Thursday 19 Apr
Airlie Beach, Australia
Livin' it up in Airlie
We have been haemorrhaging money in Oz but are happy to be eating baked beans on toast to 'pay' for our experiences. Wow.
We went on an awesome 85 minute whirl around the Whitsunday islands (part of the Great Barrier Reef ) in a seaplane . Hadn't realised, but the GBR is actually made up of just under 3,000 individual reefs & 900 islands that stretch for 2,600 kilometres along the East coast of Australia. What a highlight, we saw sights including: Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet, Hook, Hardy and Heart reefs. Won't mean anything until you check the pics out... We also did a sea landing just for thrills. Very cool.
The next day we went for 2 dives (Fantasea Extreme Dives, Wally's Wall & The Hangover). We managed to see lots of interesting things but unfortunately the visibility was nothing like what we had enjoyed in Indonesia. Something about the currents and weather which just goes to show that diving is all about timing and not always about location. The coral was awesome. Still, we had a great day out there and certainly saw a few species of fish that we hadn't seen before.
Today we went on a snorkelling trip which was great fun and again we saw things we hadn't seen before but visibility was clouded by particles in the water. We found a deep crevasse where all the pelagic organisms were hanging out and we dived down until our lungs were bursting for air. This was followed by the Hill Inlet scenic walk and some time spent on Whitehaven Beach. This is, with a quartz content of 99.7%, officially the whitest beach in the world. In fact the sand on this beach was used by NASA to creat the glass on the Hubble Space Telescope. Now there is something I bet you didn't know!!!
Andrew, however was not impressed. Two reasons:
1/ Palm trees - there were none
2/ You need to wear stinger suits (similar to wetsuits) so that you are protected from the various stingers to be found in Australian waters - jellyfish, stingrays (of which there were plenty) etc
I loved it and gave myself a full body exfoliation with the sand, going into the water un-stinger-suited to rinse it all off.
Living on the edge again.
We're off again tomorrow. Not sure where but probably Mackay to see the platypus.