It’s fair to say that me and Liam have been and seen some pretty stunning places around the world so far so I’ll be honest we weren’t as excited as we probably should have been for the Whitsundays. We were feeling a little deflated after leaving our home for the last 4 months and leaving our friends behind. It really felt like they should have been on the boat with us! For us this was just the relaxation before we go and meet everyone on Magnetic Island for our blow-out. However it actually turned into an amazing trip and we saw some things that were truly once in a lifetime.
On the first day we had a long sail out to our first snorkel site of Langford Spit Beach. We were told by the crew that there were possibilities of seeing turtles swimming in the area which for me was the most exciting part! Liam and James both manned up and donned their wet-suits for a snorkel too. I had forgotten how much I actually loved to snorkel as we haven’t done since back in Thailand but I love being able to watch the fish and swim around with them in this under-water dream, it sometimes feels like it’s another world altogether! Anyway I swam ahead of everyone to try and get out of the crowds and hopefully see something spectacular. When I felt too isolated from everyone I swam back only for Liam to ask if I had seen the turtle that everyone else had!! Obviously I felt sick with jealousy but Liam guided me back to where the turtle was last seen and luckily I got to see him and even a little stroke! He seemed to be very at ease with everyone around as he just carried on nibbling on the coral!
We only had one stop that day as we started pretty late on and we had a long way to sail to get to our destination for the night of Hook Island. When we had moored up in the bay it was time for tea so we grabbed a plate and headed back up on deck to watch the sunset over the water. Having a stunning island vista in the background whilst sat on a boat watching the last of the rays disappear behind the horizon is pretty much living the dream.
We were up bright and early the next morning to cram in some activities for the day, we were still in farm time mode so it was almost a lie in for us being up at 6am! We stopped at the second snorkel site at around 7am, I was pretty reluctant to don my wet-suit and jump in the freezing water at that time as there was already a pretty sharp chill in the air! However it was clear when we arrived that the water was rife with hundreds and thousands of fish as you could see them from the surface! The boys weren’t originally going to get in but they were talked around after a bit of gyp from the crew so they also hopped in the motorboat to get dropped off at the reef. I jumped in first and I’ll be honest even I was taken aback at the sheer amount of fish in the water! The guide was throwing bits of bread in the water as well to encourage them to come right up to your face! I even felt a few fish slaps on my face! James braved it and got in for a few minutes but unfortunately Liam opted out and went back to the main boat, he would have certainly freaked out if he had gotten in anyway!
We had one last snorkel site of the day which I personally thought was the best by far! James didn’t bother getting in as he decided he had shown enough braveness for the day! Liam however decided to try again so fair play to him! This time he did get in but immediately started panicking as he saw one too many fish! The coral was closer to the surface as well this time so we had to swim around it, he panicked and touched it which only made things worse so he had to signal for the guide to come pick him back up in the boat!
I spent the full allotted time swimming as far along the reef as I was allowed and I saw some incredible fish and all colours and hues of coral you could imagine! I could have quite easily spent a lot longer exploring it as there were so many different channels to go down, I even had to swim underneath some coral through a large tunnel to see some parts of it which was pretty amazing!
The best part of all though was squinting into the distance and spotting a turtle just idly swimming along. My heart literally skipped a beat and I immediately swam as fast as humanly possible to get another glimpse of these amazing creatures. Seeing the first one was cool but there were so many other people around and it was pretty stationary just eating the coral whereas this one was seen only by me at that time and I swam down to the depths and alongside it for as long as I could! That will be something that stays with me for the rest of my life!
The last stop of the day was what we had all really been waiting for, the Whitsunday Islands and mainly Whitehaven Beach! We had a brisk walk through the island to get to the viewpoint. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting exactly but the view when I got through the tree canopy was like nothing I have seen before in my life.
I can truly appreciate why the Whitsundays are so heavily protected as there as so many strict rules and regulations that every person and boat has to adhere to and I honestly hope that everyone keeps adhering because the beauty of the place really does need to be preserved. Whitehaven and some of the surrounding beaches are different to any other beach in the world because it’s not actually sand that makes up the beaches. There is a huge rift in the earth hundreds of meters below the water just in front of the islands and through this rift comes silica. This is what 98% of Whitehaven beach is made up from and it is the purest of its kind in the world. So pure in fact that Australia exported some of the sand from the beach to NASA in the USA to make glass for the Hubble Telescope!
Walking on the sand is amazing too, it feels like walking on talcum powder and it’s so incredibly white that it hurts your eyes just to look at it! We had a bit of relax on the beach and tried out the different used for the sand including exfoliating our skin and rubbing a small amount on your teeth which is meant to give them a good clean! The water around the islands was really shallow because of the current the sand just gets moved around so the area never looks the same twice but as a result you can practically walk on the sandbars from one island to another! While we were having a paddle in the crystal clear blue waters we noticed some dark shadows moving under the water! There were some pretty scared stingrays swimming around, it was difficult to get close to them because they swam away almost instantly when you go near them but if you stand still and calm they will swim right past!
When we were back on the boat we had a pretty long journey back to our rest stop for the night as we parked up right in front of the Airlie Beach Marina ready to return in the morning. On the way we saw one of the most incredible sights. A Humpback Whale swam towards us and past our boat! Seeing it come to the surface for air and its tail flipping out of the water as it swam away was just breathtaking. I feel so privileged to have seen such an amazing creature just out of pure chance! Like I said this trip has brought us so many wonderful surprises.
Our last night on the boat was all about the drinking games! We had parked close to shore so we don’t have to get up as early in the morning and so we didn’t have to sail very far hungover! I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a pretty site if we did have to!
I’m quite glad that we saved our Whitsundays until after the farm as it gave us three a chance to set back off on our adventure together the way that it started 4 months ago! I cannot even imagine how hard it’s going to be for Liam to say goodbye to James again and I know they both feel like they haven’t had enough time together. It’s also hit me that Magnetic Island is where we are going to have to say goodbye to some now very good friends and that the farming part of my life with no cares or worries in the world is gone. Sitting on the greyhound bus with Liam listening to songs that remind me of being out in the field picking and sitting around the dongers with everyone, I definitely got a little tear in my eye! I cannot wait to have one last big session with everyone and just generally belly laugh the weekend away!