We slept well and I awoke just after 6:30am and laid in bed wathcing Ch7 Sunrise, Marg soon woke and watched TV. We didn't
have to leave until 9:50am, so we had plenty of time to waste before departure. We were being picked up at the CP's entrance at 10:00am, Matty arrived a few minutes late and drove us to Airlie Beach Marina, where the Big Fury
departs. Our group of 10 on the bus were the last group to arrive, we appeared to be surrounded by backpackers (a lot of young females). We had roll call and hired a stinger suit each ($7 each) and walked to our 'speedboat', it has 4 x 225hp outboards and is approx 45 foot long, as it turned out for the day we travelled a 120kms and upto 50kph. It was a blast. When we were all seated, Braidon did the safety talk etc, then we departed the marina. I was in awe, as there were some old maxis moored in the marina, such famous yachts as Rolly Tasker's Siska, Condor, Southern Cross Bond's old 12 meter and Boomerang to name a few.
Just moored outside the marina was the Pacific Dawn cruise ship, which was moored off Airlie for the day and ferrying its passengers to and from the marina. Our
first stop would be our snorkelling area just in the lee of Border Island about 1 hours blast, so we sat back and watched the spray shoot out the sides and back of our 'speedboat'. We dropped anchor on the lee of Border Island about 100 meters from its rocky shore. Marg and I changed into our stinger suits, we had worn our bathers under our shorts, found a pair of flippers and a mask and snorkel and hit the water. We had our $58 underwater camera, while snorkelling, I took 191 photos with it, I didn't know if they would turn out until we arrive back at camp. The coral and fish were brilliant, we were warm in our suits and were the 2nd last pair to leave the water, it was really great fun. After a head count, it was up anchor and off to the 'world famous' Whitehaven Beach for approx 2.5 hours for lunch and enjoyment, but first there was a 'blast' from Border Is to Whitsunday Is. As we approached Whitehaven beach, you could see an armada of yachts and other craft that were visiting the Beach. Our 'speedboat' can get close enough to the beach that after they drop the front gangway, we just walk through knee deep water to the beach.
There are fixed wooden seats and tables just under the tree line in the shade, which are used by the tour operators. As we were waiting for Matty and Braidon to setup lunch, we notice the local wlidlife, 4 lace monitors upto 1.5 meters long came to say "Hi". Marg and I found a seat in the shade and guarded it with my life, while Marg queued and got our lunch. Check out the photo with Marg's shoe, that is how close Lenny the Lace monitor came, you are NOT allowed to feed them and if you are scared, like a couple of the young female German backpackers, you kick a bit of sand towards them and they walk away. No big deal.
After lunch, Marg sat on the beach, while I walked about 600m to the outlook and took some photos. We sat on the beach and under the trees, waiting for our departure. While relaxing and waiting, we noticed Braidon taking photos of the backpackers, he would ask them if they wanted their picture taken, so they gave him their camera and he took various photos of them. It was 'very strange' that he appeared to spend most of his time with the pretty young females in skimpy bikins, NOT that I noticed.
After the photography sessions, we boarded our 'speedboat' and headed homeward past Hamilton Island, we were sitting on approx 50kph and it was a blast or did I say that before.
For most of our day, the sea was smooth with some small chop, in the small print, they ask you to bring weatherproof clothing, sure enough, some sitting at the back of the boat got some spray as we had to cross the seas at the wrong angle. Matty the skipper decided to even up the score, did a couple of 360s so we also got damp. That's fair.
We had a beautiful sunset just as we arrived back to the marina.
It was a magic day, both Marg and I loved it and everyone else appeared to enjoy themselves. Our $58 underwater camera fogged up enough to blur the lens, consequently, the majority are blurry. Now we will have to go snorkelling off Townsville to check that my change works. Unlucky.
Dinner was leftover egg and bacon pie. It was bloody yumma.
Tomorrow, I hope to track down my 'old' sailing mate.