Thursday 22nd October 2015 – Thursday 12th November (yes, once again I settled in a place for longer than expected).
From Agnes Water it was onwards and upwards to Airlie Beach, a mere 10 hour overnight Greyhound later and I was finally there; tired, slightly sticky and definitely a bit smelly. I had booked my Whitsunday sailing trip on a boat called Habibi for the 25th October and so had a couple of nights to catch up with Josey and explore the town before sailing off into the sunset. I could instantly tell I was further up the coast due to the heat; it was hot hot hot in Airlie Beach! Josey had been in town a week by now, had a couple more weeks to wait before her Whitsunday trip and had therefore decided to stay and work for accommodation at Base, the hostel we were booked into. After a few days of staying in Airlie I was in love with the town and had decided to join her once I had returned from the Whitsundays; 2 weeks was minimum stay for work for accommodation and so this meant we had a couple of weeks to relax and enjoy everything that Airlie has to offer. Which turned out to be surprisingly a lot, during our stay there was the Airlie Music Festival, Halloween and many a night out to enjoy as well as a copious amount of time spent relaxing by the lagoon.
Eventually it was time for me to set off on my sailing trip. We had been advised to meet at the marina for 1pm and bring snacks and enough alcohol to last us a few nights. One box of goon for myself would be enough surely! An hour or so after boarding we were setting off sailing into the sunset; our first mooring point for the evening was a 4 hour sail away and so off we went. We were allocated beds in small and very basic rooms built into the boat which were boiling due to being right next to the engine. I decided in minutes that I would be sleeping in the deck that night and probably for the rest of the nights to come. Finally we moored up for the evening in a beautiful cove just off the Whitsunday Islands, ate a beautiful Australian BBQ and settled down for the evening; we were up at 6am the next day in order to be the first crew on Whitehaven Beach. And bright and early the next day there were were, Whitehaven Beach, without anybody else to ruin our views and the silence. It was just beautiful, with views that looked like they had come straight from Google Images. After the obligitary ‘ooh look I’m naked behind the National Park sign’ pictures we spent a few hours playing on the beach, hula hooping, building human pyramids and scrubbing ourselves with the sand that is so pure you can clean your teeth with it. We had been warned that as we were entering stinger season that if we wanted to swim we should don our stinger suits, sexy pieces of Lycra that stick to every lump and bump in your body and make you look like you’re off on a space mission, not going for a quick swim in the ocean. Soon enough Whitehaven beach was overrun with a thousand other tours turning up to see the beauty that the beach has to offer and so we were off back to the boat to set sail for a spot in which it was going to be ideal to snorkel.
Once again we donned our sexy stinger suits and snorkels and in we went. The boat crew threw bits of bread into the water and suddenly we were surrounded by hundreds and thousands of beautifully coloured fish all ranging in size. The crew pointed out ‘Henry’ the massive blue fish and his mate who was dark black. I struggled a bit with getting the hang of snorkelling but once I had told my brain that it was okay to trust the air coming brought the snorkel and stopped drowning I was off. It was times like this that I am so pleased I bought a Go Pro camera with me to Australia as my underwater pictures and videos are something else. During the trip we were also taken to snorkel spots that are prime for seeing turtles but sadly we didn’t see any whilst we were in the water, only from the boat. The best fish by far had to be the flat fish who, upon a bread roll being thrown in the water would bat it around until every morsel had been sucked up. Fishy football if you will. That evening, after another beautiful sunset dinner we played a drinking game that ended with me having to drink an entire glass of goon through a snorkel and funnel – I thought I was about to drown in goon and meet my ultimate end but thankfully I lived to see another day. Praise the Lord. Sadly the next morning it was time to sail back to Airlie beach and get back on dry land, it’s safe to say I was looking forward to a decent wash considering there had been no showers on the boat. I was sticky from the salt water and I probably smelt. Ew.
Back in Airlie Beach it was Halloween night and who would we bump into but Laura and Victoria, two lovely English girls who I met first in Byron Bay, then in Noosa, Agnes Water and now Airlie. A brilliant Halloween night was had be all, I donned my witches hat and a plastic skeleton and we were off! Over the next two weeks whilst working for accommodation in the evening we spent all of our days by the lagoon and all our nights in some bar; Airlie Beach is renowned for a good party. One weekend there was a Music Festival and so Josey and I spent a full day watching a Battle of the Bands competition. We really enjoys a few bands in particular, especially one band of young lads from Townsville called Catalyst CT. Later on in the day they came over to us in the lagoon having recognised us from their gig and so the rest if the day was spent playing ball together. We had promised that we would go to their se one gig later that night and so we did. Over the course of the weekend there was some really good bands playing and I’m definitely glad that I stuck around in Airlie long enough to enjoy it. The people working at the hostel became a little family and I was actually sad when it was finally time to leave the town but onwards we must go and the next stop is Townsville for Magnetic Island. I’d seen so many pictures of the Island I was definitely excited to see what was on offer! Let’s go!