Whitsunday Islands

I arrived in Arlie Beach around lunchtime the following day on the greyhound bus. The marina filled with expensive yachts moored in the crystal clear turquoise water immediately had everyone on the bus excited. After checking into my beachside hostel I spent the afternoon wandering the streets of the small town, spending some time at the lagoon, walking through the marinas and sitting by the water watching the sunset.

The next day I left the land to set sail for three days around the Whitsunday Islands. The Whitsundays are made up of 74 Island Wonders, on the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. I boarded the Apollo boat along with 25 other backpackers from England, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, USA and even one from Orangeville Ontario! Our green and yellow Apollo boat was previously used as a racing boat in Australia, famous for winning the Sydney to Hobart race. The top deck of the boat was where we spent most of the time during the day, socializing and eating; the bottom and inside of the boat was where our individual sleeping bunks, two toilets, and kitchen were.

Our three days on the water were absolutely amazing. The colours of the water were so perfect and could have been on the front of any postcard. I kept feeling as if I was in a movie. Each day we stopped at 2 islands where we had the opportunity to scuba dive and snorkel around the coral of the Great Barrier Reef. During my first day I was able to scuba dive for a second time. This dive was in Blue Pearl Bay. Here the coral of the Great Barrier Reef was slightly less colourful than near Cairns, however here the fish population was almost triple the quantity. Fish of every size and colour could be found swimming around me during my scuba dive and snorkles. We spent that night socializing on the top of the boat with the other travelers while eating and watching the sunset.

After an early morning wake up, our boat sailed over an hour to the popular Whitehaven Beach. This beach is rated the #1 beach in the South Pacific, famous for the sand swirls visible in the blue water with the change of tides. We saw several sting rays and even small sharks while walking along the water at this beach. After taking several photos and a quick swim, it was back to our boat for lunch and a new snorkel site. Here I spent almost 2 hours in the water admiring the different creatures and coral. A girl from Holland and I were even lucky enough to find two red starfish on the coral while swimming. Our second and final night on the boat was spent socializing under the stars outside topside on the boat.

After another delicious breakfast my third morning was spent snorkeling at Langford Island, home of many sea turtles. Eager to swim with another turtle, several of us from the boat swam all over the water in search of one. One lucky girl spotted one and called the rest of us over to see it. Four of us were able to catch up to the turtle, swimming with it for several minutes before it went deep in to the ocean and out of sight. Another amazing experience and the highlight of my sailing trip! The afternoon was spent making the 2 hour sailing trip back to Arlie Beach. I spent the evening at a local pub with everyone from our sailing trip before saying goodbye to my new friends from around the world. The following morning I took the 2 hour flight back to Brisbane before starting work the following day.



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