Living in a Marsupial World
 
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Waza the skipper underway
We began our Whitsunday Pirate Sailing Adventure in the afternoon and boarded the Samurai with fifteen other young travelers and three crew. Meals were provided for our trip, however drinks were BYO and each passenger (including ourselves) hopped on with at least one sack of Goon. *  Once on board we wrote our names on one foot and our country on the other to facilitate a meet and greet with backpackers from Canada, Ireland, Germany, and Sweden. Corey was very excited to meet the two Irish girls… The first night we anchored under the stars in a small inlet and much debauchery ensued (which of course was immediately regretted by all come morning, as the ship tossed and turned underway and the cabins below deck smelled faintly of diesel fuel…). This included a dance party to “All the Single Ladies” featuring the 6 girls on board and Corey, as well as a few games of Racehorse over which Devin and the Skipper bonded and entertained the rest of the international gang. 


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Pirate Jambros
On our first full day, our first stop was Whitehaven Beach, a pretty famous location and, as the name might suggest, was a large stretch of white, powdery sand in the middle of turquoise waters and lush green islands.  Our group climbed barefoot to the top of the small “mountain” overlooking the beach and used the opportunity to take some tourist photos. Down on the beach, our skipper guided us out into the shallows where we suddenly found ourselves walking among leopard stingrays and small lemon sharks (don’t worry parentals, no teeth!). Devin actually managed to step on one of the rays after wandering a bit too close to the dark patches of sand, and jumped impressively high out of the water. Good on ya Dev J


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Ben in his Stinger Suit
We continued under sail to our next island location, Luncheon Bay, where we had our first snorkeling and diving excursions of the trip. Suited up in our stinger suits with snorkels and flippers in hand, we ventured out into the shoreline reef and got up close to parrotfish, angelfish, and even found two clown fish (or Nemos as they say in Oz) sneaking in and out of an anemone! This was the point in the trip where all the passengers could take the free “dive experience” (which was just a tutorial on diving technique and protocol with equipment), and then opt in or out of the 30-minute introductory dive. All five of us opted in, a fairly radical step for me (Mar) due to my significant fear of the open ocean and artificial breathing apparatuses. I was so glad I decided to go, once I got used to the breathing (the Irish guy in our group couldn’t adjust and had a slight panic attack, forcing him to go back to the beach). Underneath we saw the most beautiful sea life, got to play with a large sea cucumber, which was quite slimy, and dove down to a total depth of 12 meters (twice as deep as one would usually go in an introductory dive!). Ben was, being the ocean boy he is, immediately hooked and wants to go and get his certification ASAP. 

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Night Masters
The ship pressed on after that and moved to our final destination in Blue Pearl Bay, a cove off the most northeasterly island in the Whitsundays. Ben and the Jambros bravely ventured out for a night snorkel, doubling and tripling up on cold, clammy wetsuits for the excursion. They were each given a small torch (flashlight) for shining on fish and coral. Bioluminescent sea life was plentiful and the guys duck dove deeper into the water to view lobsters and other crustaceans under the rocks. Ben found it extremely creepy to only see a small disk of ocean floor at a time, but snorkeling under the stars was absolutely amazing.

 


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Ben shows off his frogman skills
The next morning (our final day) the guys opted in for a last dive and I snorkeled around this new reef. This reef was even better than the first: the water less murky, a larger span of reef, bigger fish and larger schools, more varieties of fish, and just before I headed back to the boat, I spotted a brown sea turtle just two feet below me lazily snacking on the coral! Hooray for sea turtles!


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Ben snorkeling around the boat in Blue Pearl Bay
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Corey and Ben, Snorkel Kings
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Pirate Ben
*In case we haven’t yet explained the phenomenon that is Goon, imagine a boxed wine akin to Franzia. Now imagine it 5x worse and note that on the ingredients listing, it says it contains traces of fish, dairy, and nuts. WTF? It's really goon that deserves a slapping, not Franzia. It’s the cheapest alcohol you can find in Australia, averaging $12 per box/bag. It does the trick but gives you a wicked morning after. What I don’t understand is why this is always the most available and affordable go-to alcoholic beverage when Australia is packed full of wineries with REAL wine?

mum
8/8/2010

Okay, admittedly I have been a bit jealous all along but now I am Kermit-green. Such an adventure you are having! I think I will change my doctoral program to a PhD in Australian ecology. Great blog and fun commentary! Keep it coming (-:
mum

Reply
Em
8/14/2010

Nice guys! pumped that you documented your sailing so well

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Tom (the Austrian ^^)
8/16/2010


ahhaahahaha Goon ^^ horrible stuff :D

anyway, i just caught up w/ reading your blog - awesome stuff! i especially love the "sailing in the whitsundays" part...

keep enjoying guys!
cheers

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