Friday, January 21, 2011

Spank me!

17 January

Well after leaving Brisbane yesterday we had a really easy time getting up to Airlie Beach. The flight was on time and actually landed early at Proserpine Airport, which is a tiny little airport with little more than a shed for a terminal and the baggage collection actually allows you to take your own bag off the same trolley they take the bags off the plane with! The bus transfer to Airlie beach was easy and took about 20 minutes and then we headed towards the hostel we had booked for 2 nights. It seemed a pretty nice place, but when we got to the room, we saw a floor to roof window with no curtain and a few Swedish lads who were less than friendly!!

The three of us decided to go out to look around and have a bit of dinner and a few beers so we walked back up to 'Beaches' that we had seen on our walk into town from the bus. Lisa and myself had a jug of beer and Andrea had a lemonade and we waited for the food we had ordered. Andrea, who had ordered last got her food first, while me who ordered first, got my food last and didn’t even get what I ordered , but by that time I didn’t care and ate it anyway!!

After a few beers we decided to head to bed – It had been a long day! The Swedish lads were still up and still being unfriendly, but at least the Brazilian girl in the room said hello and seemed nice.

The next morning, Lisa was full of a cold and so me and Andrea got up and found the office for the boat company that we are travelling with. We booked in for our trip and I met a guy called Iain from Manchester, who would be travelling on the same boat as me – It turned out though that the boat I should be travelling on – 'Matador', wasn’t running, so we would be on a boat called ' Spank Me!!' - who names these bloody boats eh!!?

We went back to get Lisa after Andrea had spent a while choosing a new bag to buy!! Its a nice bag, but I would have bought the bigger one!! Sorry Andrea!! We then had a sandwich from a great little deli, before we headed down to the beach – Little did we know that no one goes to the beach here – There is a man made lagoon that is gorgeous and doesn’t have the problem of jellyfish that you find in the sea!! So we found our spot and spent the next 5 or 6 hours just vegging out and enjoying the sunshine and warm water of the lagoon, while reading and sleeping the day off! It was a lovely afternoon out. About 6pm, when the sun went down we had a walk to find out where we needed to be to catch the boat tomorrow and then headed back to Magnums hostel! In the evening we all went out for food and then Andrea went to pack her stuff, while me and Lisa had a couple of beers in the bar, with a couple from Slovakia and Belguim, that Lisa had met the day before. It was a nice night out, but a fun one.

After a good nights sleep, we were all up by 9am and after packing most of the girls stuff in my bag, we put our big packs into storage and then made our way to the dock we had visited the day before and waited for our boats. I was on spank me, while Lisa and Andrea were booked onto Avatar – a trimaran and a good looking boat!! I was due to leave earlier and after meeting up with Iain from yesterday and also making friends with Clare and Helen, a couple of nurses from Bradford I said goodbye to Lisa and Andrea and boarded the unnamed boat!

It was a good afternoon on the boat, me, Iain, Claire and Helen had a good chat and also met up with Maud, a French girl and two English lads - Ross and Mick It was a really nice mellow afternoon and the weather was great as we motored across the ocean towards the Whitsunday Islands.

Unfortunately, the further we got away from Airlie Beach, the more the clouds gathered and when we stopped for a spot of snorkelling about 3pm, it was cloudy. The snorkelling was good but could have been so much better with bright sunlight and clear water, but it was still really good with a lot of small fish and some really big fish that were happy to eat bread that was thrown to them and even fed by hand!

After the snorkelling and a good dinner of Spaghetti Bolognese, we were taken to a little bar on an Island where we spent a couple of hours drinking and a few people took a dip in the pool. Even Iain had a dip, even though he was naked and had a sit one one of the lads shoulders!! The Swedish guys from my room in Magnums, who are also on the boat, spent most of their time watching shit TV and seem to be unable to socialise with anyone!! Its a bit sad, but hey ho, its up to them!

