I finally tore myself away from Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. I had already changed my vote for “favorite place” from Byron Bay to Hervey Bay so it was very hard to leave but the guide book said that Airlie Beach (500 miles north) had a lot to offer so I rode north a bit reluctantly (you know how wrong guide books can be). There wasn’t a lot to see on the main road except sugar cane harvesting
or maybe a bird hitching a ride
or another “big“.
I resisted the urge to take some of the side roads
down to the beach since I had set my sights on Airlie Beach. I was NOT disappointed. This was my first view of Airlie Beach.
This town is the jumping off point to the Whitsunday Islands off the coast and it is said to be some of the very best “cruising” waters in the world. From the number of boats that were set up and cruising the area, it must be true.
I checked in to my first backpacker hostel (I am DEFINITELY the oldest dude here) and booked a 2 day 1 night sail around some of the islands on an ex-maxi ocean racer (70 feet). It turned out that there weren’t enough people signed up for the cruise so I was “upgraded” to a 3 day 2 night cruise that would have cost more than twice as much. SCORE!!! This is the boat I originally booked,
this is the one I finally sailed on,
and THIS is the one I really wanted to cruise on. :=)
Lots of islands, sailing, snorkeling, relaxing, swimming, and “yes” there were adult beverages available. :=) One of the best places we stopped was Whitehaven Beach.
The claim is that it is one of the best beaches in the world. The sand was fine and white, and the water warm and inviting.
I took advantage.
And just to show Julia that I was thinking of her (even while “frolicking” on the best beach in the world),
I immortalized her name forever in the sand (or until high tide, whichever comes first). :=) The sunsets at the nightly anchorages were spectacular
but then the sunrises were just as good.
This is our course for the three days,
and this is the crew on 1 foot reef (yup, only 1 foot is above water at high tide).
So my vote for favorite place has once again changed, to Airlie Beach. Too bad I have to leave and keep heading north. Townsville and Cairns are next then I turn east toward Darwin (only about another 2000 miles to meet Cory). Many more pictures here if interested. http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/4659871_pddif/1/375563987_ZLahU Posted by Rick McDermed at September 19, 2008 08:20 AM GMT
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