Published: November 25th 2010November 20th 2010
When we first arrived in Aus on November 1st one of the things we wanted to do most was sail round the Whitsunday Islands, so we booked an overnight trip which finally came around just before Vics birthday! We stayed the night before the trip in a beach town called Airlie Beach (arriving on an overnight bus from Rainbow beach) which had a great holiday feel to it and a gorgeous swimming lagoon on the edge of the sea. We checked into our hostel, looked round the small town and did a bit of shopping as it was raining (Scott bought Vic some bits for her birthday, and it was still warm but its rainy season at the moment) before going back to the hostel to get ready for a night out. Our hostel was one of the bigger ones so had its own bar and restaurant, so we ate there, and although our food was nice, one of the things wecan't get over in Aus is how expensive food is, even food that should be cheap (lasagne in a backpacker hostel is around £14!) especially in a town like this that caters predominantly to backpackers on a budget.
dinner we had a few drinks and we were watching the live band in the bar when a girl came up to Scott as she recognised him from when he was in Vegas with his friends in the summer! She was there with her friends at the same time too and they all went out - such a small world! She was with her friend from England so we all joined up and went to a couple more bars and clubs which was really fun before grabbing a pizza at 2am and heading back to the hostel in anticipation of our Whitsundays trip the next day, hoping the rain would stop...
When we woke up the next morning it was...raining! But we got our stuff ready and headed down to the pier to board our boat for the 2 day 2 night sailing trip around the Whitsundays. After waiting at the pier for a while with all the other passengers for the boat we were told by the crew that one of the engines was having some work done which would take a couple of hours meaning we would set off late, so in the meantime the captain was
paying for everyone to have lunch while we waited! We all piled into a nearby pizzeria for pizza when the heavy drizzle outside turned into a full on monsoon downpoor, and we started to think the boat wouldn't even go in this weather! Luckily it sooned stopped and after lunch we were finally ready to board the boat and start our trip that we had so been looking forward to. The boat we had booked onto was called Powerplay and held 18 passengers and 4 crew. It was a gorgeous white catermeran complete with private cabins and a hot tub, so really nice! We were given a briefing on the boat and safety instructions before being shown to our cabins and setting off to the islands.
There was a nice group on the boat and we made friends with 3 really nice girls from Wales and 2 people from Germany. There were also some other couples and some guys from America on board but they all kept to themselves. The crew served us some snacks and although the sea was quite calm Vic started to feel sick, but after a while she was fine and by this point the
rain had started to stop. When we anchored about an hour later to snorkel it had stopped completely which was great although there was no sign of the sun. We got into our wetsuits (as there can be stingers in the sea) and got taken out to the coral reef on a small boat before jumping in th sea which was so warm and clear.
We all started to snorkel and saw some amazing fish before the water turned really murky, whcih we later found out was from all the rain mixing with the sea. Vic didn't like this so went back to the boat while Scott stayed snorkling for a while, and then the sun started to come out! It was around 5pm by this time so we didn't see much of it but we'd had a really nice first day. After a shower it was time for dinner which was marinated chicken, potaoes, salad and coleslaw- yummy! The food was so good throughout this trip and we ate so much! Then we all settled down while the captain told us where we had been that day and what the plan was for the next day, before watching
a short film on sharks and heading to bed for our first nights sleep on the boat.
We were woken at 6am by the noisy engines so got up for breakfast before setting off for the day. We would be going to Whitehaven beach for a few hours which was well known for its white sand and blue sea, although when we first got to the path that takes you to the beach it was raining! We began to walk the 1k path in the rain and luckily by the time we got to the beach the sun had started to come out and it dried up so we got to experience the beauty of it for a while and take some cool photos before starting the walk back to the boat. It was a really gorgeous place and it would have been nice to stay there all day but it was time for more snorkelling and almost time for lunch again, so back on the boat we set off to the coral reefs. We had lunch (cold meats, cheeses, salad etc) and did some more snorkelling and Scott even saw a turtle! Which was so cool, before we
set off to another snorkel point for more snorkelling and swimming. Back on the boat it was nice to all socialise and chat in the outdoor areas before we opened the drinks (no drinking in the day on the boat) and had dinner (bbq steaks, sausages, salad and potatoes).
We then went inside to view all the photos the crew had taken over the last 2 days and then they said 'we have a very special celebration on board'. Now Vic had almost forgotten it was the night before her birthday as usually she is wapped up in the cold at home, not sailing on a boat in Australia, so was pretty surprised when everyone started singing Happy Birthday and Scott came out with a cake! Well not actually a cake as such, more of a multi coloured iced cinnamon loaf as it was the only 'cake' he could find haha! It was brilliant though and Vic said it was one of her best birthdays ever, definately one to remember!
The next morning we had time for another snorkel before heading back to shore, where most people fell asleep as all the swimming and snorkelling over the last
few days was really tiring. We said bye to the crew and were sad our trip was over, even through the rain it was amazing and something we realy loved. We went for some lunch with our Welsh friends before chilling out at our hostel for the afternoon (as we were getting an overnight bus to Cairns at 8pm). In the evenig before our bus we had dinner and some drinks with our German friends and the Welsh girls, before saying final goodbyes and heading off to catch our bus to Cairns. We had a great time in Airlie and on the boat and it was sad to leave but we were loking forward to the next few days and Vic was excited about seeing her friend Jo in Cairns. We couldn't believe our time in Aus was almost over!
There are more photos below