Another three nights and two days have slipped by. These were spent in Airlie Beach known as the jump off point for exploring the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. As we arrived Friday evening, we did little but have a couple of drinks with our gracious Bnb hosts, Marney and Phil.
Saturday was spent exploring the town and taking in some sun and water. Airlie Beach has a lagoon which is actually a large public pool right beside the ocean. This keeps everyone safe from stingers and crocs.
Sunday was our big day as we had booked a day long cruise on a schooner. The day did not start well as we were unable to communicate with the tour operators and did not have a pickup point. We took a cab but the dock listed on the email was the wrong one. The skipper started looking for us once we didn’t show up. They tracked us down and we were off, albeit 15 minutes late. The day was beautiful and the water was calm. They served us coffee, tea and a small cake once we were underway. We stopped along the reef at, I believe, Border Island and did some snorkeling. Richard snorkelled as well so time to get out of the bathtub Kim and join us on our next snorkeling holiday! I had the GoPro but I didn’t see any fish. So, all you will see on the videos is some coral. Richard saw fish but alas, had no camera. After snorkeling, we headed to Whitehaven Beach. Now this is the picture that you will always see of the Whitsundays – pure white sand beach and clear blue water. The videos that Richard is attaching will tell that story. After a couple of hours on the beach, our boat headed back to Airlie Beach. On the return trip, our skipper showed us a map of the islands, gave us a crash course on navigation and explained how global warming was affecting the reefs. This is quite frightening as we are losing more of the reef every year due to climate change. It is predicted that if we continue to lose the reef at the rapid rate that it is going now, it may disappear within 30 to 40 years. This means all fish and plant life goes with it. It really is a scary thought. It is interesting to note that the ocean absorbs 80% of the world’s coal pollution. Wow! And here I thought thought that only the rainforests were at stake! We need to start looking after our planet!
The skippers right hand mate was a young lad from Glasgow. He was travelling the world about 4 years ago and ran out of money in Airlie Beach. He got a job on the boat and is still there. We talked to him at length about Scotland and what to see and do. Of what I could understand, (always a linguistic experience when talking to a Scotsman!) Edinburgh and the bars anywhere are worth spending time at. He is very excited to see his mom and brother who will be coming for a visit in a week. Such a nice young man. Travel really does bridge the generations!
Once off the boat we headed back to our Bnb to nurse a sunburn and get ready for our travel day today. And here we are on the bus back to Townsville. We are catching a flight tomorrow for Alice Springs where we will pick up a campervan – our home for the next 14 days as we travel through the Outback on our way down to Melbourne. Now that should be an experience!