Let me first apologize for not writing in ages. My concern when I returned from Whitsundays was writing three papers, so I was all worded-out to write this until now
Monday 24 May we went to the MCG to watch Australia beat New Zealand in a friendly match and their last one before leaving Aussie soil. It was sooo exciting! Australia made a come from behind win and scored within the last minute of the game!
We (Chelsea, Ali, Alissa, Melanie, & myself) left the 27 May for Mackay, Queensland where we took a bus to Airlie Beach. The weather was beautiful and much warmer than Melbourne! And sunny too! We checked into our hostel which was huge and our little cabin we slept in was practically in the rain-forest. This meant that it was extremely damp as well. Oh, did I mention that the AC turned on sporadically and we couldn't control it. It was soooooo cold and we didn't know that we had to buy/rent a top sheet and pillow so I slept freezing the first night there wearing all the clothes I could. This would have worked out much better had I packed warm clothes, but since I was headed to the tropical region why would I do that?! Friday morning was just as gorgeous. We walked around on the little main street that was there and hung out by the lagoon again. I also bought green and gold M&Ms in honour of the Australian World Cup team. The name Airlie Beach is quite misleading because as it turns out there is actually no beach. Actually, there is a beach, but no one goes there because it's very yucky. This same day I discovered after walking by Baskin Robbins several times that you can buy their delicious smelling cones for just a dollar. What a perfect snack! Friday night we figured out how to turn off the AC luckily. The funny thing is that we never would have attempted to turn it off if there hadn't been a welcoming sign that read: "Please do not turn off the air conditioning. It is on an automatic schedule." All this meant to us was that the AC could in fact be turned off. Brilliant! After standing on the bunk bed, some dust, and a few dead moths later we found the hidden switches. Success!
Saturday morning Chelsea, Ali, and I got up for the sunrise (6:30 am) which could have been better but it was still pretty. The hills were covering the rising sun. There was a public market that we walked around for a bit, had some coffee and some homemade apple cake - so yummy! We gathered up all of our stuff and walked to the marina where we would board our three pieces of boat called Avatar. It was a little cloudy that day, but it was still a great day. We had a bit of a snorkel in the afternoon which was sooo exciting! I panicked at first because I wasn't sure that I like not being able to breathe through my nose. After some adjustment and realisation that it's much easier to just stick your head in the water and float than it is to tread water, I became acclimated to the new sensation. Unfortunately we couldn't use our sails, so we motored along to where we would sleep for the night. Apparently our crew had never seen the ocean so calm in three years, AND it manage to stay that way for the next two days we were on the boat - which is also unheard of. This worked out well for us because no one got seasick! Hooray! We tried to sleep on the net between the boat and pontoons but it was a bit chilly, so after some beautiful star-gazing we headed under to sleep.
Sunday morning we woke up for another sunrise followed by a snorkel. At this time, ~ 7:00 am, I was not too warm or awake, but with the possibility of sea turtle spotting I jumped into my stinger suit and convinced Ali to join me. Not all of the passengers came along because it was so early/cool. I saw some new fishies that I hadn't seen yet, but no sea turtles. After swimming back to the boat, we gobbled up a great brekkie. There was always food waiting for us when we got out of the water. Actually, there was always food. We motored to see the beautiful Whitehaven beach where I took more pictures than necessary to capture the beauty of the sand and water, though my photos hardly do it justice. After the beach we went for another snorkel which was the best by far. It was so sunny and clear. THe fish and coral were amazing. I saw even more fish than before. We were also feeding these bat fish off the back of our boat. They were massive and ugly. Yuck. I steered clear of those buggers. After this wonderful snorkeling session we buoyed and anchored up to watch the sunset which was AMAZING - photos to come soon. It was a great time and I am so lucky that I got to see it.
I'm off to meet people now, so I'll have to wrap this up. We are going to the bottle shop followed by some cheap dinner and out to our favorite place that plays 90s pop- fantastic. It's the last night we have with all of us out together because everyone starts heading back to the states. Sigh. I'm going to make the most of my remaining weeks.