Happy Canada Day!!

Trip Start Mar 09, 2008
Trip End Dec 10, 2008

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July 2nd 3:10pm
Happy Belated Canada Day!!!!!

We are safe and sound back on land! We got back from the 3 day 3 night boat trip in the Whitsundays yesterday around 4pm. We decided to start driving right off the boat to make up some time. We were really tired but we made it to a rest stop just outside Ayr. The place was actually really cool! There was this side road parallel with the hwy that you could just pull over to the side of the road and camp. They had a building with hot showers, toilets, and a camp kitchen with BBQ's and everything! All for FREE! It is put on and maintained by the Shire. There were about 40 other campers there too! The only rescrictions were that you could only stay for a MAX of 24 hours and no tents allowed. Perfect for our needs. We knocked right out..and it was only 7:30pm. We were tired from all the salt water and diving, snorkling and the sea sickness. Yeah even me... I never get motion sickness. Crazy! I guess just being in the bottom left hull of the catameran instead of up on the deck makes a difference.

So, the trip itself....WOW! The first evening we got on the boat at 7:30pm, got fitted for our wet suits and got the instructions of the boat, and did a little meet and great with the crew and other travellers and got settled. The boat was about a 70 ft catameran called Pacific Star. We chose it because it was a main diving boat instead of just a tall ship which is more of a sailing trip, and learning to sail etc. We wanted DIVING! We had about 20 people on the boat, including the skipper, 2 dive instructors and the hostess/cook (she was from Edmonton AB!!) It was a nice group of people.

The next morning breaky is served at 7am!!! So we get up from our little ship bedroom and climb the ladder to the galley. The plan for today is go to Whitehaven Beach and our first dive after.
We get shuttled over to Whitsunday Island, and hike about 1 km to the lookout. And there is one of the best views EVER!!! Whitehaven beach, well actually, Hill Inlet is what everyone takes the picture of. So we snapped away. Then hike back down to the opposite side of the island to where the beach is. Wow! The sand was soooo white! You needed to squint like you would with sun on snow! And the sand was the consistancy of flour! Really! So we walked around and took some pictures. The contrast with the sand and the water was cool. I hope it comes out in the photos. Back to the other side of the island to get picked up by the boat. BUT the tide had gone out so fast none of the tin boats could make it in to shore to pick us up! They were all getting caught on the reef, so we walked pretty much the whole way to the boat in waist deep water, climbing on the coral. Not the most fun had by all, but definitly an experience.

The first dive we went on wasn't much. The visability was the shits and really there wasn't much to see. Oh well it was our free dive that was included with the package. That night we sailed about 45 nautical miles (whatever that means) to the edge of the GREAT BARRIER REEF!!! We hung out on the outside deck with a glass of wine and watched all the stars. It was just filled with them! No lights anywhere, except the sky. Perfect end to the day.
So when we woke up in the morning, at 7am again, we were there and in the water by 9am! This was awesome diving! We went for a 45 minute dive, went through a cave, which was VERY narrow, saw lots of fish and coral. After the dive we hung out in the sun on the deck and had lunch, then back in the water for another dive at different part of the reef. The rest of the day was spent snorkling and splashing about in the ocean with the fishys. THEN the option came up of a night dive!! My stomach dropped! I was interested but scared out of my mind. Keir has done them before in Mexico but I am just a beginner...and sharks come out to hunt at night....jeez! So I said no. But I sat in on the briefing anyways. After the briefing, I was still iffy but thought, I have to do this here. So I went. I held Keir's hand for most of it, or at least staying close to him. A few times I got a bit panicy because I saw fish that looked like sharks...really they did, but they weren't. It was just weird not being able to see into the black oblivion, only where your flashlight shone.It was cool...and something I probably won't get into the habit of.
The next morning we started sailing back to Airlie Beach but stopped one more time to go snorklling. This was the best place! The coral was quite high up and all the fish were swimming with us. There were some huge fish with Maorie designs all over them that were there, some clown fish like Nemo, polka dotted ones, parrotfish, some HUGE angel fish too. It was the perfect ending to our trip.

I have to say it was nice stepping onto the dock though. And getting back to "Howey" He was lonely in the car park without us.
We left Ayr this morning, and drove to Townsville, looked around, and decided to keep going north. Now we are in Bingil Bay near Mission Beach. We have a beachfront campsite, hot showers and nice cold beer in the cooler. We will probably spend 2 nights here, and then up and onwards to Cairns.
We will write again when we get there!!!
Hope all is well!

Miss you,
Kylie and Keir
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