. Ali (one of the girls on the boat) celebrated her birthday on the last day of the cruise (Tuesday) so a fair few of us went out to celebrate that night on dry land.
On wednesday we travellend to Magnetic Island via the bus and ferry and found ourselves in a quiet relaxed hostel in Picnic Bay.. was great for chilling out. We watched the 'Socceroos' qualify for the World Cup (a bit tense at the time but great for Australian football). Yesterday we went to explore other parts of the island and saw Horseshoe Bay, Balding Bay (which was practically deserted and very nice) and did the Forts Walk (where we saw wild Koalas and walked around the old Forts that were there from the World War). At night, Paul was on to his wildlife spotting and fed the local possum with Pasta, spotted a tiny Wallaby. This morning we visited RinTinTin the pet crocodile then took the ferry back across the mainland to catch the bus up to Cairns where we're going to stay with Kylie's family for the weekend and Kylie is flying up to meet us, so looking forward to that.
We arrived in Airlie Beach last Saturday in time for the 'Reef Festival' - basically markets, bands, floats and parades for the weekend. It was quite good entertainment for the day and made Airlie Beach a bit more interesting for us. On Sunday we set off sailing round the Whitsunday Islands on the 'Summertime' boat through Aussie Adventure Sailing. The boat was really nice - old but spacious on deck with a hot tub, the food was great (thanks Cookie.. our chef) and the people we sailed with (both the crew and other passengers) were good fun and we all seemed to get on pretty well. We visited various Islands - including Hayman Island, Whitsunday Island and Hook Island, all of which had lush green forests on the hills with beautiful sandy beaches. The nicest beach we visited was Whitehaven Beach where the sand is so white and the sea is a gorgeous turquoise colour - picture postcard heaven... Paul and I did some diving and snorkelling. The snorkelling was great - seeing all the brightly coloured soft corals and the reef fish. Mandy did a night dive and got over her fears and had a brilliant night dive, seeing lots of shrimps, crabs, a huge urchin and right at the end of the dive her and the rest of the group saw a huge turtle, he was beautiful