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Racing up the East Coast of Austrailia

from Airlie beach to the Whitsundays, Magnetic island, Mission beach and cairns

We left Hervey bay (blog coming - saved on a friends lap top) and its confusions about pronuciations on our premier motor bus. Andy, Amy and Alex from Fraser island were on the Greyhound - which broke down on them last time and was this time late - so our bus set off before them.

We all arrived together after the night bus in Airley beach. A beautiful small marina town filled with lively bars and shops and cafe's. As one t shirt put it "Airley beach - a drinking town with a sailing problem'. However we didnt have much time there, checking in at 9:30 am we then headed for breakfast, to check in with Tribal travel for our sailing trip, sort out some emails in various orders. We met up after an afternoon on the beach / by the lagoon for a beer while waiting for our laundry to wash and dry and wash and dry. The next morning it was up early again to get to the marina and on to our boat - the Apollo (RACING HISTORY Apollo has a proud and extensive racing history listed as follows: Sydney – Hobart one first, three seconds and two thirds. Winner of the South China Sea Series. Apollo has won every major race held on the East Coast of Australia including: Sydney to Brisbane and Brisbane to Gladstone. Apollo set the record for the Sydney to Southport race. Winner of the Kenwood Cup. Winner of the Around Hawaii Island Race. Winner of the Cairns New Guinea Race. Winner of the Hobart to Honiara Race and not forgetting Winner of the 6 gruelling Whitsunday Fun Races consecutively.)

On board we were shown our beds - any travelling as a two got a double ish bed. Ours was above two dutch cousins who bagged the bottom. The top meant that i as the smaller person was next to the sloping ceiling and leanne was on the edge with imminent danger of rolling off the edge on to the dutch below! Over all the trip was amazing. We set off with clouds and drizzle but it cleared off to blue skys for our first snorkle. Having forgotten all my diving certificate stuff , I was content to snorkle along with Leanne and we saw some amazing fish and coral in the shallow calm waters. The Whitsundays are part of the Barrier reef - it was like being in Thailand but bigger, brighter and more colourful! After a nap on the beachy cove it was back to the boat and some more sailing - including hoisting sails and the like - to the area we were having dinner. While cruising around the islands we saw WHALES!! playing and dolfins as well, truely great for us as we hadn't had time to see the whales when we were in Hervey bay. After a great dinner cooked by chef Karl, we had some drinks all together but it was early to bed as we would be up with dawn. The second day we went to the best beach in the area after some morning snorkling and took with us beach volley ball, roudners, cricket etc. The white hot sand was also very good for napping on while 'referreeing' the games going on.

Back into the dingy (or maxi taxi) in 3 groups of 9 we were back on the boat and off to another sheltered cove for dinner again - more hoisting and sitting on the high side as the boat clipped along through the waves some of which may have hit a few of us on board! Sitting on deck eating chips and dips as the sun sets among the waves around you is an experience not to be missed!

On our last morning we snorkeld a bit more - but the site wasnt as exciting as the others so headed on to South Molle island for a 2k treck up to a viewing platform to see the whole of the whitsundays. Just as we were heading back to the boat to change out of our stinger suits we saw a turtle! Yes! another must see ticked off our list!

The walk in the heat was deffinately worth it for the panoramic views accross the coral, white beaches, sandy cays and islands. We then trouped down to catch up to the non snorklers who were already using the island resorts pool for some giant milkshakes and sunbathing. Then back to the boat and sailing sailing home to the hostel in Airley Beach. That night we had tables reserved at the pub attatched with beer with our group, some kareoke and dancing then fairly early to bed as we had a bus early the next morning.

9 am found us all at the bus stop again betting on how late amy and andy's greyhound would be vs our premier. Theirs was 15 mins late and ours was on time perfectly! That bus ride was mostly slept sleeping after 3 days of about 5 hours sleep, we were on our way to townsville to get a ferry to magnetic island. The greyhound used a different bus terminal and so different ferry while we walked down the road to our ferry and then via the local bus to our hostel. Adam Leanne and I were in a room together in a quiet tucked away hostel with a small pool and lots of hammocks. We dumped our stuff, looked into getting a ticket for the full moon party at the hostel up the road and called home. Then it was cooking time for dinner and as i wondered back into the kitchen i bumped into a firned from Newcastle called Will! Small world once again, he had also been living and working in Brisbane and was taking a little holiday before heading back for work.

The next day was full of relaxing, reading, hammocking and the like. Adam wondered up to the other hostel to meet up with Amy and Andy to organise meeting times for the party that night. Having found out that it wasn't infact on the beach, you weren't allowed on the beach, you had to buy a ticket we were a little dissapointed when comparing it to our other full moon parties. But we weren't detterred, it would still be outside and we had lots of friends to go with before saying goodbye to them all. We joined a group at our hostel for a few drinks before catching the local bus up to Base hostel where the party was held.

Waking up the next morning to find Adam in a captins hat (he had not set off with) at 9:50 was exciting as we had to check out by 10:00. Then calling to confirm our seats on our bus from Townsville to Mission beach we found out our ticket wasn't valid. Some slightly worried calls to Tribal Travel and we were assured it would all be fine.. concerned but reassured we jumped on the local bus after saying goodbye to Adam. While on the ferry between the island and the mainland (where there was finally signal for our mobiles) we got the call from Tribal, Lucy our star booking agent was on the case and would email us new tickets while she sorted it all out. AT the bus station, the lady at the desk let us pop behind, check our emails and get the new refference then book us on the bus 1 hour later. Tired and a bit smelly we arrived at our best hostel so far - Scottys beach house in mission beach. Nice rooms around a large and deep pool complete with plank to walk accross, laid back helpful staff and full of friendly faces. After crashing out for a nap we were pointed in the direction of food and then chilled out watching the antics around the pool.

The next moring it was repacking, bed unmaking and check out time again. At Scotty's they have had the genius idea of selling individual slices of bread and eggs. Perfect when you're not staying long but dont want to eat precooked or fast food. A nice egg breakfast and then down to the beach... where we saw amy and andy again! They had infact been staying in the room next to us! A lift to the bus stop that nigt and it was on to Cairns arriving at night and wondering up to our hostel NJoy which was slightly out of the city.

Posted by eralc 27.09.2008 18:47 Archived in Australia

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