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Published: March 3rd 2007
Road Trip crew
Wally, Ann-Marie and Thommo, on a quick stop for fuel and water.
In the morning Wally and Ann Marie picked us up in their lovely rental car and we set off on the long journey from Hervey Bay to Airlie Beach. We stopped for lunch along the way but other than that Wally drove straight through. When the light started to fade we all became a little apprehensive about the Kangaroos. We had been told not to drive at dusk or dawn due to the high numbers of ‘Roos. So we all had our eyes peeled but we did not even see one the whole way!! Thank you once again guys for the lift, was fully appreciated!
Wally and Ann Marie dropped us off at the hostel we had booked through the travel agent in Sydney at the start of our Oz adventure. The moody woman behind the counter gave us directions to our room, which stunk and didn’t look like it had had a decent clean for ages. There was still crisp packets and stuff under the beds. After extensively checking for bed bugs we locked up and went to meet Wally and Ann Marie for dinner and a few drinks. We happened to bump into Shelia, she was staying at
the same hostel, so she also joined us for food. After thanking Wally and Ann Marie for their kindness we wished them a good trip to the Islands and called it a night.
Airlie Beach is a strange place where hundreds of backpackers and tourists turn up daily to experience the magic of the Whitsunday Islands. So you can understand the hostels appear to have a ship them in ship them out type of attitude.
The following morning we had to be down at the marina to meet the crew and other people we would be sharing the boat with for the next three days. The Alexander Stewart is a magnificent tall sailing boat which took 17years for a family to hand build. You can see from the detail that this was once a project that was undertaken with great passion. The inside is amazing and there was ample room for our group of 13.
On the first day we cruised around the Islands and made our way to Blue Pearl Bay. We donned our lovely lycra stinger suits and went snorkelling here and had a great time. We saw a massive Bass fish known to the
locals as Elvis, he was very placid but still scary due to his size. The rest of the day was spent chilling out and chatting to the others in the group up on the top deck. The crew was great. While Reggie (the skipper) sailed us to out destination for the night Jackie (the host) prepared the dinner and Mason (deck hand) showed us how to pull the sails in. They dropped the anchor in a quiet cove area that evening and we were able to witness a nice sundown whilst bobbing up and down and turning around.
In the morning we were woken up and had a massive breakfast - they really look after you in the food department, Jackie even made special meals for difficult people like me!!! We were then sailing towards the Island where Whitehaven beach is, I think it is actually the Whitsunday Island but I could have fabricated that piece of information! The weather was amazing that day, the sky was so blue and the sea wasn’t too rough. However I still managed to feel really sick - think the sea sickness was kicking in. Luckily a very nice fellow tourist had some
anti-sickness tablets I could take! Half an hour later I felt fine and did not feel sick again for the remainder of the trip. Once Mason had ferried us all across from the boat to Tongue Bay on the Island he gave us a guided tour of the island. This first involved looking at the plants and animals (even licking a green ants bum, for anyone that wishes to know it is a very strong citrus taste). He lead us to a lovely look out point where we could see the World famous beach of Whithaven. I had seen this image a few times before on post cards etc but seeing it with my own eyes really revealed its beauty. We saw Wally and Ann Marie here for a short time. After taking many picture we made our way down to the beach itself. We walked along the pure silica sand and then played about in the crystal clear water. There were even sting rays swimming around near us. Once again after this activity was over it was time to sail to the spot we would stay in for the evening.
In the morning we once again sailed for
a few hours to the right spot for some more snorkelling. The weather was very overcast that day and not particular very warm. So a few people didn’t take part in the snorkelling. As I was just floating around and looking at all the strange coloured fish a giant turtle gracefully swam past me. This scared the hell out of me as it was so big. As soon as I remembered that they are not dangerous unless provoked it was an amazing experience and one that I will always remember. It was worth the wetness and coldness just to have witnessed this giant creature in the wild.
The only bad thing was that one of the others tried to grab a hold of it’s shell, with the aim of it pulling him along. What an idiot!!!
I really enjoyed our trip out to the Islands. There was a lot of time just hanging around up on deck (trying to keep hold of the mats we were sitting on in the wind) until we got to the place we were going. We were so lucky with our group, every one got on quite well and there were lots of laughter
and fun. The crew was excellent and really made the trip special. I think that the snorkelling here was very good, although this was only the second place I have done it.
We then sailed back to the marina. We all arranged to meet up that evening for a meal at Beaches backpacker bar/restaurant and then went our separate ways. Thommo and I went back to our hostel room, had upgraded from the horrid dorm to really nice double. This meant that we had a TV, we watched the tribute to Steve Erwin (quite an emotional point when his daughter gave her speech.) It was then time to go out and see the people we had met on the trip once again. Most people turned up and we even bumped into Wally and Ann Marie again. It turned out to be a very good night. After food we stayed in the bar for a short time. Some people left as they had to leave early in the morning. However, that was not enough for some of us so, we went to the club Mamma Africa. We danced here for a long time and then headed back to the hostel
to crash out for the night. I think a few people left there a bit worse for wear!
Onwards to Magnetic Island …………………
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