Wet and Windy in the Whitsundays - Day 1

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Monday, October 17, 2011

I popped my first tab. A little nervous at the results. All I wanted was to have a good time, to enjoy the trip.

On advice from the girl at the meeting point, I popped my second straight away. It's best to take two first time out as it gets the system prepped. Kate took two also.

We met the Australian skipper Steve and an Irish girl Decky Emma. Steve has been working with boats for years and he used to own the 'Prima’, the vessel we would be spending the next 2 days and 2 nights. He’s semi retired now but is doing a favour for the new owner while the ship is being renovated. Prima is a 40ft single hull boat (probably a yacht but I don’t know the difference). She has seen better days and has been treated a bit poorly in the 10 years since Steve owned her – but shes more than comfortable for us.

We sit down for the briefing up on deck and Steve is a typical Aussie. He’s friendly, chilled and has a casual sense of humour. Plenty of jokes are added to the briefing to put us all at ease and he has a great bit of banter with Emma, relatively new to the job but with a comfortable relationship with Steve.

We set sail (well actually Steve turns on the engine and we chug out of the harbor under power) and head out to the open sea between Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands.

Straight away I feel ill sitting low down in the boat. I put myself up on deck and stay there. Sitting alongside the starboard side of the boat (starboard = right hand side – the left is port as you should always ask the question "is there any port left?" ).

It just so happened that this is the side all of the waves would hit us and I along with a few German girls took the brunt of the weather. Kate headed below to avoid any more of the sea-spray and ended up falling asleep pretty rapidly.

The sea was choppy as the weather was somewhat breezy. After two days of glorious weather in Airlie, sadly the moment we jumped on board Prima, the sun disappeared behind a cloud and a the remnants of a storm front from the South hit us.

We passed between a couple of islands close to Airlie between a very thin straight and headed straight for the main Whitsunday Island.  Once clear of these two islands the breeze picked up a bit and Steve felt it sufficient to open the head-sail. All awake were asked to sit on the Bow side as the sail filled. The first major gust turned the boat to 45 degrees and all of a sudden Prima showed what she could do. Clinging on to the rail on the side of the boat, we steamed along every now and again catching a decent wave and covering those on deck with spray. The cold wind didn’t help the situation, as without the sun my clothes weren’t gonna dry too quick. A noisy Aussie on board went down and got his stinger suit on and proudly repeated the fact (and annoyingly) that he was warmer than us. He also looked a little bit more pathetic than us. I braved it out, and after a while didn’t really feel cold anymore. (Note: Kate is awake by now but she isn’t doing much).

Steve pulled us into a natural harbor and we anchored. This would be our stop for the night. A place called Nara Inlet sheltered on all sides should stop most of the incoming weather and make things more comfortable.

Emma put a kettle on, we all sat on top and Steve set about getting introductions properly done. Name?, Where you are from? Where you have been to in Australia?, Where is your favourite place in Australia?  And where is the strangest place you have had sex?

After a nice quick discussion and a few laughs we had met everyone on board and these were as follows; Glen (Noisy Australian), Susie (German who is Glen’s partner of 6 months – she is a little besotted with Glen and it’s cute but soon to become a little sickening), Anna, Julia, Morine (three german girls, Julia lives here while doing an internship, Anna is visiting looking to do similar, Morine is a friend who speaks less English – they are travelling together in a campervan), Luke, Fiona (An Australian couple on holiday for a couple of weeks up from the Brisbane area), Steve and Emma (as already introduced), Kate and I. The boat is made to take 12 tourists and 2 staff. There are only 9 tourists and that is more than enough space wise.

We have a Pork Stroganoff for dinner and Kate is angry to see so much food made and so much thrown away. The food was lovely and I find it amusing watching Kate squirm as food is poured into the bin. We open up our Goon bag (Goon is a cheap wine in Australia and everyone called our wine goon although it wasn’t – we actually paid quite a lot for it! Goon is associated with boxed wine and the foil bags such a drink comes in) and played a bit of a marathon game of Uno in which I lose consistently and Morine amused me continuously with her german outbursts as Anna or Julia dumped cards onto her before heading to bed. We chat briefly with the 3 German girls before heading off, they seem lovely and their English is extremely good.

Our bedroom is an amusing size, triangular in shape and difficult to fit anything in. The ensuite is smaller than our airing cupboard at home. We sleep with our heads at the small end and although the night is spent with the boat being thrown around by some strong winds, we sleep well enough. I hear a bit of snoring from the main part of the boat (where Steve, Emma and Anna are sleeping) but it’s not too bad.

I’ll be honest, at this point I was a little disappointed by the trip. We had sailed across a bay, met a few nice people had some grim weather and pulled into a bay at about 5pm. Not that productive. Good dinner of course which always helps. Steve and Emma had made a bad day a lot better than it should have been.
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