The WhitSundays

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Aug 05, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Friday, July 14, 2006

We arrived in Airlie beach with great anticipation.
Although we had never heard of The Whitsundays before coming to Australia, once we arrived we were well informed it was the place to go.
The reasons being - It was part of The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, it was home to Whitehaven Beach (Where you can find the whitest sand in the world - 98% Silicone) plus we were getting a scuba dive and snorkelling.)
We stayed in Seaview Backpackers the night before and due to overbooking got put in an 8 dorm room that was basicaly a self contained flat with Kitchen and tv.
This in itself was a luxury so we spent the night eating Dominos and watching crap on tv.

The next day we were to meet at the marina at 4pm. Carrying only a small rucksack each and a case of wine.
The pictures we had seen showed the boat to be quite small.... and it was.
We were met by an over enthusiastic guy called Pat who generally thought he was the funniest guy in Australia... he was a twat.
We got on board the boat after being told we could not wear any shoes on the boat.
Ciara and i went downstairs to find our sleeping arrangements and we thought we were "lucky" to be giving a small cabin at the back that slept 2 (well 1.5 people).
We then set off.
That night we just headed towards the Whitsundays and moored up. Had something to eat, a few drinks and then Myself Ciara, Julie and Phil were in bed by 8.30.
One of the highlights of the trip was the food. Absolutely gorgeous, and in the early part of the trip the water was not too choppy so we were able to eat it without it falling off our plate.
We have to say that pur 2nights/3 days on the Whitsundays was probably the worst weather we had in Australia which was quite unfortunate.

As our cabin was above the engine we awoke at 5.30am the next morning to the sound of the engine being turned on. This was after a very uncomfortable, claustrophobic night sleep.

Our first stop was Whitehaven beach (meant to be the whitest sand in the world). On the way we also go to see a sea turtle swimming which was a great sight.
The beach was absolutely gorgeous, but i am sure it would have been far nicer if we had a sunny day.
We next went towards a cove on an island where we were to do our diving and snorkelling.
We were giving a quick brief on the basics of diving by our twat of a diving instructor (yes the same person who greeted us at the marina) who by this time had managed to insult at least 4 people.
We got a dingy into the cove, which was completely coral and shell - so our feet took a bit of a battering and after putting on our trendy stinger suits (even though it was off season for stingers) and waited for our intro dive.
Myself, Ciara and Julie were in the 1st group of 4. Due to my inept swimming capabilities I was quite worried about diving 5 metres under the water with a tank on my back. Ciara and Julie were also worried even though they can swim.
During our brief in the water, our inept diving instructor managed to scare Julie and Ciara out of doing it, as he pushed Ciara under the water and then gave her grief when she panicked about breathing under the water, and water letting in on her mask, but although I did not have much confidence I gave it a go.
I was right about my worries - due to the amount of gear I was wearing to help me float, I could not swim down under water, so the rest of the time, Pat had to hold me by the arm and drag me everywhere (to his credit though as i am not light).
The experience was absolutely amazing, and i got to sea wonderful Coral and different species of fish.
I don't think i could do it again though.
After that we all spent the rest of the time snorkelling. This was probably just as good, as the area was really shallow, so we could all sea the coral and fish close up. Would definately reccomend it.
After yet another early night and uncomfortable sleep, the next morning we headed to another cove to go snorkelling again.
At lunch time we headed back to Airlie beach (about 3.5 hr trip in 20 knot winds). We tried to eat our lunch but the movement of the boat made this virtualy impossible.
On the way home we also got accused, as a group of stealing 5 stinger suits by our ever charming host Pat.
Needless to say, when we all filled out our comment sheet and there were plenty of not so nice comments about him.
When we moored up at Airlie, he was straight off the boat (after reading the comments) and let someone else do the "thanky ou for travelling with us speech".
All in all it was a good trip let down by a bad host.

As an extra note whilst on the trip - after really building ourselves up to see one of the natural wonders of the world - The Great Barrier reef - we found out that we were actually not on it, but on the fringe of it. This was a bit disappointing!!
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