be the first of our two snorkeling sites. Before we could get into our sexy stinger suits we were amazed to realise we were being followed by a migrating whale, who kept on popping his head out of the water and whacking his tail against the water - an awesome site. We jumped off the back of the boat and we greeted with some excellent snorkeling, seeing loads of fish that we missed on our Great Barrier trip. James, now a pro-turtle spotter, came up trumps again, and swam alongside a hawks-bill turtle for 5 or so minutes before it surfaced and dived down for some privacy. We sailed through lunchtime taking in the magnificent scenery, splashing around in the water a bit more and chilling out with a beer in hand, watching the sun go down from Black Island, a tiny island that you could walk around in minutes. That evening, deck hand 'Rah provided us with some entertainment and we tucked in to a fine box of vintage goon and watched the stars with the rest of the boat.

The following morning we woke, all nursing slightly sore heads as we ventured back to Airlie beach. We arrived just after lunch and decided to meet everyone later that night. Freshly showered and power-napped we hit the vintage goon (again) and headed out to Phoenix Bar, eventually ending up at Mama Africa, via various public houses and states of inebriation. James finished off the night, with spectacular acrobatics, after falling off the top bunk in the dorm room. We spent the next day at Airlie Lagoon, before boarding yet another overnight bus to the town of 1770.
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