Since I wanted also to spent some time along the Great Barrier Reef planned to travel from Cairns to Brisbane, where at the end I’m flying over to NZL. I haven’t planned anything expect obtaining my diving license and maybe a sailing trip. After achieving the first, it was time to get out on the water. Read here what I experience 🙂
When you’re traveling along the east coast, every travel guide will tell you to stop at Airlie beach and book a sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands. Since I am travelling without any of those guidelines and just stop where people I know/meet suggest me to go, I followed their recommendations and booked a 2 Day/Night sailing trip.
The Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 continental islands. Situated in front of Queensland between Bowen and Mackay they offer many opportunities for travellers and sailers to enjoy the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. There are several tours available from one to several days with sleeping on the boat. Most of the tours offer various meals, snorkelling trips or even diving opportunities. One stop in every trip is “Whitehaven Beach” which is recommended in every travel guide and is rated as one of the best beaches in Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef offers many great spots to enjoy the corals and its sea life and the coasts of the Whitsunday Islands are full of them.
Since I have enough time left until I’ll leave for New Zealand, I decided to book a 2 Day/2 Nights trip which offered 4 different snorkelling stops. Before we left the harbour at 1pm, every participant had to “Check-in” in the morning at the office and sign the agreements. With me, there was also a German girl who travels alone and we decided to get a coffee and get to know each other (still speaking English) to kill time until we have to get to the boat.
Off Topic: When you meet other backpackers you kind of have always the same questions and topics. Where are you from? For how long are you travelling? Are you alone? Where are you going next? Are you working and traveling?
Most of the time I skip those questions because you figure that all out after talking a while with them.
One more thing I noticed: Traveler ask after you name really late or never but should that not be the first questions to know who you’re talking to?My guess is that since traveler meet so many people and won’t see most of them again they kind of keep it impersonal.
We are all travelling around the world and that makes us the biggest community on the globe. So, even if you never see this person again or forget the name, ask after name right away 🙂
Arriving at the harbour I met the whole group which I was going to spend the next 2 days with on the boat. The skipper gave us a short briefing, we met the two other crew members and we set the sails as we got out of the harbour.
The boat was a 82ft long racing boat, with a vessel fully made out of carbon fibre, was operated by the skipper and his two crew members , one being the cook and the other one was going to be our diving master.
Our first stop, “False Nara” is also the first snorkelling spot and it was amazing. The water was clearer compared to where I did my diving license and there were plenty of corals and fishes. The skipper (a “kiwi” as I found out after wearing my “All Blacks” Shirt (risky when you are still in Australia)) told us also that the following spots were going to be even better.
After we got out of the water, dinner was served and we had a chill night as our first night on the boat. Since the forecast was good, we were also allowed to sleep on the deck, what I did to enjoy the starry night like on my hiking trails.
We got up early next morning to get as soon as possible to the magnificent “Whitehaven Beach”. Since it is the “wet season”, there is always a risk of rain and after a week with blue sky and hot sun, we all experienced the the beach as “Wethaven Beach”. Still, the beach is beautiful and we did our best to be not too unhappy because of the rain.
Note: “Whitehaven Beach” is also know for its soft sand. It so fine that NASA scientist took sacks of the sand to manufacture the lens of the Hubble Telescope. (said our Skipper)
As we got back on the boat, the skipper told us that the rain is part of the season and we should not sit around and make a long face. Nobody did and we still enjoyed our time 🙂
As fast as the rain came, as fast it went away and the sun tried its best to get through the clouds. We headed to our second dive spot of the trip and after everybody was back in the water we stuck our head into the water to enjoy the corals and the fish.
After a good and tasty lunch (the meals were also more than enough and delicious) we headed to our third and last dive spot where we also stayed overnight.
One of the crew member said that his good friend “Nemo” was around today and we should definitely stop by and say hello from him 😉
After “Finding Nemo” we chilled on the beach and went back to the boat for some games and dinner. We all enjoyed our last night on the boat with a couple beer and I set up my place to sleep on the deck. This time with less luck. After an hour another couple and I woke up because of the rain and we hurried into the boat and slept in our bed.
The next morning we woke up for our last highlight before we set the sails back to the harbour: snorkelling with the turtles. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky and haven’t seen any one but most of the people did see some and I will have to wait for another time, which definitely will come 🙂
We headed back to the harbour, sharing all our face book accounts with each other to keep in touch and also share our pictures.
I enjoyed every minute of the trip. The skipper told us that they have sometimes difficult groups of people but we were very pleasant the whole time and had a great group dynamic.
A big thanks to the skipper and his crew who were always taking care of us in any occasion and a big shutout to everybody who was part of the trip. Everyone made it an amazing time for the other one and I wish all safe travels!