Arriving in Airlie Beach in the middle of the night. A three-hour bus ride instead of the train due to train issues in the past few days. Ely felt stressed due to not having control, but I relaxed. I enjoy doing my own thing and being taken from point A to point B. We quickly settled into our Airbnb bed as we were pretty tired. We opted not to stay in a hostel as it was too expensive. In every place, you must carefully consider where you can stay at a reasonable price. We roughly set a daily budget for our accommodations. It involved careful consideration. Luckily, Ely created a lovely Excel spreadsheet that gives me peace of mind. Everything is still nicely balanced between us.
After a restful night’s sleep, we took the bus to Airlie Beach. It had a beautiful beach with light blue water, but it was somewhat disappointing due to one main street filled with backpacker hostels (read: party places full of rowdy English tourists!). Like almost every beach on the east coast, swimming was prohibited due to stingers (jellyfish). We didn’t stay there for long and instead went for a nice walk from Airlie Beach to Cannonvale along the beach and pier, which was about 5 kilometers long.
Our alarm clock went off way too early, at six o’clock the following day. I don’t even have to wake up that early for work. But we had exciting plans ahead. We were going on a two-day sailing trip to the Whitsundays. According to everyone, it’s absolutely the most beautiful beach. So our expectations were high. (James Cook discovered these islands on Pentecost, “Whitsunday” in English, which is why he named the islands Whitsundays. At that time, there was no knowledge of the time difference on Earth. James Cook discovered the islands on a Monday, so the name is inaccurate.)
The crew warmly welcomed us, and our group of about twenty people seemed great as well. We chose our beds to spend the night and sat on the deck. We were allowed to help hoist the sails, which was a delightful experience. After a blissful four hours of sailing and a delicious lunch, we arrived at Whitehaven Beach, the most famous among the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays. We were taken to the beach by a small boat and headed towards Hill Inlet Lookout.
WOW, there are no words for this. A pristine white beach and heavenly blue water. Beautiful sandbars formed by the tides were scattered here and there. It wasn’t an exaggeration when they said this was indeed the most beautiful beach. We had about three hours to explore the island on our own, and we loved every moment of it. We walked towards the beach, which was absolutely breathtaking. The sand was incredibly fine in texture. We enjoyed a delightful walk along the shore and sandbars, and to top it off, we spotted some rays and small reef sharks. We even took a quick dip in the water (despite the warnings about stingers). After all, we still wanted to add a little adventure to our experience. Finally, we climbed the rocks and enjoyed the breathtaking view.
The small boat took us back to our sailboat, where we were offered some appetizers. Later, our hungry stomachs were filled with delicious spaghetti bolognese, and we gazed at the beautiful starry sky. By the way, the moon is oriented differently here (horizontally instead of vertically), and we were able to spot the planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. Super cool! Exhausted from all the impressions and the sea air, we went to bed early. Unfortunately, sleeping on the deck was not an option because it gets too cold here, and the humidity increases during the night. We didn’t get much sleep because Heath, our chef, snored incredibly loudly next to us. We’re not used to sleeping in dorms as we didn’t have earplugs with us.
The boat engines abruptly awakened us at six o’clock. For a moment, I thought World War III had broken out because the noise and shock almost made me fall out of bed. Quickly, we went up to the deck to witness the sunrise. Once again, it was breathtakingly beautiful. A moment to gather myself and daydream. Blissful! Heath offered us delicious toast as consolation for our sleepless night, and we sailed towards our first snorkeling spot. We were still in the Great Barrier Reef, so we were promised beautiful coral. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spot any turtles this time because the first group had jumped into the water a bit too eagerly, which scared away these shy creatures. What a pity! After half an hour of sailing, we arrived at our second snorkeling spot. This place promised us beautiful fish. Along the way, we encountered a magnificent eagle. Heath fed it fresh meat. It was a spectacular sight to see how these birds catch their food. Heath told us that last year in April, a massive cyclone caused a lot of destruction in this area. Hundreds of boats disappeared, and they have never been found to this day.
Arriving at the second spot, we were the first ones in the water. We were immediately surrounded by beautiful large fish (don’t ask me for names). We swam further and encountered countless more fish. It was fantastic! After all that swimming, we started to feel hungry, and fortunately, it was already lunchtime. We were served delicious wraps (or “vraps” for some :D), and that’s when our journey back to Airlie Beach began. Along the way, the crew received a message via walkie-talkie that a shark had been spotted within the past 24 hours. The helicopter was on its way to locate the shark. Unfortunately, the shark had already attacked two victims. Normally, there are no sharks in this area, but we swim in their habitat, so we must be cautious!
We docked and took the bus back to our Airbnb. We took a refreshing shower and crawled into bed with a blissful feeling and a big smiles on our faces. Once again, we added another beautiful memory to our collection.
X Inez & Ely
- airlie beach
- east coast
- great barrier reef
- james cook
- whitehaven beach