We have been slacking on our posts about Airlie because there is not much to tell. It is a beautiful beach town that I can sum up in three words: beach, bikini and booze. It is definetly a party town that is crowded with backpackers waiting to sail the whitsundays.
We stayed in a super clean, super institutional hostel right on the esplanade and just far enough away from the party scene that we could get some sleep. We spent four days lazing on the beach in the lagoon, sleeping and swimming in the sun.
On Monday the 28th we got on our boat for three days in the islands. Our boat was actually a sixteen meter catamaran called wings 2 and it was beautiful! Our skipper was a young woman from Sweden named Annika and in her crew there were two dive instructors and two deck hands. David and I slept in a double bed that we had to climb into in the right pontoon of the catamaran.
There were twenty five guests on the boat all in their twenties. On our first day we made the two hour trip to tounge bay which is directly opposite whithaven beach on Whitsunday island which is the biggest island of the 74 in the area. We anchored the boat and took the small dingy to the beach where we hiked up to a lookout to take some pictures and enjoy the view. We then walked down to the beach where we walked through the water while sting rays and small sharks swam around our feet. Back on the boat we watched the sunset while we ate dinner on the deck. After dinner we watched a slideshow of pictures from the day before going to bed for the night.
Day two started EARLY! Annika was up at five thirty starting up the boat and bringing up the anchor. Needless to say, the wall between our bed and where the anchor chain came in is not very thick. We watched the sunrise while we drank tea on the front deck and Annika moved the boat into the next bay. We anchored the boat again after breakfast, got into our stinger/wetsuits and jumped off of the boat for a swim to whithaven beach. For two hours we played in the water, took pictures and slept on the beach.
Back on the boat we made the trip to hook island for our first dive. It was awsome! We saw two giant sea turtles and tons of fish! We ate lunch back on the boat and hoped in the water for a snorkle. Everything was going well until I moved my hand and all I felt was jellyfish! There were dozens of them around us and I freaked out. We made it back to the boat and I decided to take a break from the water for a bit. We made the trip to a spot just off of hayman island. We tied up to a mooring and settled in for a relaxing evening... Or so I thought. At some point I realized that David was missing so I went to check on him and found him sleeping. When I climbed into our bed to check on him he was burning up. I gave him a tylonel nighttime cold and sinus, made him take all of his extra clothes off even though he was cold, and gave him an ice pack to put under his back and a cold compress for his forehead. Luckily all of it worked and his fever came down enough for him to come up for dinner and the days picture slideshow. We slept really well that night with the rocking of the boat and the sound of the water outside.
Day three started early once again. We stepped onto the deck and we were greeted by whales, dolphins and turtles alongside a beautiful sunrise. We ate beakfast and a few of the certified divers did a drift drive and then it was back the the mainland. We all enjoyed the sun on the two hour ride back. The haze from the dust storm finally lifted on the last day and for the first time we could actually see the beauty of the whitsundays. Getting back to the mainland was sad. We all gave each other hugs and contact info and decided to meet at the beaches pub for drinks later tonight. So we will see what tonight brings!
For now we are relaxing and enjoying our first showers in three days and I am religiously applying itch cream to the over fifty sand fly bites that I got on whithaven beach. Maybe a few beers tonight will help!