Our white Christmas! :)
25.12.2009 - 27.12.2009 32 °C
We just rolled off the boat this morning at 11am after the most amazing time ever. It was fantastic, such a stunning place and the best Christmas pressent we could have given ourselves
We arrived in Airlie Beach on Christmas Eve and spent the night in Magnums backpackers, a nice little place with a Hawaian beach hut feel. The place was buzzing with people excited about Santa coming in the morning...we still didnt feel Christmassy and couldnt believe that it was 'that time of year'.
We spent the day having a wander and a laugh down at the beach, climbing trees and taking silly photos and playing in the kids play park....I'm refusing to turn 30!!!
That night we just had dinner and an early night, we were pretty tired and wanted to be fresh for our big sailing trip.
On Christmas Day we had to be at the marina for 12.30 to leave at 1pm. There were 18 of us, a full boat and one of very few that were leaving on Christmas Day. We jumped on board and got our safety briefing then set off. It was a good sized sailing boat with the Skipper, deck hand and host all on board to make sure we had the best time. (The skipper looked like Jack Nicholson in the Shinning which did put me off a bit!!)
We spent a few hours sailing out, legs hanging over the side of the boat, soaking up the sun and just taking it all in. It was sooo relaxing and peaceful. Just before dinner time we arrived at a spot and anchored just off shore. It was time to get in We got our wetsuits on and snorkel gear ready then started jumping in. We had to wear wetsuits and stinger suits because the sea is full of jelly fish, some deadly so we had to be protected at all times. Kev was straight in there and off exploring, I on the other hand was a little bit wary, there were massive Bat fish swimming about. I have never seen anything so big and never swam with anything that size before, so I was a little freaked out. I get the fright of my life and scream through my snorkel when Im in water up to my waist and a tiny fish the size of my finger swims past!! It took me a while but I did eventually get in...for about 5 mins then quickly got back out! It was really deep and quite dark, I couldnt see a thing and kept having visions of something big (Bat fish Included) swimming straight for me. Kev stayed out and ventured future than I had dared and he came across the reef, he said it was really good and you could see lots...I just took his word for it, I was still calming myself down
After our swim we had dinner....Spaghetti Bolognase was our Christmas dinner! A little disappointing, I was hoping for turkey and all the trimmings...still it was better than the luch we made ourselves before getting on the boat... peanut butter sandwiches!!!! We didnt exactly have the typical Christmas feast did we!
After dinner we got on the wee dinghy and they took us over to the Island to a wee resort that was open for Christmas. We got a few drinks from the drunken bar men and chilled out and got to know each other. Part of me was loving it but the other part was wishing I was around my family, it just wasnt the same.
That night we got down below deck and into our bunks, eveyone pretty much in the same place. It got so hot and sticky though that some people ended up sleeping on the deck. We stayed below and fell asleep to the gentle rocking of the boat, it was really nice to be rocked to sleep.
The next morning we were woken up at 6am to the sound of the engine starting. Even though it was soo early we didnt mind, the sun was shinning and the view was stunning. The best wake up call Ive ever had.
We had breakfast on deck while watching the sea and hills roll by, pure bliss We sailed for about an hour before reaching our next stop, access to Whitehaven Beach. We anchored up and got the dinghy across to the shore than had about a ten minute walk up the hill to the lookout point....one of the best sights I have ever seen, it literally took my breath away, pure white sandy beaches and water that changed from dark blue to turquoise in an instant. This was paradise We then walked down onto the beach which is made up of sand that is almost pure silica, the whitest and softest sand we have ever come across. Sand you can appartently polish your jewellery in because its so soft and fine.
We dumped our towels and headed straight to the sea, it was only 7.30 in the morning but it was already hot. The sand was so soft at one point you just sank right into it and the sea was really warm and very shallow for about 100 meters so we could walk out quite far and still only be knee deep. We had alsorts swimming round about us, lots of different fish of all sizes and stingray, which was really cool to see. This was pure bliss, one place I will never forget and most certainly one of my most favourite places in the world. There is nothing else like it.
We had a little walk along the sea edge, took photos of our white Christmas and I built a wee sand man instead of a snowman. We didnt want to leave when it was time to go but we had lots more to see and do.
We moved on to another Island and got geared up for more snorkelling. This time I was prepared, I had psyked myself up and I was getting in no matter what, I hadnt come all this way to miss the Great Barrier Reef! Thankfully the water was a lot clearer here and we didnt have far to swim until we reached the reef which was beautiful, so coulorful and full of life. It was amazing, it was like an under water garden, teeming with life....so many different kinds of fish of different sizes and colours, some were really vibrant. The coral was stunning, so many different types to see...there were bright green ones that looked like lettuce leafs, bright blue coral, bright pink coral, huge balls that looked like they had mazes on the outside of it, things in clam shells that looked like brightly coloured wrinkly lips that would close everytime we got close to them, and so much more. Its hard to remember or describe everything we saw but it was totally amazing and made me feel grateful to be alive and to be experiencing all of this.
We moved on to a few different places to do more snorkelling, each place just as interesting as the last. In some places the coral had died but there was a lot of coral that was still very uch alive and thriving, it was great to see. We were not allowed to touch the coral at all as the oil from our skin kills it but there were still the odd idiots who would stand on it or go down and touch it. That made me so angry, they are destroying the coral and ruining it for everyone else who is to follow. You will always get people who dont care and have no regard for anything else though, its pretty sad.
While we were sailing on the boat we got to see turtles swim around us and dolphins in the distance, it was an incredible experience. I felt soo small in our wee boat surrounded by the vast ocean and abundant sealife.
I found it really hard to sleep on Saturday night, it was way too hot below deck and I had been eaten alive the night before so the heat wasnt helping my bites, which were like big blisters...I react differently to mossies each place we go, they must be different types or something. Anyway we ended up sleeping on the deck, not the most comfortable place but definatly a lot cooler. It was so beautiful sleeping right under the stars, I lay awake for hours just watching the stars, because we were out at sea we could see soo many stars, it was amazing (again I felt really small) It makes you put everything into perspective...we are just a small part of this whole existance, there is so much more out there than we will ever know.
Last day and we were up early again to get to one last place for a snorkel before heading back to the marina. I wasnt going to go in this time, I was quite happy to watch Kev and the others have a splash...that was until Kev shouted that there was a turtle out there. I quickly put on my wetsuit and dived in but typically was too late! Kev was a lot luckier, he got to swim with about 3 of them. He said that they were just swimming along minding their own buisness and didnt flinch when people started come up close to them. He managed to get quite close to one and swam along side it for a bit. Im soo jealous, what an experience to have. He was happy though and it made his day
After that we got back on the boat and had breakfast while we headed back to land.
It was a truely amazing experience and one we are so glad we had the chance to do. We have so many good memories of travelling and this is one part we will never forget.