Friday 18th January: Today we were heading out on 3 day 2 night Whitsunday sailing cruise. Again we were up super early to get the boat, getting to the marina about 8.30am. Our boat was called the Apollo, it was a maxi sailing boat that had won the Sydney to Hobart race twice. There were 20 of us in the group and 5 crew.
After meeting the crew and some boat rules we headed out to sea. There was no wind so we couldn't really sail anywhere so we had to use the engine. We went out to hook Island and we went snorkeling whilst the diving instructor took groups of 5 scuba diving. Me and Vic were in group 3.
The snorkeling was amazing, hundreds of Nemos and some great big purple fish that swam right up to you. Scuba diving was also AMAZING. I really thought id freak out as i freaked when we first did snorkeling but because i got the hang of breathing whilst snorkeling i was ok. Though i sank pretty quick and i was drifting away from the group when we were in shallow water being told what to do as the tank was heavy and i couldn't't keep swimming against the weight. At least it made me and everyone else laugh!
After diving we had lunch on the boat then sailed to another spot to do some more snorkeling. Oh i forgot to mention- at the moment the barrier reef is in the middle of stingers season, ie there are hundreds of deadly jellyfish swimming around the ocean. We all had to wear stinger suits, which are pretty much like wet suits, to protect ourselves whilst we were in the water. You can sit on the side of the boat and watch the jellyfish float by which is weird- some of them are football size and their tentacles can reach 3 meters. It freaked everyone out a bit!
We then sailed to a quite bay where we were to spend the night. The deckhand Ryan (who couldn't have been more Australian if he tried) decided to try his hand at fishing over the side of the boat, and low and behold he caught a MASSIVE tuna. It was about a meter long and it took a long time and two grown men to reel it in. The thing wouldn't die either- 20 of us crowded round the end of the boat whilst Ryan and Phil (the diving instructor) were trying to kill it. In the end it was literally beaten to death with a club and I'm sure it wasn't quite dead when they started to cut it up with a blunt kitchen knife..... not for the faint hearted! Still, they gutted it and stuck it on the Barbie and we all ate it for dinner. Fish never tasted that good, yum. Then we grabbed the carcass of the fish, tied it to rope and dangled it over the side of the boat to try and attract sharks. One did come but it was only a 2 foot shark and it was very quick. We then rounded off the night with a few beers and some card games.
Saturday 20th January: We all woke up really early almost dying of the heat inside the boat. It was so humid. We ate breakfast then about 8am set off for Whitsunday Island and White-haven Beach. The weather wasn't sunny like the day before- it was still hot but it was cloudy. Shame. White-haven beach was stunning however, even when it was cloudy. I'm sure it would have looked like the postcards in the sunshine though. We had a few hours to walk to the look out, sit on the beach and swim in the sea (with our stinger suits on of course!) and take some fab pictures (which yes, i know, I'm still sorting out.... Someone send me a laptop and i will!!) It was then back on the boat for lunch and then over to another island for more snorkeling and diving for those that wanted to pay for it. I would have liked to have done more diving but i had started to feel really sick so gave it a miss. I wasn't really up for more snorkeling in the afternoon either as i started to feel worse. By the time we got back on the boat and started sailing to where we were spending the night i was not right. Anyway i didn't eat dinner and by about 8pm I was throwing up over the side of the boat, yuk. I went to bed but the heat downstairs was too much so i tried to sleep on the deck of the boat (plus it was easier to be sick over the side when you are already upstairs!). I managed that till about 4am then it started to rain so i went and slept on the sofa in the kitchen of the boat. Not the best night in the world and by the next morning I really wanted to get off the boat!
We sailed to another little beach for more snorkeling but i just lay on the beach. The others spotted a few sharks in the water close to shore though so some people didn't go in. Then it was back on the boat for lunch and time to sail the few hours back to Airlie Beach. The sun started to come out too which was great. And it was sooooo nice to be back on land.
We checked back into the same hotel we were in before and i was so grateful for a bed. I think i slept for about 11 hours!
So all in all, although i was sick, the Whitsundays was stunning, even though some of it was cloudy. It would also have been great to take a small plane ride over the reef as you then get to see how different the water colours are. This is something to do on a future trip for sure!