The walk to Airlie Beach Marina was stunning. I walked along a wooden board walk with the white sandy beach below. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks was hypnotizing. I had forgotten to check in for my boat trip that I was taking that day but I was still feeling chilled out. It was hard to be anything but chilled in this place. I walked past a lagoon and wondered why nobody was sat on the beach. This became clear when I walked past a danger sign saying crocodiles! Did they really just have crocodiles roaming about?! If so, how cool!
Down at the Marina I chilled out sat on the dock side and waited until 7.30am to call the office to check in for my boat. I am booked onto a 2night, 3 day boat trip to the Whitsundays. The Whitsunday islands are a collection of Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia. After a quick phone call to the office my place on the boat was confirmed, people were starting to turn up for the boat and I was getting excited. The boat I was to be spending the next 3 days on was a sailing yacht called Summertime. An Italien guy called Alexio turned up and checked everyone’s names off and helped us all on board.
Our journey out to the Whitsundays was quite rough. The waves were coming over the front of the boat and everyone was getting covered in salt and sea water. I found it quite exciting, but a few of the passengers looked anxious. I am used to spending a lot of time out at sea from working on yachts but I hoped that this wasn’t the weather we would be stuck with for our trip. There were 12 of us on the boat plus 3 crew. The skipper was a true Ozzie. Tanned with a huge smile beaming ear to ear. He spoke loudly and was really enthusiastic. He introduced us to the crew and told us what our next few days would consist of. This was going to be a trip of a lifetime. I love boats and a trip to a beautiful secluded island on a sailing yacht is my idea of heaven.
I woke up at 5am the next morning and made a strong black coffee. When I used to work on the yachts this was always my favourite time to be on a boat. The storm the night before had cleared the sky and it was bright blue without a cloud in sight. The water looked cool and crisp and inviitng. I sat on the edge of the yacht and dangled my legs over. Closing my eyes I relaxed and took some deep breaths, the warm sun felt amazing on my skin. I was so happy that this was to be my home for the next 3 days. I finished my coffee and lay down on the decking.
I must have drifted off to sleep as I was woken up by the clinking of tea spoons of the other passengers making coffee and talking and getting to know each other. I walked into the galley (the kitchen area) and said good morning to everyone. Evereyone was smiling and excited about going to Whitehaven beach. We were all given a wet suit to wear. If you want to swim on the East coast you need to wear a wet suit as there are hundreds of jelly fish. They were everywhere!
As the tender pulled up I wondered why everyone made such a big deal about Whitehaven. It was just a load of pebbles. We set off on a walk up a long set of steps. I was pleased to be doing some exercise as I had not trained that day, and wouldn’t be able to train for the next 3 days. Climbing the steep steps in the heat I think was most people’s idea of hell but I loved it. Little did I know how rewarding the view at the top would be.
It’s hard to describe the things I’ve seen in Australia. Every view takes your breath away. It truly is paradise. The sea is aqua marine and sparkling, the sand is whiter than white and the sun beams down warm and bright. I took a few photos but I wondered if I could ever describe how perfect this view was. As tides turned and seasons changed the elemants stripped impurities from the grains of sand until only brilliant white silica remained. This is what is known as Whitehaven beach. It was more than worth the long hot walk. It was breath taking. I couldn’t wait to walk on it and feel it between my toes!
After another long walk down the other side of the forest we arrived at the beach. The sand was the softest finest sand I have ever felt. Your feet just sank down into it. It was light and soft and fluffy. I lay down my towel and went for a walk down to the ocean. Spalshing around in the shallow water I looked around and the beach was deserted. Tropical paradise. What a great start to my Whitehanven adventure.
The next few days consisted of BBQ’s, kayaking, exploring deserted islands, turtles, stingrays, sunrises and sunsets. I wanted to stay on the boat for another few days but I had left my brother in the hostel and I had my bus booked to Rainbow Beach. There was also a rule on the boat in Oz that if the boat ran out of water you had to come back to land. This meant that we were only alllowed a 60 second shower each day. The idea of a long hot shower at the hostel definitely seemed appealing.
As we approached land everyone was quite emotional. We had shared some special times and I could tell that nobody wanted it to be over. I noticed I finally had phone signal so I called up this gym called Fit in the Whit. It was a crossfot gym run by a guy called Ben. He said it was cool for me to go and jump in a session with them so that softened the blow of me heading back to land. Whitehaven was emotional. Anyone that wants time out from the rest of the world should definitely head to Whitehaven. It could be a hundred years ago, there is no sign of civilisation or of what year we are in. It is a back to basics experience making you realise the important things in life and the beauty of mother nature. The magic of Whitehaven will be etched in my mind for life.