Everyone in the world should sail the Whitsundays.

June 21, 2013 - Airlie Beach, Australia

Warning- It's impossible for me to write this post without sounding smug. I'm sorry.

I've spent the last three days sailing around the whitsunday islands on a boat called "summertime" and it's been absolutely amazing.
On the sail out there, we spotted a hump back whale jumping out of the ocean and he put on such a show! He was quite far out, but we could see clearly enough and he must have jumped about ten times. I'm not sure I'll ever get to witness that again in my life- such a special moment and a highlight of the whole trip.
That afternoon we visited Whitehaven beach- the third most photographed sight in Oz after Ayers rock and the opera house.  It's a contender for the whitest sand in the world, it's 98% silica and so fine it squeaks when you walk on it. We walked up the hill to a great lookout spot and it is easily the most beautiful place I have ever been to. We had a great day for it, the tide was out enough for us to see the different colours of blue and turquoise and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Better than the pictures on the postcards!!
The boat had its own barbecue and sound system and it was barbecued steak and chicken with a beer both nights, barbecued bacon for breakfast and barbecued sausages at lunch. After living on cheap food for three weeks I was having a great time.
Waking up on a boat is one of life's great joys. I love rolling out of bed, climbing up the ladder and looking out to sea whilst eating breakfast. We were getting up so early we even saw the sunrise one morning. The water was dead calm for the three days and the crew were playing Bob Marley and Jack Johnson. Amazing.
The second day was definitely my favourite. As the weather had been awesome and the water was so still, the visibility under the water was top notch. I started the day with an early morning dive (my first ever) and saw the reef at its best.
Feeling a bit keen, I came straight up from my dive and carried on snorkelling, and saw a stingray (beautiful, but I quickly moved away. All I could think was "this is how Steve Irwin died!"
By the time I got back to the boat I'd been in the water well over an hour and was frozen to the bone. I ate lunch and then jumped in the on board hot tub where I had a "moment", thinking: It's a Monday afternoon and I've got the hot tub on a boat all to myself. I'm sat in the sunshine looking out across the Whitsundays with only one other boat in view in the distance. There isn't a cloud in the sky and all I can hear are the bubbles and the sea. Then came the finishing touch: a huge green turtle popped his head up for a breath right next to the boat. Everyone in the world should go travelling, or at least sail the Whitsundays, because that is a feeling you just can't beat.
Day three began with an early morning kayak around the islands and the mangrove trees and a sunbathe on a secluded beach. Fun fact, mangroves are the only plant that can live in salt water. The leaves are green except for a few yellow ones and the roots filter the water so the salt is given to the yellow leaves, which eventually drop off, and the rest of the tree gets fresh water. Clever tree!
Whilst snorkelling we visited stingray bay and saw dozens of them. I can't believe how quickly they move! We also went further out to a spot where turtles like to hang out and a huge one came right under our kayaks. Beautiful.
We'd also seen an eagle resting on a rock and as he flew off we could see he had a fish in his claws. We ended up climbing up to that rock for a good view of stingray bay and saw the evidence of some pretty impressive butchering. I wouldn't have thought a bird would be so fussy! But he'd done a clean job of removing all the organs. Grim.
The afternoon was spent sailing back to Airlie beach and sunbathing on deck. There was time for a quick rest before our sailing trip after party in town, which turned out to be a pretty epic BNO. I found myself at reception at checkout time next morning asking if I could stay an extra night in the hostel, before getting back into bed and deciding to get the bus to magnetic island the following day instead.
All the photos from the trip are on a disk and I'm struggling to find a computer which has a cd drive. As soon as I can get them up I will!

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Dawn Greener:
June 21, 2013
Fantastic. Best blog ever! I'm sooooo jealous. Can't wait for my gap year. Stay safe. Big love. Xxxxx
June 21, 2013
Sounds rubbish.

KIDDING! I've done it and I still have FOMO.

Stay classy xxx
June 24, 2013
Wow! Sounds absolutely amazing and now part of me is seriously considering going travelling just for this! Can't wait for the pictures and I hope that (even though I'm immensely jealous) the rest of your trip just gets better. Missing you, muchous loves :) xxxxxx
Rob Bailey:
July 1, 2013
Hi Rhian. Your Dad sent me this link and said it would bring back some good memories for me. All its done is make me want to jump out of the window! It sounds fantastic and Im so pleased for you. Take care and enjoy the fun. Rob XXX
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