Taking a small break from snorkeling.
Is this for real???
Hanging out with Lorenz.
December 12, 2006
Upon arriving in Airlie Beach in Whitsunday, I immediately went to an agent to book a sailing trip. I was told in Cairns that it
wouldn’t be a problem and that there would be lots of availability. That information proved to be less than accurate as there was
nothing available for tomorrow. And since I am running low on time, it would have been possible to book one for Thursday…but
then I would have to rush to get down to Brisbane once the trip was over.
They ended up finding a boat that was available for tonight. It was a ‘tallship’. It was not my first choice as I wanted something
that resembled a ‘sailboat’ but it was going to do. Plus, everybody in the agency office had nothing but great things to say about it.
Right now I’m on Airlie Beach relaxing and enjoying the lagoon and the ocean for the next few hours before I head out on the open
I have absolutely no idea what to expect with this trip. All I know is that I am looking forward to it…
December 15, 2006
Oh, how lovely sailing can be…
Today is the last day of my 3-day sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands. It will soon be time to deboard the Solway Lass –
the pirate tallship that I have been staying on.
It has been such a great time. I can’t believe how time can fly and that it will soon be over. I thought for sure I would grow tired
of the two-in-one toilet/shower combo but, alas, I was wrong.
Since I haven’t written for a while, let me start from the beginning…
We all boarded the boat on Tuesday night. I was taken to my room which consisted of six beds in the form of three bunk beds.
This room was also at the end of the hall and provided a total of zero ways that you could receive natural light. Therefore, there
always had to be one light on in order to see anything. I almost felt like I was in an episode of ‘The Real World’ as I was the first
one to come on-board so I got to pick my bed first. Bottom bed for sure. I put my stuff onto the bed I wanted. Anybody who has
ever watched the show and has thought ‘Oh, I would wait until everybody gets there’ with regards to picking a bed is giving
themselves way too much credit.
My roomies for the next few nights would be Lucy, Lisa and Charlotte – a group of three friends traveling from England, and
Claudia – a Dutch woman (I would later find out that Claudia isn’t only a ‘Dutch woman’ but she might possibly be the only Dutch
woman alive who has never tried marijuana). I have to say how extremely pleasant it was to never have to worry about snoring
on this entire trip. I even came equipped with some new earplugs from the pharmacy (or as they call it out here – ‘The Chemist’)
before this trip started. Hooray for silent sleepers!
Our first night gave us a chance to chat with some of the other people on the boat, albeit in the pitch dark. Well, I guess it wasn’t
‘pitch dark’ as we did have the light from thousands and thousands of bright stars shining on us. Simply incredible.
Our first day started on Whitsunday Island at Whitehaven beach – one of the top five most photographed Australian sites. It was
stunning with the bright blue/aqua waters and the brilliant white sand. There was no need for footwear of any kind as the sand
was made up almost entirely of silica and, therefore, never gets hot. Now that is my kind of sand! Sadly, this would not stop the
sand from getting all over me. Until I took a shower, I kept feeling that I was giving myself an exfoliation treatment every time I
reapplied my sunscreen. Definitely not one of the most pleasant feelings in the world. A couple hours after arriving, it was time to
leave. Probably good timing as the Australian sun can get quite hot.
After lunch we went for a short walk at another part of Whitsunday Island (the largest island of the bunch). This would take us to
a lookout point to see Whitehaven Beach from above in addition to the breathtaking water all around. It is hard to say exactly
how many different shades of blue and green I saw from up there. Depending on where the sun was, the colors continued to
change. Because of this, it was near impossible to stop taking pictures while up there.
It was also up near this lookout where I would meet Lorenz and Mark – two friends from Switzerland.
Once we all got back on the boat, it was time to spread this puppy’s wings – or ‘sails’ to be exact. It was also during this time that
I would talk more to Lorenz (pronounced ‘low-ronce’) and would get to thinking ‘Hmmm… I think something might happen
here…’ I am trying to pinpoint the moment I felt this. Ahhh…yes. It was when we were sailing and he asked if he could get me a
drink (actually, he asked if he could ‘treat me’ to a drink – too cute!). After a couple glasses of wine, I think I was getting friendlier
with Lorenz. But to be honest, I don’t totally remember. What I do remember is spending most of the evening/night hanging out
with him. Oh, I also remember hanging out with him on the roof of the boat and seeing dolphins swim by. That was pretty cool.
Yesterday our day started with a morning snorkel. Here we were…in the warm water of Australia…yet we all had to wear full
wetsuits! Why was this? We would be ever-so-lucky to be here during jellyfish season. Their stingers can be beyond painful, if not
lethal. Therefore, it’s required that we are protected while in the water. For some reason, this time around I didn’t have as big of
a problem with this pain-in-the-butt piece of clothing.
Snorkeling in this area did not disappoint whatsoever. As opposed to the Great Barrier Reef (which is soft coral), this area has
fringing coral. A different look but just as spectacular. I am a big fan of the clams – I love watching them open and shut. A lot of
times it seems like there are built-in clams in some of the rocks – this almost gives the appearance that the rock has several pairs
of lips. I couldn’t help but laugh when watching this. One of the craziest feelings was when I was near the boat and they threw
food out to the fish. Hundreds of fishies went whizzing by me brushing up against my body and my face. I really felt like I was in
an aquarium with them. Other things I saw were clown anenomefish (aka Nemo), barracudas, a huge bat fish, rabbit fish, angel
fish, many types of wrasse and lots of parrotfish. And as for the most disgusting thing I saw? The honors would go to the
parrotfish that I saw relieving himself in the water. This just brought to mind exactly what goes into my mouth every time I
swallow the sea water by accident. Ick.
Our second snorkel site might have been even better than the first as the coral was that much more impressive. It was
fascinating listening to the fish eating. I had thought for a while that fish were blind and that was why they always appeared to be
banging their little heads against the rocks and coral. I realized that I was the one who was blind as what they were doing all along
was eating. Silly me.
After being in the water, the rest of the day would be spent enjoying the sea from the boat. Once the night rolled around, Mark
declared he was going to get a dance party started on the roof of the boat. This seemed a bit questionable as many people on the
boat didn’t seem like ‘dance party’ types. But Mark came through. There must have been about fifteen people up there. I am also
proud to report that my ipod was the deejay for the event so I, of course, loved all of the music that was being played.
And as for today - the last day…
We spent the morning snorkeling in this area that looked unreal. There was an island of white sand smack in the middle of the
blue and green waters. While there weren’t as many fish in this area, there were many turtles. Huge turtles. Some resting in the
coral. Some swimming. Some coming to the surface to get some air. Ohhhh, how cute these guys were! Another incredible sight
started by seeing one rather large fish (maybe about two feet long). Then Lorenz pointed below me. This fish had about one
hundred identical siblings right beneath us. They were one huge pack of large fish. We kind of just floated there mesmerized by
the whole thing.
Once snorkeling was wrapped up, it was time to get ready to admit to ourselves that the trip was just about over. After lunch, we
had to get our rooms ready. The rest of the time I hung out with Lorenz. I tried to be so incognito all along but I realized last night
that everybody knew anyway. So by this point, it didn’t even matter if he had his arms around me.
I am now on the bus to Noosa. I tried to change my bus ticket to a later time so that I could hang out with some of the peeps from
the boat but there was nothing available. During the hour of time that I had, Lorenz and I grabbed a glass of wine and hung out
before it was time for me to leave. He then walked me to the bus station and waved my bus farewell.
There is a chance that I will be able to see him and Mark in Auckland…but I am not banking on that. Instead, I am just seeing it
that I had an incredible time on my Whitsundays trip…