We arrived in Airlie Beach with a slight bit of concern as to whether our sailing trip was actually going to go ahead, as we had spent most of the night on the coach driving through the pouring rain, and arrived to find a rather wet and sodden Airlie Beach which is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands.
We checked into the sailing office to be told that fingers crossed the weather was improving and the trip should still be on for the next day. Which it was! The weather for the first couple of days was a bit overcast but still very warm, so you must take this into consideration when looking at the photos, they don't do the islands justice with the greyish sky, just picture them with the sun shining etc! On the last day the sun finally came out but god was it hot. We had to be so careful in terms of getting sunburnt etc, that we actually felt that having had the overcast weather was better than the sun as at least it wasn't as hot.
Our home for the 3 day sailing trip was a 21ft Maxi racing yacht called the 'Broomstick' which apparently had won quite a few races in her day including the Sydney to Hobart race! There were about 16 passengers and 4 crew plus 2 dive instructors on the boat so it was a bit cramped, but apparently this is the norm on these boats. We soon got used to it though, with our 2 min hot showers etc(that is what we were limited to!).
We got the chance to go diving on the first day, so CJ jumped at the chance, whilst Bexta signed up for her first introductory dive which she loved. In terms of marine life and coral etc it wasn't that easy to see much as the visibility was so bad because of the recent storm. But we did get an encounter with 'Elvis'! Elvis is a very friendly Giant Maori Wrasse that lives in one of the bays that we dived in (see photo of a Maori Wrasse on the Great Barrier Reef page). He just seems to love to interact with divers and snorkellers etc. One other strange but very funny encounter we had was when we opted to snorkel the next day instead of dive, and CJ seemed to adopt a family of fish! There were 3 tiny yellow fish that suddenly latched onto her whilst we were snorkelling, hiding in her armpit, swimming around her head, and under her tummy. For about 1/2 hour they did this whilst we were snorkelling, then they swam off and found someone else to latch onto but within 5 mins they were back for more of CJ!! How bizarre. The divers didn't know what fish they were but had heard of other people who had experienced the same sort of thing. Well CJ is a Pisces so what do you expect!!
On the last morning we stopped off at Whitehaven Beach, a beautiful beach with pure white sand with the sun shining very brightly down on us. We chilled out on the beach for a couple of hours playing rounders and frizbee and had a swim in the sea, although everytime we swam we had to wear 'stinger suits'. At this time of year the seas are full of jellyfish which can sting quite badly so you are encouraged to hire stinger suits which we did. They also protected you from the sun when you were snorkelling as well which was good.
All in all a very enjoyable trip sailing around the Whitsundays. As there hadn't been a huge amount of wind we did spend a lot of the time using the motor rather than the sails, but when the wind picked up it was time for the passengers to all lend a harm and get those sails up which we did!