After an immensely long bus ride of almost 13 hours we finally arrived at Airlie Beach. Totally destroyed by the long bus ride we had to take a taxi to our accommodation but since we were still too early, we could not check in yet. So we decided to leave our luggage there and walk towards the center. We were about a half hour walk away from the center. The path we took was beautiful and is called “Bicentennial Walk”. Most of the way can be completed along the sea. During the walk you will see local people fishing, swimming and stand up paddling.
Once we arrived in the center, we wanted to grab breakfast as we were starving. I ate a “Big Brekkie” because I felt like I hadn’t eaten in a week. Strengthened by food we set off to see Airlie Beach. The first impression of Airlie Beach was very positive but we quickly went back to our accommodation to rest and relax at the pool. In the evening we walked back to the center to confirm our yacht trip and, of course, to eat again.
The next morning we got up early to walk to the harbour and start the sailing trip. In the harbour we were welcomed and after a short introduction we began our trip. On the yacht were 2 hostis, the captain, a Dutch couple, a French family and the two of us. At the beginning everybody was rather shy but still friendly.
As soon as we left the harbour we saw humpback whales again. I found it so exciting because we saw whales again, but this time completely unexpected, not like the whale watching tour from the last post Journey to Down Under – 7. stage Hervey Bay.
One hour later we came in contact again with another beautiful sea dweller. A school of dolphins swam next to our boat and they kept jumping out of the water. Maybe they wanted to greet us or encourage us to jump into the water as well. Who knows?
In the late afternoon we finally arrived at the first stage. A snorkeling spot in a bay of Hook Island. I personally found the snorkeling more shocking than fascinating. All corals were damaged or already dead. I remember how the Great Barrier Reef looked like a few years ago and was really disappointed. I talked to the captain about it and he told me something I didn’t know and I wanted to tell you so that you too can help out our environment. Most sunscreens are very harmful to the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem and therefore you should always pay attention to which sunscreen you are using when snorkeling. He also told me that a year ago (2017) a typhoon called Debbie destroyed the habitat and many corals of Hook Island. After snorkeling we sailed to the next stage in order to anchor and stay overnight. At dinner we all sat at the table and told each other about our travels and impressions of Australia. As a highlight Sureya and I went on deck and looked at the most beautiful starry sky I had ever seen. So far away from civilisation you just notice how beautiful the night sky can be without all the city lights. In total I saw 5 shooting stars in this clear and bright night.
The first night on the ship was a nightmare. I couldn’t fall asleep and when I was about to, I was woken by a loud noise. The whole boat was shaking and I did not know what was going on. My first thought was something happened and we were sinking. Only after a few seconds I realized that our captain had turned on the ship’s engine. Completely exhausted I got up and went to the deck. I was not the only one who was woken by the ship’s engine. The Dutchman was already on the deck and watched the sunrise. I joined him and shortly afterwards my girlfriend came too. Together we watched the sunrise and warmed ourselves by the first rays of sunlight.
After breakfast we sailed towards Whitehaven Beach. You must know Whitehaven Beach is one of the most beautiful if not the most beautiful beach in the world but we had to earn our way to Whitehaven Beach. We anchored in a bay close to the beach and then had to walk up a hill. At the highest point of the walk there was a lookout which has the best view on Whitehaven Beach. Actually, the beach should be called Heaven, because I felt like I was in heaven. It felt like paradise on earth!
From the lookout we ran down to the beach. Once we arrived, I didn’t hesitate to immediately jump into the cold water. We enjoyed our quick swim and that we were the first ones there and had the whole paradise for us. The entire time we had to be careful not to step on a stingray by mistake because these animals were swarming all over the place. I was fascinated by them and would have liked to have gotten a closer look at them. After about an hour we returned to the boat because we were going to sail to the next snorkeling spot soon. On the way back we had an encounter with an island inhabitant. He was about 50cm long, black and yellow and crawled on the ground. It was a big monitor lizard. Fortunately, he had no bad intentions. He just wanted to lay in the sun. (Look in the Picture Gallery)
The second snorkeling spot was already much better than the one the day before. We saw so many colourful fish and corals but I would have loved to see a shark or a turtle. Again, I was a little bit disappointed. At lunch we saw a school of whales and sailed with them for a while. Suddenly, they disappeared and we thought they didn’t want to swim with us. After a few minutes they appeared two meters beside the ship and looked right at us. So the question came up, do we study whales or do whales study us? I was able to look one of the whales straight in the eye and see his sheer curiosity. That moment felt like an eternity and it also showed me how clever these animals are. I can’t understand how whales can be slaughtered in such a cold-blooded way!
The third snorkeling spot was by far the best and one wish even came true. I was able to swim with a turtle. This was a really special day for me. I saw so many wild animals and could observe them in their natural habitat. The day ended with another sunset, plenty of alcohol and many shooting stars.
The third and last day on the sailing yacht was kind of strange. Nobody really wanted to go back to the mainland. We sailed about four or five hours until we were back in Airlie Beach. Once there, we said goodbye to everyone and headed home to our accommodation. That day I realized that our Australia trip was coming to an end. We packed our things and in the evening we walked through Airlie Beach one last time.
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