The Webbs' Round the World Journey travel blog

Anci and Andrea leaving Hamilton Island to go to Airlie Beach

Enjoying a bottle of wine back on the mainland

Off to the reef...

Mission accomplished. Anci after swimming with the fishes

Anci and Andrea enjoying their achievments

Jonathan snorkelling!

And Andrea too!

Andrea and Anci in the water

Captain Jonny

Self Photo

And again....

And again....


The sea

Our little boat

We last visited Hamilton Island 5 years ago and it's not lost any of its "Disneyland" feel. Transport is by golfcart only, but nothing is more than a few minutes walk away. Anci said when we landed that she felt like we had arrived on "Fantasy Island" - except Tatu wasn't yelling "Boss, da plane! da plane!"

The amount of development during this time has been amazing. The hotels are bigger and the number of private villas since our last visit has soared. Not necessarily a good thing - and the island has definately lost some of its tranquility.

Unfortunately, many of our plans were thwarted by tropical downpours and high winds. One such victim of the bad weather was our planned day of sailing from the island to visit Whitehaven Beach - one of the top 10 beaches in the world. We consoled ourselves with a bottle of red wine and all three of us took a quick dip in the hotel pool (we were alone in this endeavour!), pretty much the only things to do when it is pouring with rain.

However, we did have one great day of sunshine where the three of us walked far out into the sea as the tide was very low, and snorkelled around a bit while Anci did her best to look Australian (see photo). We also convinced her that it was essential for her to snorkel as we were planning on going out to the Great Barrier Reef. She doesn't swim, and doesn't like water - AND doesn't like putting her head under the water... so we were a bit unsure. We signed her up and dropped her off at 11am for a snorkelling lesson in the pool - her determination and conquering of her fear impressed both of us. However, she could stand and we knew it would be more challenging when out in the open ocean where she couldn't... we shall see.

Another highlight of Hamilton Island was having breakfast with the koalas. Admittedly the conversation wasn't great but they were good company none the less. After breakfast, the keepers took the koalas back to their homes, and we were able to pet them and take photos with them - one of the highlights for Anci (and Andrea) for sure! Sticking to the Hamilton Island animal theme, we also saw a wallaby (a small kangaroo like creature for non-Aussies) out in the wild, just hanging around our bungalow - all of which Anci loved. What didn't she love? All the crawlies and lizards that are EVERYWHERE in Oz! Walking back to the bungalow one afternoon, Andrea stopped in her shoes and Anci didn't know what the problem is as she didn't see anything. Andrea points about 2 feet in front of her to a Goana (an iguana like lizard that is about 3-4 feet long but totally harmless) - the look on Anci's face was like she had just seen a great white shark! This coupled with her fear of Geckos (tiny lizards that hang around the lights at night eating flies) falling on her during dinner made us laugh - there was no chance of those little suckers (literally!) falling off the walls...and they are so cute!! It all just made it worse for her - Andrea and I spent our free time looking for new creepy crawlies to point out to her! Anci had the last say however as we packed up before heading to Airlie beach - a roach crawled out of Andrea's backpack as she was packing her clothes and really made us ALL jump! Ahhhhh Australia!!

We then headed back to Airlie Beach where we stayed at the brilliant Organic B&B which is one of the best places we have stayed so far on our trip! We were able to arrange a boat trip on AncĂ­'s last day that went out to the Great Barrier Reef. It was a very choppy journey, with many people succumbing to nausea...lucky no one in our party thanks to travel sick pills! We arrived at the platform, and Anci was very nervous as we had booked her on a snorkel safari and she knew her time was coming. We all put on our stinger suits and jumped in so she could get a feel for the mask etc... she was very nervous at first and therefore out of breath, but she did get used to it. By the time of her snorkel safari later in the day, she was an "advanced" snorkeller in her group which we think she was quite pleased about! She did really well and I don't think she regrets it at all! That night we bid Anci a farewell as she was off to Sydney to catch her long flight back to Pittsburgh. We had a nice dinner and prepared for our sailing trip out on the rough seas the following day.

Our boat, Ron of Argyll, was a lovely old wooden schooner built in 1938. Previous passengers included George V as well as Marilyn Monroe. Our very jubilant Skipper, Mossimo, was a perfect host. He is an Italian from Florence and owns the boat. He also has the only say about what is served on the boat. In 3 days, we ate brilliant homemade pesto, grilled barramundi and fantastic florentine steak... we couldn't get enough of the food! The weather wasn't great - it rained and was VERY choppy...we were glad it wasn't our first time sailing for sure! We had a great group of people as well which made for a very enjoyable few days. We even saw Solway Lass, which is the ship we went on 5 years ago! As the weather was pretty poor, we decided to give one day of snorkelling a miss and stay onboard to sample our Yarra Valley purchases with our Skipper.

After a quick one day back in Sydney we prepare for our flight to Tahiti. Again, we really do love this country - the people and scenary are stunning. Andrea felt it was much more American this time around and less European. And we did love Melbourne, however for us, Sydney is our city of choice for sure!

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