Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef

Sunday, March 2
Apparently one young woman in our dorm felt that if she had to be up early, everyone did so she turned on the florescent lights before 7 am. Nice. Good thing she’s not the norm. Most people are much more considerate.
Sue and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of yogurt and granola. We’d both been missing it so picked some up at the grocery store last night. We were too tired to cook dinner so finally tried barrimundi. The fish and chips place even grilled it and we had salad instead of chips. Nice!
Rainbow Beach is pretty small and it took us all of maybe an hour to check it before I sat down to use the wifi “borrowed” from a travel agency and Sue went off to find a computer. Turns out if you pay $2 for a membership at Peter pan, you can use their internet free. Unlimited.
We caught the Greyhound at 3:30 and got off at Hervey Bay. Nothing’s open on Sunday so we hung out with Gosha at McDonalds because…..they have free wifi 🙂 It’s slow, but does the job. We ate hummus and crackers and ignored the signs that say you can’t do that and for desert got an ice cream cone. I ordered 2 cones and she said “60 cents” I asked “WITH ice cream?” Yep. I found something cheap in Australia!
Then came the night bus. 12 hours to Airlie Beach. One might even get some sleep if the driver wasn’t required to stop every 4 hours. Oh well. We’ll catch up.

Monday.

I’ve tried everything a pharmacist could give me plus my own remedies and was still not well so Sue convinced me to see a doctor. Easier said than done. The first clinic was booked till next week. Docs on holidays and all that. Second clinic was the same. Nobody had ideas on what to do about it. Seriously? Finally I asked if there was anyone who would just write me a scrip for an antibiotic that would kill the infection I know is afflicting me. No, you have to see a doctor. I find it amusing that I’d have easier access to medical care in Central or South America, and even Cuba. Finally she agreed to “squeeze me in”. It didn’t take a full 10 minutes to do a test and conclude that yes, I had an infection and I got a scrip. They would contact me with the results. Or not. I don’t have a phone. Lol
After collecting our luggage and checking into our room we set off for a walk. There’s not much to see so we came back for our suits and went for a swim in the lagoon. You can’t swim in the ocean here or the jellyfish may kill you. That’s incentive to stay out.
The hostel offered pizza for $5 so we thought, why not and joined in and had a nice visit with Mieke from Belgium. We all ate far too much pizza and have some left over for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 4
I took no photos yesterday. None. It’s the first day since leaving home that not one photo was taken. After a lazy day we met the crew, Dave and Brittany and set sail on the Blizzard. Dave warned us it was windy (30 knots with gusts) and what a ride! Sue and I were prepared and already wearing swimsuits. Others were apparently not aware they’d get wet which we certainly did. Often the boat was tipped on her side and our legs dangled in midair. Fun!
We got to our destination just as it was getting dark and were served hot snacks. Dinner was delicious too. After spending time getting to know the other 8 guests we tucked into our TINY cabins for the night.

March 5
Nobody got much sleep as the wind howled in gusts all night and rocked the little boat. Oh well. After a 6:30 am breakfast we set sail again. This one was much calmer. We landed on Whitsunday island and hiked up to the view point, then down to the beach where we lounged for a few hours. Sue and I hiked back up later to get a photo of high tide as well.
Back at the boat we got to try the stand up paddle board and search for turtles. Johnny mastered it. I mastered the sit down paddle board and then had a nice swim.
After lunch we sailed again and went to a snorkeling spot. The coral there was quite damaged but there was still an abundance of fish. Everyone else was back in the boat and it was just Jan and I so we opted to swim back on our own. That’s when we encountered the bat fish. Jan got it to nibble his toes. They didn’t like mine 🙂

