Trouble and Mischief take the Great Barrier Reef! – All the other days…

Ah! So, as what usually happens when I go on holiday, I start documenting the trip so far – see previous posts – and at about the halfway mark I’m always too exhausted to keep going. Hence why my week-long trip only has 3 days worth of posts!

SO. On day four, we got up early and made our way to the marina, where we got on Camira, a nice purple boat that took us way way out to sea – first stopping off at daydream island (which I fell a bit in love with) to pick up some more passengers. After that we travelled some more, then got out to go snorkelling at some coral. It was nice – a little bit underwhelming in colour (when you look at the postcards and professional images of reefs, this wasn’t much in comparison), but I found some anemone (nemo-like fish), so all was okay.

I had brought my GoPro with me on the trip, and nearly lost it when I got into the water – we had to fall out backwards over the side of the boat, and it almost came off! Thankfully it got stuck in my snorkel mask… otherwise that would have been a bit embarrassing.

ANYWAY. Underwater footage is fun. Once you get over the ‘I may drop my camera into the deep looming abyss that is the ocean’ factor.

Then we got back on the boat and headed to Whitehaven beach – AKA the nicest beach I will ever go to in my life. Google it, seriously. IT’S AMAZING. The beach is so white, the sand so fine (98% silica if I remember right?), and you can polish your jewellery on the sand.. or your teeth. I polished my teeth. It was a bit weird.

We played beach cricket! For my very first game of beach cricket, I don’t think there’d be a better place to play… white sands, beautiful waters, it was so perfect. I accidentally hit someone, not quite grasping the ‘finesse’ of playing tactical shots along the ground, instead taking advantage of the lightness of the tennis ball to smash it into a poor guy just trying to enjoy laying out in the sun.

Poor guy. Karma punished me for it though, as I rolled my ankle when I was bowling.. leaving me pretty stranded. Thankfully I was alright by the time the speedboat-like boat came back to get us. Phew.

Then ’twas time for a BBQ! So so so good. I stuffed my face. Om nom.

We had a brilliant sail back to the marina, and I henna’d my hand and ankle, much to the delight and intrigue of the two pre-teen girls on the boat, who were too shy to come talk to me, but couldn’t keep their eyes off my hand when I was doing it.

Next day was a day off. So tanning, swimming in lagoons, people watching, ice cream, and pub steak and chips. Mmmmm. Not much to report. Relaaaxation.

Day after that was spent at the Great Barrier Reef!!! We took a three hour boat ride out to knuckle reef bay, on which we made friends with two German guys who taught us many many card games that were all vaguely familiar versions of games we already knew. But having spent the last 3-4 days playing one game, we welcomed the changes.

Soon enough we were at Knuckle Reef. Oh my, words cannot explain how beautiful it was. Ahhhhh. Just google it. Really, that’s what it was like. We first went out snorkelling, during which I had a mini panic attack because just as I got a cramp in my foot, all the water decide to feck off with the tide and I found myself getting very uncomfortably close to the coral which I had been told I was most definitely not allowed to stand on. So for about a half minute I flopped around very attractively trying to move myself into deeper water, whereupon I could stretch out my foot and all was good.

After snorkelling we stuffed our faces with food and got on a glass bottom boat. Super pretty – not as many fish as when we had been snorkelling though. On the other hand, waaay more informative. Learning is cool!

Finally we geared up to the activity that had been playing on my nerves the whole day – scuba diving. I was freaked out because my ears are extremely bad under the water, and I was terrified that I was going to be the one exception to the ‘everything will be fine when you equalise your ears’ rule and my head would explode and I would ruin the reef and sharks would come and eat my floating bits of brain and it would just not be a fun day for anyone. But thankfully, everything was amazing and I have my guide Tom to thank for that (who will probably never read this but hey, credit where credit’s due). I was settled fine and by the end of it was signalling to go further down in the water, keen to have a go by myself… although in hindsight it would have maybe been a bit too adventurous for me on my FIRST go. Maybe next time.

Anywho, a good 35 minutes later and we were out of the water and shivering on the boat in the nice air-conditioned section. We dried off and played cards and endured potentially the most annoying child I have ever met in my entire life. I kid you not – he said, just as we were pulling away from the pontoon – “I didn’t really like it here”, as he pressed his face into his iPad for the fourteenth time. I wanted to punch him. Not that I’m a child abuser. I love kids. I just really hate it when people don’t appreciate the beauty of what’s around them. Grrr. It didn’t help his case that he kept trying to put his grubby hands on OUR deck of cards, and kept swivelling around to try and see what my cards were. I have no doubt that if he had seen them he would have gone “oh, 4 of clubs? what do you need that for?” or some other slap-inducing sentence.

Again, I don’t hate kids. I just… have a lower tolerance for ones that I’m not related to.

As soon as that, we were back firmly on land with fairly wobbly sea-legs and heading back to the room to pack up our things. One last night was spent at Beaches and along the various bars of Airlie Beach, including a very spontaneous and expensive decision to bet money on cane toad racing. …in our defence, our toad came second so our toad-choosing skills were not to blame, the toad that one just had a random spurt of energy at the end, whereas ours… decided to take a detour.

After that we played a meagre round at the pokies, in which I put in $1 and ended up with $2! What a fun and thrilling gambling style I have. I got my extra dollar and was happy. I’m a terrible gambler. I get a little bit more than I put in and I go ‘yeah that’ll do!’

Ah well.

The next morning came and it was back home to Melbourne. One last ferry ride to the airport and the holiday officially came to a close.

All in all, this holiday… it was absolutely bloody fantastic.


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