Thursday, December 6, 2012

Whitsundays Day 1, Night 1.

You can kinda get used to 12 hour bus rides when they are overnight. So far I haven't had anyone sit next to me which is HUGE - not in space, unfortunately. Antihistamines help, but you're not going to get a good night's sleep. Tossing and turning, aching and stretching, trying to do whatever you can to get comfortable without looking too awkward - scratch that, you're so tired and uncomfortable you don't actually care what you look like. And sunshine streams through the windows so early that even if you are tired still, you are awake. The bus drivers are obliged to stop every couple of hours for half an hour. When people get off at the petrol station to get fried snacks and pies and crisps and 2 in the morning, half asleep, I don't understand why they are hungry; they just feel the need to eat because they can, I think.  A little bit of scenery is all part of the trip along the coast, so you might as well enjoy it in the daylight. 

We arrived in Airlie at 9:30 and as the bus meandered through the winding roads, my eyes instantly woke up when I saw the colour of the sea out the window. It was sparkling aquamarine, exactly what you would see in a postcard and I knew immediately that I would like it here. After we found our way to the hostel, which we couldn't yet check into, I went off to confirm my boat trip and then went for a walk around the town and around the Bicentennial Walk. I didn't exactly plan it very well to go from one 4 night package, an overnight bus, directly to another 4 night package but that night I met one girl who would be on my boat with me as the two Dublin girls I never thought I'd see again were in the same hostel as me and this girl was in their room. She was chatty and friendly and we planned on meeting the next day to do our pre-departure errands like breakfast and goon. It was leftover crackers and early to bed. I couldn't have had high expectations for my boat after Fraser Island, but I knew whatever boat I had booked was the one I was meant to be on, and again, it was only for 2 nights. I had said to the travel agent I wanted to have fun, but I didn't want a party boat with a bunch of 20 year olds, so she recommended this one, called Power Play. 

The boat was much smaller than I expected and I couldn't fathom how 18 of us were going to fit on there, let alone sleep there for 2 nights. We had paperwork to fill out including a medical questionaire and I was told I wasn't allowed to dive because of my asthma. I think I was too scared to do it anyways, so that was a good enough reason for me! We were given wraps and crisps for lunch and allocated rooms/beds. There were three rooms on each side of the boat, one double bed to the left of the stairs, and then one double bed and another one perpendicular to it, which you had to crawl over the other bed to get to. The bathrooms consisted of a toilet, sink, and shower all in one. Don't ask. It was quite cleverly designed for such a small space; I was impressed. In the inside of the upstairs, there was a kitchenette, two tables that turned into beds, and a cushioned bench behind the table bench that also accommodated beds. 

We set sail and sailed for two hours. There were two nets at the front of the boat, in front of the jacuzzi :) and it was really comfortable to lounge there in the sun with the ocean breeze keeping us cool.
Me hanging out the front of the boat.

That first day we sailed around the islands and those who weren't diving went snorkelling. I have to say, I was quite impressed with my willingness to go. As I've said before, I don't like deep dark water and this was right out in the deep big ocean! Who knows what was out there!

Dory: [singing] Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.

 We were all given wet suits, not stinger suits, because there are dangerous stinging jelly fish, and off we went. It was actually absolutely amazing. There were so many different types of coral of all shapes sizes textures and colours and the fish were everywhere, swimming right up to you. Bright yellow ones, rainbow ones, big black ones, flat ones, long ones. It was a whole 'nother world down there that you really don't realise until you see it for yourself. I was still a bit freaked out, to be honest, constantly hooked on the wonders of the underwater life, but vigilantly on guard to what could be lurking in the deep, creeping around me. 
our safety lesson. hand on the head means we're ok.
 Clipper is a party boat. Powerplay is a diving boat. Even though I didn't dive, I loved my boat. There were 3 crew  overly-enthusiastic members, 

4 solo travelers including myself, 5 pairs/couples, and a group of 4 friends. Some had diving certificates. Some wanted to learn. Some, like me, were happy enough to try a go at snorkelling. Even though we had a curfew and a no drink policy for before we got into the water, everyone was really chill and got along exceptionally. In such proximity, you really have no choice! 

and me!
The first night, I was sharing a bed with Sophie that was just next to Kevin and Manuella's. We went to bed pretty exhausted with the AC on, but in the middle of the night, I felt as though I was suffocating. The AC was turned off, the fans wouldn't work, and the propped open window with a shampoo bottle didn't do the air any justice. I moved up to one of the benches, glancing sleepily at the vast open star-lit sky, but was then too cold without covers and spotted an unused spot on the table-turned bed, not exactly sure who was next to me, and fell asleep happily there, hoping no one was coming back. 

Seagulls: Mine.Mine.Mine.Mine.Mine.Mine.

No comments: