I took the overnight bus to Airlie Beach from Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island. The trip was a whopping 15 hrs, with a 3 hr layover in Hervey Bay. The swedish couple from Fraser Island were on the same bus so was able to pass the time with them. The long greyhound bus rides really are not that bad, I actually look forward to them. Sit back, relax, throw on the tunes and cruise. The Mummy movie series were on the TV screen but not too much of a fan of those. Got into Airlie Beach the next morning at 7am and was welcomed by a rainstorm. It was not unexpected. At a certain point up the coast you hit the wet season, where most of the northern territory is marred by frequent cyclones and monsoons. The weather is still warm and very humid but it rains almost every day.
Anyhow, not having much to do during the rain I decided to make my way to my #1 adventure travel agent, PeterPans where I stayed for about 3 hours and booked the rest of my Australia trip and adventures and took a good chunk of my New Zealand itinerary. In addition to that, I extended my flight home, I now return on March 7, giving me ample time to do all that I want to do in New Zealand. It was a very productive couple of hours.
In the afternoon I met up with Kristian and Camella (swedish couple from Fraser) and we headed to the man made Airlie Beach lagoon for an afternoon swim. With the rain off and on it was still relaxing.
After that we headed back to our hostel, Airlie Waterfront Backpackers, cleaned up and headed out to find a place to eat. We ended up at Beaches, a backpacker hostel with cheap food and an outstanding outside bar. I had the steak sandwhich, it was solid. After dinner it was time for a few jugs of beer. The three of us had a great time talking and reminiscing about our Fraser Island trip. Then some live music started up. A man by the name of Patches played and he killed it. All cover songs, with standouts being songs from Johnny Cash, Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, Tom Petty and Pearl Jam. Just him and his acoustic guitar, he got the bar jumping. It didnt take very long till the three of us were out on the dance floor. The night ended up being a great one, got a lot more out of just a quick dinner spot.
Today was the day I went sailing through the Whitsundays, a group of 74 islands just off the coast of Airlie Beach. Without setting an alarm the night before I miraculousy got up at 705, just 20 minutes before a shuttle was going to pick me up. I was very lucky or else I would have missed my entire trip. Well anyway the weather was shit that morning, and not being too much of a sea man I was a bit worried about my full day tour out on the sea. I was aboard the sailing ship "camira" with about 70 other people.
All started well but once we hit open water I started feeling the sea sickness. The water was rough and we were plowing through some huge waves. Mom, I know you are reading this, this boat ride would have been enough to knock you out for about 2 weeks, it was brutal. Anyhow, it was a great day for sailing as the crew kept saying, but not too great of a day for sightseeing and doing a tour of the islands. About an hour or 2 into the trip we stopped for a snorkel dive of the reef. We all put on stinger suits and got our fins and snorkel gear on. I was hoping being out in the water would make me feel better but it didnt do much. The conditions were terrible. Very choppy waters and since the wind was up the visibility of the reef and fish was weak. I did see heaps of fish in the time I was out in the water but the whole thing was not very enjoyable since I was feeling under the weather. Back on the boat I found comfort lying down on one of the trampoline areas they have near the front of the vessel. It rained down pretty hard for a good portion of the trip, but as the day went on some sun came out. Being out of it laying down and not wanting to move, the sun just torched me since I had not re applied sunscreen since the snorkel dive. I knew it was happening but moving to go get sunscreen was not my bodys number one priority. Well I ended up getting the worse sunburnt of the trip but dont know if I would change that. I never vomited the entire trip and was defintely not the only one on the boat who was sick but it was just a shame. Anyhow, our next destination was Whitehaven Beach, a beautiful place. I spent the entire time on the beach trying to recoup.
After we boarded the ship after the beach, we were served a huge bbq, that once again I couldnt really enjoy. Too make things worse there was all you can drink beverages on the entire trip, cokes, lemonade, and beer. Seeing everyone around me drinking beer after beer was pretty annoying but that was the last thing I felt like drinking. Anyhow we had about a 3 hour sail back to the mainland after the bbq so I quickly returned to my favorite position laying down at the front of the ship.
Reading this, it seems like it was a pretty bad time, well yes it was but it is something I do not regret doing. The Whitsundays is one of the must sees on the coast, and I knew getting sea sick was a very likely possibility going into it. Yes I wish the weather was better, the sail was smoother, and I could enjoy the meal and beverages that were included in the ticket cost. It had potential to be a great day, the Camira was an impressive vessel, with some massive sails. Anyhow it is over now, and you can bet your ass that going into my Great Barrier Reef day trip that I will have every single sea sickness pill, medicine band, that exists on the market.
As we returned to Airlie Beach I needed to get my barrings straight again. I went into the lagoon for a quick dip and headed back to shower and apply a generous amount of aloe vera on my heavily burnt skin.
In the night I met up with Kristian and Camella again and went back to Beaches where the guy that played the night before was playing again. Well when we got their he was playing. It sounded just as good as the night before BUT, this guy played the SAME songs and played in the EXACT SAME order as the night before. It was so annoying and I lost all the respect I had for the guy. The night before I thought he was the greatest musician ever, but now he showed his true colors, no musical talent or diversity. I could understand some of the big hits being replayed, but not every single song and the same setlist. After a few beers and with deep frustration we left and headed to the bar down the road, Magnums. There we shared a jug (pitcher) and I said farewell to my new Swedish friends as our paths probably won't meet up again.