It started to rain about 9pm, so the boat crew gave us a lift back to the vessel that shall not be named .Me, Iain and Garry were on the first trip back when the rain wasn’t very heavy and we laughed as we sat under cover watching everyone else including Helen and Claire get soaked on their boat trip back. The rest of the evening was spent under the tarp that been raised to cover us and we had good laugh trying to keep dry. Unfortunately the rain kept getting heavier and so about 11pm, we all made our way downstairs and vegged out chatting and drinking before we went to bed. I was lucky enough to have a double bed on my own and also have a hatch above me, but because of the rain I couldn’t open it, so we are having a roasting night inside the boat!! Its a shame, but I hope I can open it tomorrow! During the night the rain stopped and the hatch was opened by someone else. It then started to rain again later on and the water poured into my bed. It was so hot down there though, that it actually helped me cool down as I turned around and slept in the wet patch!!

I didn’t have a good nights sleep and was really unhappy to hear the boats engines start at about 6.30am and motor us towards Whitehaven beach. I was even more unhappy when we reached our destination and I had to get out of bed. The weather was OK, but not brilliant as we were taken ashore to see the most beautiful beach in the world the weather turned again and it started to rain. Claire and Helen said that everywhere they had been it rained so we blamed it on them!! haahaa! We reached the shore and walked the shprt distance to the beach and were not disappointed – Whitehaven beach really is stunning and had the smoothest sand you could ever imagine, but its just a shame it wasn’t sunny while we were there. We actually had a downpour and the four of us spent a while huddling together under a shelter before enjoying the beach when the rain subsided. We spent an hour there and returned back to the place we were dropped off in time to get back to the boat. Ross and Mick were late however and we had to wait for them, but when they turned up, Ross came up to me and said he had met Andrea on the beach and she said Hi, which was really nice to hear!

We spent a couple of hours motoring around in the boat and did a bit of snorkelling before lunch – Myself and Maud saw a real live turtle swimming in the ocean and eating from the reef – It was a great sight and we followed the turtle for about 15 minutes before it swam into deep water. It was so good to see though and Helen and Claire were a bit peeved that they hadn’t seen it. I had tried to find them to call them over but couldn’t find them in the sea!

After a great lunch of sausages and pie I had a trial scuba dive lesson and after a weird start, when I didn’t like the bubbles from breathing out, passing my ears I loved it. It was great to see the rain falling on the sea from below and the dive was great. I think I will definitely do it again sometime soon. Me and the instructor spent about 40 minutes exploring the reef and the fish and I would recommend it to anyone to have a go.

After the scuba diving, we all piled back onto the boat and headed off towards Daydream island, where we were to spend the night just off shore. The weather was coming in again and the rain kept stopping and starting but it didn’t spoil the atmosphere on the boat. Me, Iain and Claire and Helen spent a while talking absolute bollocks about tea, shit and biscuits and it was a good fun afternoon.

We had just started on the wine when we reached Daydream Island and decided to go ashore to see what was there.

It was a strange place – Supposedly a high class resort. But, it felt like a mix between butlins and a dodgy hotel. The people there looked pissed off with life as they sat around listening to rubbish tunes being played by some tacky Caribbean band. Its a real shame because the island is beautiful. The best and worst thing there is a small lagoon with sharks and stingray swimming around – It was a lovely lagoon, but a bit cruel to keep the creatures there.

We made our way back to the beach and got the tender back to the boat just as it started to rain again. Dinner would be ready soon and so we had another couple of glasses of wine and waited for our food. The evening was fun as we had a great dinner and then sat around drinking wine and beers and then just chatting. It was a better night than yesterday though as we didn’t have any rain and so I could sleep with my sunroof open above my bed and enjoy the cool sea breezes as they blew in through the hole.

In the morning I wasn’t happy when the music was turned on and we were awoke for an early morning snorkel. Once I was up though I was into my stinger suit and then into the water. The visibility wasn’t brilliant, but me and Mark, the ditch guy who dived with me yesterday spotted some big flatfish and also got surrounded by a massive shoal of fish.

Once back on the boat we all had a great sausage sandwich and then said goodbye to Iain, who was getting a ferry from Daydream Island, then we all relaxed as we were motored back to Airlie Beach. When we got back to the harbour there were no docks left for us, so we took it in turns to take a ride back to the harbour on the tender. I left Helen and Claire with the lads and tried to find Lisa and Andrea, who had got off their boat, but I couldn’t find them and headed back to the Hostel. On the way back I ran into Mark, who was with us on Ozbus 20! I didn’t recognise him as he has grown a nice beard! We chatted a while about what we had done and where we were of to next and then went our separate ways again. I wonder how many of the other Ozbussers I will run into over the next few months.

