Tuesday, 13 March 2007

We are sailing...

After the Fraser Island adventure we spent another night in Hervey Bay, spent the next day lazing at the pool, then we caught the overnight bus to Airlie Beach. The fact that while travelling up a section of the coast, we've had numerous three and four hour journeys and two overnight journeys lets you know just how ridiculously large this country is. We initially thought overnight buses would be a bad thing- uncomfortable and tedious, but we've actually enjoyed the journeys. The buses are quite nice, they usually show a movie or two, they stop at little service stations regularly and on an overnight bus you save money by not paying for accommodation! If you can put up with the crabbit (nice Scottish word) bus drivers, getting the Greyhound or Premier bus is a pretty good option for travelling up the coast.

After camping with dingoes (not dingi, Uncle Daniel!) our next adventure was a three day sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands.

The Whitsundays are a group of around 74 islands and home to Whitehaven Beach, one of the nicest beaches in the world, according to every travel agent and advert. Airlie Beach is the leaving point for most Whitsunday trips and we arrived in Airlie, had time to use the hostels showers, put or bags in storage and then it was straight to the wharf to discover what our boat would look like!

We had heard a few horror stories about some of the boats, so we were a little apprehensive but we arrived to the find the Habibi was quite a nice boat with a responsible looking crew to welcome us on board. There were around 25 passengers and 4 crew members- Captain Greg, Firstmate Shane and Jennifer and Smiley, who had a variety of jobs on board. After some basic safety advice the boat left the harbour and the Captain began to tell us what the next few days would involve. To our major disappointment he informed us that the weather was quite bad and we would be unable to make it to Whitehaven Beach. After this news we were shown down to our rooms. You'd be surprised how much room there was below deck. Hardly any actually! Below deck was cramped, crazy warm and well... smelly. We quickly dumped our stuff and headed back up!

Smiley!- not sure where the name comes from.

We were beginning to think that the trip wasn't going to be very good but once we settled in and started chatting to the rest of the people on board things started to improve. The sea was quite choppy so the plan for the first day was to sail for quite a while until we reached a sheltered area where we would spend the night.

The scenery was beautiful and we enjoyed a cold drink while we relaxed on board. We arrived at some cove (can't remember it's name) and had a lovely meal cooked by Shane.

After we had watched the sun go down we continued to chat with our fellow passengers. The truly international group included people from Israel, Germany, England, Holland, Korea and of course Scotland.

Ben and Scott- moved from England to Australia to play pro rugby!

That night the cards came out and after a couple of games of scabby queen, or chase the ace as people called it, we inflicted the Mafia game upon them! For those who don't know what Mafia is- it's a kind of bluffing game that we'll explain to you another time! We played the game and tried to put off going below deck for as long as we could.

The heat in the room made it very uncomfortable, so we didn't sleep very well. We got up early the next day and went snorkeling at two different reef locations. Wearing Lycra stinger suits to protect us from deadly jellyfish, goggles and flippers, we felt sure that sharks would be too busy laughing to actually get round to eating us.

Looking good

Ryan sends Pamela in first to check for sharks

If you just smile and wave no one will know you're doing a pee!

We were assured that there were no sharks around but it was difficult not to hear the Jaws theme tune just as you put your first foot into the water. Once we worked up the courage we both got in and started to look around. It was amazing. There were loads of stunning, multi-coloured fish swimming around the equally beautiful coral. We were swimming through huge shoals of fish and at some points there so many fish we couldn't see further than a few inches!

It was amazing and after you get used to the whole thing you start to get braver- eventually we were both touching fish and diving below the surface to get closer to the really big fish! There was one particularly large fish(a Wrasse) called Elvis, and he was huge. In the afternoon we snorkelled at the second location where the visibility was even better.

After a tiring day everyone on board had a lovely meal and watched the beautiful sunset while listening to luma's brilliant new e.p. (listen to tracks @ www.myspace.com/lumanation)

On the last day we did more snorkelling and then sailed back to Airlie Beach. The sea was extremely rough and a number of people came close to viewing their breakfast for a second time.

Missing Whitehaven beach was annoying but the trip was still good and the snorkelling was amazing. Once we got back we had dinner with all the folk from the boat and then we packed our stuff for the the next day's bus journey...

*****New Pics in the post below******


Danwise son of Roddo said...

Loving the covert plug, D.xx

Anonymous said...

hey guys, just catchin up with ur blog! wish i was ther with ye's but hopfully get a few tips of ya an hopfully go someday myself!! oh happy belated bdays :)im sure us will never hav another birthday like that 1!!hope ur keepin well take care keeva x