In my childhood, Sundays were dedicated to completing chores, finishing homework, and I often found time in a mess of stickers and stationary to write to my pen-pal, Cheree. In the background, my Dad would blast his great 70s and 80s music through indestructible speakers from his college era. The song that really made him belt it out was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “Southern Cross.” Appropriately, I had this song ready to jam through my IPOD at any time. Really, the song is about a break-up, but throughout this adventure I couldn’t get that song out of my head. After leaving Arilie Beach, I badly wanted to call up my Dad and tell him that I’ve just spent two nights under the most brilliant group of constellations, including the Southern Cross.
The Waterfront Hostel is where I stayed for this brief stop. After a 12 hour bus ride a late arrival and a late (1am) check-in (meaning a stream of trial and error processes to find keys, passwords, hallways, etc). I carefully did my sorting in the common area, so as not to disturb any sleeping roommates. It was all I could stand when I
was abruptly greeted by a string of swear words and hostile comments by the female occupant in the room. Apparently, this idiot was a local who was between apartments and decided to stay at a hostel and act as if she deserved five star treatments. The idiot thought she would be by herself in a hostel and was extremely unhappy to know that I would be sleeping in the same room as her for the next five hours. After concentrating all my remaining energy on biting my tongue she stopped huffing at me with a snottiest, most dripping voice in Aussie accent, "I've had two big nights out, and tonight is my night to relax, so you've just got to do your sorting in the morning hun." I was sure to wake up extra early, to do my sorting, and in order to obey her desire to conserve silence, I did not flush the toilet before slamming the door on my way out.
Back on the Water
The beach town of Arilie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsundays. The tour from Arilie to the beautiful Whitsunday’s was with Prosail on a sailboat called the Hammer.
Again, a happy, sun-chapped Kiwi managed the people, while the skipper maintained the boat and one other staff member helped out with food and cleanliness. It was on this tour that I had the opportunity to meet three lovely ladies who helped pass time by entertaining photo ops, sharing wine and funny remarks about the touchy-feely couple who couldn't keep their hands off each other. All the kindness and generosity of these three friends wiped my bad experience with the hag from the hostel. (Thank you Shalini, Marina and Sabrina)
Arriving at the island was timed perfectly by the Skipper who dropped us off at low tide. Combined with the timing of our arrival was a picture-perfect sky making the day look just like the postcards. The first beach we went to was Whitehaven. As the name explains it all, the beach sand was soft, pure white and the waters were a range of blues from shallow and light to deep and dark. Even though it's winter in Australia right now, that didn't keep the fun-loving group of girls out of the water. We splashed and waded through the water with camera in hand. "It's healthy to
have a good laugh," Sabrina (German) explained as we shivered.
With all the beauty and good company of this trip, the time went incredibly fast. We anchored the Hammer in time for an amazing sunset while sipping on wine. We were served nachos and a dinner with fresh salads, fruit, mashed potatoes and veggie patties. Before going to bed for the night, I lay on the collapsed sail near the front of the boat and checked for the Southern Cross constellation, found scorpio with the help of the Skipper and a very upside down looking Big Dipper. Stargazing in these beautiful islands allowed me to count five shooting stars in one sitting, more in one night than my entire life. Magical!
The final day on the Hammer provided a dive and more views. We woke to a fresh fruit breakfast and toast with vegemite before gearing up for a dive or snorkel. The dive, Blue Pearl Reef just outside the rich Haymen Island, was offered for $50 and I couldn't refuse. Although, it was a bit of work as my mask was continuously foggy and I was stressed about the dive guide because his
tank was releasing a steady flow of bubbles from the handle. Also, the waters were much cloudier with a visibility of 3-5 meters. The "one thing" that made this dive was actually quite comical. I took the chance to play a little American football with a Sea Cucumber. Even though my dive buddies had no idea what I was doing, I had a laugh. I crack myself up sometimes...
The last resting island we went to was the Langford Island with more snorkeling opportunities and sunbathing. It was relaxing to chill for a while, but as with all group tours the time is controlled by the staff and I would have enjoyed a bit more time relaxing and exploring this beautiful, sandy island. The trip back to the marina was a fun sailing experience with a little friendly rivalry between the Hammer and another boat in a race competition. Back to the hostel and out for a group dinner, we quickly realized our exhaustion and made a short night out. I walked alone on the beach back to the hostel, (a free night’s lodging was offered due to the earlier debacle,) reflecting on yet
another amazing experience. As I returned to my upgraded room, the words of Crosby, Stills, Nash and young played over in my head,
“When you see the Southern Cross
For the first time
You understand now
Why you came this way
'Cause the truth you might be runnin' from
Is so small.
But it's as big as the promise
The promise of a comin' day.
So I'm sailing for tomorrow….
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