It turned out that the girls were at the Hostel waiting for me!! I thought we were going to book back into Magnums, but Lisa had had a few bites from something the other night and after hearing stories of bedbugs in the dorms, they had decided to book us into the next Hostel along the road – Beaches. We couldn’t get into our room till after lunch though and so we decided to head to the lagoon,which is only across the road. It was by now a lovely sunny day and we spent the next couple of hours sunbathing and swimming with a few of the guys and girls who we had met in the two boats. I was stinking and decided to get a shower as soon as I could – I had a shower by the pool, but I could still smell myself, so when I got the chance to book into the hostel I grabbed my stuff and went straight there. It was lovely to get a good hot shower and mellow out in a nice air conditioned room after 2 days on a boiling hot boat.

I headed back to the lagoon for a while and sat with Andrea in the warm water catching up on what had happened on their boat. It turns out that they hadn’t showered either because one of the girls had used all the water available. They had also been caught up in the rain on their boat and as they didn’t have a tarpaulin to hang up, they had decided to go to bed at about 9pm. It did sound like they had a really good laugh on their boat and made some good friends.

The girls left the lagoon at about 4pm, to get some washing done and I hung about at the lagoon for a while longer chatting to a Canadian dude, who has bee travelling for ages, loves life and believes in Karma – He was a bit of a strange bloke, but OK all the same.

After leaving the Lagoon, I met up with Andrea and Lisa in the room and then headed down to the bar in beaches to meet up with the rest of the guys and gals off the boat and have a few beers. All the boats that have been sailing are given cheap food and a few beers to celebrate their trip. Our boat was well represented with Gary, Helen, Claire, the two American girls, Maud and a few others all sat around on our table. Lisa and Andrea also met up with the rest of their boat at a different table across the pub. We had a really good night, playing stupid drinking games – which Claire was particularly bad at – and generally just messing about and having a few beers. Lisa and Andrea joined us later on after we had had some jazzy drinks in green flashing glasses! Andrea had also won herself a pair of sunglasses by throwing a ball into a large jug, as part of a promotion for these drinks. The night continued, but Lisa and Andrea decided to have a reasonably early one, as they are up at 6am to catch their bus up to Townsville, where they are going to stay for a couple of nights. I will meet up with them again in Cairns in a few days.

I went out to the local Irish bar, with the gang off the boat and spent the next couple of hours taking stupid photos and dancing. It was a really good night, but I was still knackered after not getting much sleep on the boat trip and so I headed to bed soon after 1am.

This morning I woke up with Andrea and Lisa and after they had finally finished packing their stuff I helped them carry it down to the Greyhound bus stop at the bottom of the road. We couldn’t find it at first, but Andrea spotted a massive sign saying ' Bus Station' and we then spotted a load of people sitting around waiting for the bus.

After I had waved the girls away yet again, I went back to the Hostel and vegged out for a couple of hours. There were people sleeping in the corridor and an extra mattress on the florr in our room - I later found out that someone next door had puked and pissed all over the room and the guests had had to move out because of the smell! Nightmare. Anyway, after a couple of hours more sleep, I said good bye to the two lads and two norwegian girls who had been sharing the room with me Andrea and Lisa and then I made my way down to the local launderette to do my washing. The clothes from the bopat were stinking, so needed a good hot wash! I was surprised when Helen and Claire from the boat trip came up to me!! They were waiting at the bus stop for their bus to the airport and then home! It was really good to see them, as I hadnt had a chance to say goodnight properly last night. They werent very happy to be going home, but I supose it has to happen sometime!! Anyway, I gave them both a hug and then waved them off! They really are the craziest nurses I have ever met and I hope to see them again sometime.

After that I just mellowed out for the day, catching up on a bit of admin, having a swim in the lagoon and avoiding the rain that kept falling. I leave Airlie beach in a couple of hours and head north to Cairns on the overnight bus!! Its all go go go!!!!

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