White-"Heaven" Beach

Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
Trip End May 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Kiana (Dive Boat)
What I did
Whitehaven Beach Whitsunday Island
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Mantaray Bay (Hook Island)
Great Barrier Reef

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Friday, November 11, 2011

After much anticipation we awoke on Friday morning at 6am, packed and stored our luggage at the hostel before leaving for the boat. We bumped into a lovely couple Carol and Neil from near Manchester, who were headed for the same boat. We walked down together, picking up some brekkie on route, and arrived at Abel Point Marina for the 8am start. The crew: Brent, Angie, Ellie and Matt, were waiting for us filled with instructions on seafaring and the proper way to use a marine toilet and shower! There were 14 of us, 6 couples and two sisters from Germany. We were a mature group (no 18 yr olds!) and got on extremely well.

First day's sailing: probably the first memorable event was 5 minutes into the trip when I lost James’ hat overboard – bummer! It was very funny for everyone watching, and thankfully James’ bushy head of hair kept his head sunburn free for the trip, but whoops!! We headed first to Whitehaven Beach, stopping in a bay for some early lunch first. We were kitted out with stinger suits and hats, and the obvious power ranger jokes ensued! We arrived over Whitehaven Beach from the back of the island after a 10 minute hike – what a view!! The most incredible colours I’ve ever seen! We then walked down to the beach and waded in amongst stingrays before settling on Betty’s Beach round the corner. The sand there is 98% silica and is the texture of flour. It’s also cool all the time even in 40 degree heat. We donned our stinger suits and went for a swim in the sea, amazing! Matt was telling me about the starfish and how they are over-eating the coral, so in order to get their license they have to agree to collect starfish if they see them. It’s due to the rise in water temperature and they are reproducing all year round now. A starfish can eat its body weight in coral per day!

Back on the boat we headed to Mantaray Bay for the night. We had a roast dinner and then James and I were so shattered we headed straight for sleep. Next morning I woke VERY early – the reason: today we were scuba diving and/or snorkelling in the Bay and I was terrified! I wasn’t allowed to dive due to asthma (they are very careful of this in Australia) but I’ve never snorkelled before and was dreading it. However, James held my hand the whole time and it was only when we got back to the boat I got frightened – mostly by the boat but also the 1 metre tuna fish that came up to say hi! He had wicked teeth arggghhhh!

About 9am we were all aboard again and set off for the outer reef. The waves were 3.5 metres from the side, we had a 3hr sail ahead of us – you can imagine the effect! There was more than one person feeding the fish that morning! ;)

On arrival at the outer reef, and after navigating through the coral reef we moored. James and I were so exhausted from the sail we slept that afternoon and got up for dins. We had a lovely evening chatting (us girls mostly) before heading for bed around 10pm (party animals or what)!

Next morning, awake with the fear again! I was so close to not going in the water, and James was still feeling unwell, so thank goodness for Carol, she held my hand the whole snorkel! I cannot describe how amazing the reef was, or how brave I was (and I’m a real wuss in water). The caves and valleys and then suddenly the coral is 1 metre below you again. The fish are unbelievably cute and such colours! I loved it so much we went straight back out for another circuit. We get in for our second go and Dan yells Shark!! Emily looked under quickly and panicked – Shark!! I wanted to get back in the boat but Carol steadied me, we look under together! It was an enormous fish but no a shark! He swam away and we continued being pulled by the current on our circuit. So we’re near the boat again and the same fish comes back. He’s 2.3 metres long! Apparently you could hear us from the boat out of our snorkels yelling muffled expletives at the size of him. We get in the boat and Brent says "oh that’s Albert, he’s always here to see us" so we get back in with him. He’s a male Maori Wrasse, with the biggest fish lips ever and sooo friendly! He will even let you hug him apparently. Never experienced anything like that before!

So then we head back to the mainland and we all sat up front so no sea sickness this time. The weather was beautiful and I managed to burn my head a bit – whoops! We switched off the engine and went by sail most of the way back to the marina.

That evening after leaving the boat a bunch of us met up to have dinner and drinks on the mainland. Our heads were still moving though as if we were on the boat – not the beer honest! It was so good to meet the folks on the boat, we hope to meet up with Carol and Neil in Sydney – apart from anything else I need someone to go see Twilight with! “Carol will you hold my hand?”.

- Liz

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Jo Salsa on

Fantasic descriptions and pic's ,can't belive you are on a beautiful sailing boat with a wonderful coral reef around you and scared of a few fish. !!! Whats that all about .

love following you adventure's take care

smitherson on

We'll keep up the good the work, if you promise to keep the supportive comments coming! ;)

Keep well yourself, cause before you know it, I'll be back!! - JJx

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