March 6
I slept like a baby in a rocking cradle. After breakfast we set sail for Langford reef where we walked the sand spit and then went snorkeling, always watchful for turtles. After about 1.5 hours I felt the need to dry off a bit. Silly as I was wearing a sting suit and since it’s so hard to get on and off and had no intention of removing it yet, so after a 10 minute break, was back in the water. I tried the the hand jet thing, kicked it in to third gear and buzzed all over the place. I felt like James Bond. Lots of fun 🙂
Jan shouted TURTLE and I was back in the mask and snorkel. It ended up being just the two of us. Others were watching from the dingy. Dave brought everyone else back to the boat and told us we could have 20 minutes more. Nice!
I hosed myself down, peeled off the sting suit and thoroughly enjoyed the wraps prepared by Brittany. The sail back to Airlie was exciting but we’re getting used to it. Dave says he rarely does more than 10 knots in this boat but we’d hit that several times over the last 3 days. Fun!!
We checked into the hostel where there was a message waiting from the doc. After doing a load of laundry, hanging it on the line I walked over to find out what was up. Apparently I”m on wrong drug so she wrote me another scrip. For someone who never takes pills I’m carrying a lot.
Supper was a local noodle shop. Different and pretty tasty. For dessert we went to McD’s for our 30 cent ice cream and went for a walk. We heard so someone holler across the street and there was Chris (from our Outback tour) waiting for pizza. After chatting with him a bit, and laughing at his antics,we headed back and repacked our suitcases. Again. Clean clothes. Yay!
I’m tanned darker than I’ve been in years yet still I managed to burn today. I got my neck, ears and the white lines on my feet burnt. Oh well. Even those who use sunscreen miss patches.

Another pretty fish :)

Another pretty fish 🙂

Funny clams.  I loved watching them :)

Funny clams. I loved watching them 🙂

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White haven beach at high tide

White haven beach at high tide

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Whitehaven beach at low tide

Whitehaven beach at low tide

March 7; Tried to leave the dorm as quietly as possible, had some yogurt and granola in the kitchen and waited for the rain to slow down before walking to the bus stop. Thus began our all day bus ride. There’s supposed to be wifi on the bus but no one had any luck connecting. Oh well. The scenery was nice. Farmland changed to sugar cane crops with the odd break for bananas. We passed through a jungle area too. I could edit some photos and read a book. Good day to relax 🙂
The stop at Townsville resulted in a bus change as there was something broken somewhere so we had to unload all the luggage, wait about a half hour and load it all again. No wifi on this one and one ofvthe last guys to load had a BAD odour problem. He stunk up the whole bus. Many had various articles of clothing over their noses. Some one tried perfume. Then it smelled like b.o..AND perfume. Yuck. We all turned up the air which helped a bit.
We arrived in Cairns over an hour late and were supposed to stop at the travel agent and confirm the reef trip but they were closed. All this reconfirming things is annoying. We were supposed to do it for the Fraser trip but forgot and that was fine. I asked at a dive shop and the guy told me where to get the boat and that we shouldn’t need to reconfirm if we have a voucher.
The check in at the hostel took forever. Apparently Sue’s name was spelled wrong and she was French. Sheesh. We dragged our bags up to the second floor to find a young man there. Pretty sure we booked a female dorm we trudged back to reception where I asked to see our voucher. I pointed out FEMALE dorm. SIGH. More punching buttons on the computer. I again told Sue that our pencil and paper works MUCH better than computers. I could have checked in a whole family, rented them a boat and sold them fishing licences in the time it took them to check 2 women into a room. The young man offered to carry my bag upstairs and I told him to never mind, but take Sue’s. It has wheels and is heavier. We ended up having a 6 person dorm to ourselves. Nice!
Next we went in search of supper and found a place with a $13 special that included a drink. I guzzled my beer while waiting for food. Sue reminded me it was BEER, not water. Lol
After walking the trek to the pier to make sure we knew how to get there and how long it would take we headed for bed. Thus ended the second day since the trip started that I took NO photos 🙂

Dave, our skipper

Dave, our skipper

Sue, loving the speedy, adventurous sailing!

Sue, loving the speedy, adventurous sailing!

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