Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Whitsundays

I was doing the Whitsundays through the boat Tongarra, a medium sized Catamaran with 21 guests and 2 crew members. It was supposed to be good for people that get sea sick, it's highlights were the fact that they provided all the extras for free (sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pillow etc.) plus there was more than enough food for everyone (unlike on Fraser). As well as this, there was space enough for everyone to sleep on deck, outside in the open (although under a tent, protected from any rain).

The first day, all we did was get introduced to the boat, the crew (Dave with dreadlocks and Ash the captain) and drove from the harbor to just off of one of the islands. That night was a quiet one where everyone got to know each other with a couple of drinking games before setting up their beds in the open and falling asleep to the sound of the waves.

Sunset over Australia
Pia from Germany
Moritz from Germany
The next day started with an early breakfast (7am) before we all got shipped off to White Haven Beach in groups of 6 on the little speed boat at the back of the boat. Ash took us to the beach (including an in counter with some green-bummed-ants, which if/when you lick their bums, you get a lime explosion in your mouth... yes I was first to do it. Apparently aboriginals used to use them to add flavor to their food.)
Good Morning, Whitsundays!
Dave from the Gold Coast
Tongarra, the speed boat and Ash
Ash and Moritz,
Walking through the bush to get to White Haven Beach

White Haven Beach was very pretty, though the weather wasn't so great, which was a shame, but it was still beautiful and Pia (German, 24, Dortmund fan) and I had fun waiting for the sun to break through the clouds every few minutes to capture the perfect picture!

Tongarra at the Look Out
Hungover Elliot and Dan
(They were on another boat but we saw each other at the Look Out)
Walking through the bush
Entrance to White Haven Beach

Pia and me
"Naked" group photo!
Taking in the view
White sand, YAY!

Tanned Pia in the sunshine!

We went back to the boat around 11.30 and had lunch at 12. Lunch was amazing! Buns and wraps with tuna mix, and ham and salad and beetroot and sweetcorn etc. etc.

Having a go at steering the boat

Later in the afternoon, we went snorkeling and it was wonderful! Although I had to try real hard not to freak out whenever I had my head underwater and was able to breath... At one point I was completely surrounded by fish, like I was part of the school... it was crazy cool. I also touched the MASSIVE fish "George" - I had fish food in my hand, and I looked down and just saw this massive face coming towards me, so I freaked out a little bit and just let go of the food, he turned and I got a full view of the huge body, he was really slimy!

Later on, I found a turtle, so I followed it for a while, watching it eat, I even gave it a little stroke, it continued eating undisturbed! So so cool. I want a turtle. We also found a "Nemo" fish somewhere in the reef and at one point I scraped my foot along a coral reef and got a big scratch (coral reef scratches get infected real easily, so if you get scratched, make sure you put on an antibacterial cream as soon as possible!)

Ash and Dave
My team!
Our enemies!

That night was the last night and Dave and Ash pulled out all the stops by dressing up in ridiculous costumes and getting the whole boat involved in some amusing games! During the games at one point, Pia sneakily ran around the boat naked while no one was expecting it (She'd lost her bet that Dortmund would win, so her forfeit was to run around the boat naked) - clever girl! And by the end of the night, Pia, Charlie (19, Dutch) and I were all dressed up in costumes too. It was a pretty funny night and a great end to the Whitsundays.

Maid, Flamingo dancer, Mermaid and a Genie on a boat.

The next morning started early again, this time we snorkeled in the morning and although the views were less impressive, it was a great way to wake up and I felt more relaxed in the water than before.

The rest of the day was spent getting back to the harbor, I spent my time at the front of the boat, enjoying the roller coaster waves (Mum you would have hated it!) and getting splashed up to the face with salt water.

Then we were back on solid group (though I still felt like I was swaying) and it was time to say goodbye, but not before getting invited to one last after-party in the Phoenix club in Airlie Beach.

I reunited with Rens, Dylan and Stephen in my hostel room from before the Whitsundays, I bumped into Charlie, Buster, Henry and Guy in the corridor and checked my emails, where I then arranged to join Elliot from Agnes Waters in a free Didgeridoo lesson in town. (Pia was also there). It was a pretty cool experience, and the tutor really impressed me with his performance and his offer at the end to create personalized didgeridoos for everyone for a good price and deliver them home (anywhere in the world) for free. I didn't do it, but if I had a bigger budget, I would have. Compared to the other prices I have seen around Australia, this place was REALLY good.

That night I headed out to Phoenix and although most of the people from my boat left pretty early, it felt like I knew almost everybody in the club which was unusual and a first since coming to Australia, but I loved it. One of my top 10 nights in Australia I would say!

The next day, I was up early and off to Townsville to catch a ferry to Magnetic Island!
Lucy xxo

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