Ooooo arrrrrr, shiver me timbers!

Trip Start Aug 08, 2011
Trip End Jul 22, 2013

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Solway Las!

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, January 29, 2012

Well our 1st Uk visitors have arrived! Rachel and Sarah, friends of mine since I was a baby, arrived on the 18th January. After a few days in brisbane they headed to Byron Bay. Unfortunately I was on nights so unable to show them around much, but atleast about in the early evenings to make sure they had their 1st aussie BBQ! A few days later and my night shifts were over and we were off to Queensland to test out our sea legs!

The night before we left we saw a weather forecast predicting heavy rain and storms for the Whitsundays so we were expecting the trip to be a slight let down! However the gods were in our favour and although the weather on mainland was as predicted, pretty awful, somehow we escaped it! Although only a few miles away from mainland, we had beautiful blue skies and very hot temperatures (up to 38 degrees!) And yes we got a little burnt despite wearing very high factor sunscreen, applying regularly and covering up as much as possible!

Our boat, The Solway Lass, was 111 years old and had an impressive history. She was one of the biggest boats sailing the islands and looks like a pirate ship complete with tall sails, a pirate flag and a rope swing into the sea! There were 35 passengers on board but the ship was big enough that it never felt crowded. We were relieved that it was a mix of ages on board as we wanted to avoid the party boats which are common with a lot of backpackers! We quickly found a group of people a similar age to us that we became friends with and spent a lot of time with throughout the 4 days. Nicole and Alex were a couple who had taken a sabbatical at work to travel India, Australia and S America. Anthony was an aussie visiting on his own on his time off and Tatjana was a swiss girl doing an english course in Australia for 7 weeks (although her english was already very good!)

We started the trip in the evening and spent it getting to know our new friends and admiring the stars from the front of the boat as we sailed to a harbour to stop over night. Our cabin that we slept in was tiny with barely any space to move let only put our belongings. We could only get one of us in the room at a time unless we were in bed! The showers were actually in the toilet cubicles and they were more cramped than even a normal cubicle! We were restricted to 2 min showers - much to the disgust of most girls on board!!

After a good nights sleep (I had been awake for 72 hours minus a 3 hour nap before the flight!) we awoke to find it a bit cloudy but the weather soon cleared up. It was beginning to get nice by the time we got to Whitehaven beach but it was a shame we didnt arrive a few hours later because the afternoon was gorgeous weather! Whitehaven beach is ranked the no 1 ecotourism beach in the world. You may have seen photos of white swirling sands with shallow aqua water. It was just as beautiful but the tides were in so it wasn't the typical view of swirling sands. The sand is so white as its made of silica. Good for exfoliating, cleaning jewellery and best of all, it doesnt get hot so you can walk along the beach without feeling like you're walking on hot coals!! We went down onto the beach for some R&R. We went for  a swim in the crystal clear water and saw baby sharks and stingrays just metres from the beach! Fortunately mummy and dadddy shark did not seem to be babysitting baby shark!

That afternoon we relaxed and read our books as we sailed to the next cove. There we did our 1st bit of snorkelling which was fantastic. Some of the fish were so colourful - like rainbows! It was Rach and Sarahs 1st go at snorkelling and they really enjoyed it too. That evening we were all pretty tired - all that sea air! So it was a group meal and then an early night. Not so peaceful as planned as the air con broke. I suspect temperatures exceeded 40 degrees at night so no one slept well. But atleast it meant I was up at dawn and got a few photos of the earie lighting.

The sun soon came up and we spent most of our day snorkelling and sunabthing in a few different locations. A very relaxed and fun day. It was actually Australia day ( a public holiday) so that meant lots of drinks in the evening up on the sun deck, watching the sun go down, drinking champagne and dancing a little too close to the edge - luckily there was no 'man overboard'!

On our last day we went on a little walk to see some aboriginal cave paintings. The views were fantastic. The water looked so green from our views looking from the hills! We also got our 1st turtle sighting on the way over. The rest of the day was spent jumping in and out of the water to escape the heat. There was also a rope swing which was greatt fun - lots of people having competitions - who could climb the highest or do the best double backflip from it! The 2 kids on board were fantastic - they were only about 6 years old but they were jumping about 10feet into the ocean, climbing the rope and swinging upside down on it - no fear!!

We were reluctant to leave the boat but as we were equally excited about seeing Fraser Island, it made it slightly easier to tear ourselves from the life of luxury we had become accustomed too. We had a night out in Airlie beach before saying our goodbyes and flying back to Brisbane.
We're here now on Fraser Island but as time is running out, I'll update you on this trip later! I have lots of photos to come but they will need editing 1st as I've taken approx 700 in 5 days! So watch this space... (I promise not to put all 700 up!!)
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