Airlie beach, Great Barrier Reef

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September 23rd 2012
Published: September 23rd 2012
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Finch Hatton Gorge National Park
North of Mackay we stayed in a free camp site, way off the highway along a 7k dirt road, which was really pretty and very quiet with only 2 other lots of people staying there. Met two really nice young English guys who were working on the local sugar cane farm and Pete had a good chat to them (I think he misses his chats with males sometimes.) Today we moved on to Shute Haven near Airlie Beach, gate way to the Great Barrier Reef for many tourists. There are so many many day trips to choose from but we have opted for a sail on a tall ship , the Derwent Hunter built in 1946 to take us around a few of the islands along with a bit of snorkelling and as an added bonus, morning and afternoon tea plus smorgasbord lunch!

Still no rain and we are so fortunate to have lovely weather day after day so getting a good tan at the moment. We both seem to be losing weight which is great for me and I am sure it is all the walking and biking we are doing plus not sitting behind a computer screen all

A bit of excitement crossing 1/2 metre deep water!
day. I can wholeheartedly recommend this lifestyle and looking forward to our exploration of this huge country. Aussies in general are a friendly bunch apart from some witch the other day who on seeing that I was wading through a flooded creek so that I could get a good shot of Pete driving through it in our motor home, proceeded to speed up, resulting in my getting completely soaked to the skin when the water sprayed up at me from her wheels. Don’t know what her problem was and she was lucky that we didn’t come across her further up the road as I would have definitely had a few choice words to say to her!

This is still sugar cane country around here and the air is sweet with the smell of molasses when passing a sugar refinery. Occasionally we have also passed groves of macadamia nut trees which also have a unique but not unpleasant odour. Not quite like the smell of Rotorua!

Well our trip on the Tall ship was fantastic with colourful coral and fish to view with Pete and I the only ones to be lucky enough to have a turtle swim very
Tall ship sailingTall ship sailingTall ship sailing

The Derwent Hunter
close by us! By the end of the day our turtle got bigger and bigger the more I mentioned it! We met some great people on board and had many a chuckle along with the way what with the sharp or maybe dry wit that was being thrown around! The kiwi deck hand from Tauranga was a character and was soon ordering all the guys around and giving them sails to hoist etc. Photos attached. All in all a great day out.

Moving on today north towards Townsville.

Additional photos below
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Hoisting the sails!Hoisting the sails!
Hoisting the sails!

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

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