We arrived into Airlie Beach feeling just a little worse for wear having had two nights of cheap, oh so cheap, probably too cheap alcohol. As it turned out Kathryn and Megan, who you may remember from the Moppisode (I just made that name up but I think I might stick with it), were in Airlie Beach for a night while we were there. Knowing it was probably the last time Katie and I would see them, we sort of had to go and have a drink with them.
Another two jugs of cheap alcohol later and I started minesweeping in another hostels bar, which was both risky and stupid, but also free so…
We woke up the next morning feeling a little worse than a little worse for wear and as a result spent the day at the lagoon in Airlie Beach, which is in effect a massive swimming pool. It was nice to swim and not think ‘what if this is the time a [shark/croc/jellyfish/stonefish/irukandji/aquaman/water snake/you get the picture/just name a deadly animal/it’s probably in the water] gets me’, as I usually do.
That night we tried to recover and Kate, Tina, Katie and I all collectively agreed we wouldn’t take any alcohol on our boat the next day, as we quite fancied a few days off it.
Anyway, obviously and predictably, we turned up at the boat the next day with 20 cans of various beers.
Having bought them on the condition we would only drink them at night, as we departed at 2.30pm, of course I cracked my first one open and drank it as we sailed away. It was magical.
All the English speaking people on our boat pretty much gravitated to each other, bar one Scouser who spent the entire trip wearing speedos. Frankly it was both appropriate and relieving he stayed with the German blokes, who seem to have a thing for all-too-revealing swimwear. The rest of us were Katie and I, Kate and Tina, Patrick from Austria, Hilary and Sophie (who were both living in Manchester), Lisa from Scotland and Phil from Germany (but also confusingly from High Wycombe).
Anyway we had a great boat, the Tongarra, and a brilliant crew, Kane and Dylan, who were very Aussie in all the good ways (funny and laid back) and none of the bad ones (arrogant and rude). Our first day was all sailing, finishing with barbecued fish and sleeping on the deck under the stars.
The next day we woke up early in what we hadn’t realised the previous night was a turtle breeding ground. This led to the very odd sequence of events of eating breakfast, getting ready and brushing our teeth watching turtles in every direction. Safe to say, I was absolutely shell shocked.
You. Just. Can’t. Get. This. Humour. Anywhere. Else.*
*With. Good. Reason.
We then headed for the Whitsundays ultimate postcard seller, Whitehaven Beach. After battling with a few Germans (and one French Canadian) who had clearly failed to grasp the concept of ‘Queueing’ in their 20 or so years on earth, we made it. After posing for some hashtag classic traveller whitsundays photos:
We went and mucked about on the beach for a while. Whitehaven was pretty stunning, even though it was a bit overcast while we were there. The water was still a crystal blue despite the lack of sun and the sand was whiter than a Donald Trump voter.
We battled the Germans back to the boat for lunch and then sailed off towards our snorkel site for the afternoon. This was essentially us being dropped into an area of ocean while fish bait was thrown at and around us. Fun for me, not so fun for Hilary who was scared of fish. Frequent shrieks emitting out of snorkels when you’re floating in the water in Australia over 100ft from your boat aren’t the most reassuring thing in the world if I’m honest.
Luckily there were no Jaws-based horror incidents and we made it back to the boat to get to our mooring for the night, have tea, drink, sing and crash (after I told several hilarious jokes) on our mattresses on the deck under the stars. Despite running out of beer, Patrick had very kindly given me loads of his that he wasn’t going to drink, so that would explain the joke telling.
Our next morning was our last on the boat and the Whitsundays were sending us off in fashion:
Kate and Tina were leaving that night while we stayed for one more, so one emotional goodbye later we were alone and missing their mad Scottishness already.
We spent the next day by the lagoon preparing to head to our next destination overnight – Agnes Water.
We arrived off the bus into a car park 30 minutes drive from Agnes Water at 2.15am, meaning we were walking zombies. You would hope that a place where you had to get off a bus at that time, and then get back on it at the same time two days later, would be spectacular. Unfortunately, Agnes was just, sort of, fine. The beach was okay, the water okay, the town small and nondescript. We spent most of our time in hammocks or in the hostel pool, doing very little.
If it sounds boring to read about, don’t worry, I can assure you it was a bit dull to live through too. However, one should never begrudge a pool and a hammock, so we made full use of them both.
Before we knew it we were being picked up by a mad woman to go and meet the bus. We hadn’t specifically requested a mad woman, she just happened to be driving the shuttle bus which took us to the big bus, so we had little choice.
Unfortunately we had about an hour in her company while she talked about shooting things and ‘f***ing politicians’ and many other injustices in her life which I couldn’t have given a rats arse about in daylight, let alone at 2am. It’s an unfortunate habit of some Australians, and particularly Queenslanders seemingly, that they are under the delusion that they’re entirely right and you must care what they say and agree with them. In summary – she wasn’t, I didn’t and I didn’t. What I cared about was sleep, and once on the bus all thoughts of our lunatic were gone, along with any thoughts. Sleep was first, followed by Rainbow Beach in the morning.
Alex Odlin has ranked telling lots of people on a boat bad jokes that they hadn’t heard as one of his favourite activities in his life so far.
Fraser Island (definitely)