G.B.R. Part II

After the caves we drove a few hours North to Airlie Beach. We went again to the outer reef on a super fast and remarkably stable boat. At a 1770 campsite we met up with a couple who worked on that boat who had previously worked up North at a company in Airlie Beach. They both strongly suggested that we use a company called “Cruise Whittsundays” if we wanted do do a similar trip. So, in Airlie Beach we booked another Great Barrier Reef cruise and booked a wickedly fast (and beautiful) sailing cruise for the next day with the same company.

This GBR trip was very similar to the one we had taken from 1770. The main difference was the boat. While the other one was a nice twin hull that rode the rough seas reasonably well, this one had computer controlled anti-rocking mechanical devices built in which made the ride even nicer for the weak stomaches of Rick & Luke. There was also something not easily pinned down that made this cruise seemingly quite better than the previous one from 1770. There was just a stronger seemless integration of how everything ran and the general feelings of confidence and friendly professionalism conveyed. It probably also didn’t hurt that there was a little over 30 crew members for about 86 passengers! The boat usually carries around 340 people but we were lucky enough to have picked a light booking day I guess. I certainly couldn’t complain about any aspect of our tour from 1770, but… if I had to suggest one, then Cruise Whittsundays would be our strong recomendation by the entire family. Of course there was one tiny little incident with the prissy little photograpgher (Antoine I think the whiney little bitches name was), but he got over it after we chatted a bit. Like many tours these days with a situational advantage, they had a good scam of pictures going. At least they generally allow us to purchase copies of the digital pics these days, not like a few years ago when you could only get a crappy print (rarely done with dye-sublimation). Of course you have to pay $20-$30 each for printed photos before you are allowed to pay an extra $5-$10 for a digital copy. Capitalism is certainly alive and well in the tourism industry! They did get some excellent shots us of course! (Which we bought digital copies of and are currently uploading to our galery.

In addition to offering diving they also offered a non-certified “beginner” dive for those 12 and up. Luke was naturally disappointed, and then Claudette was ruled out due to the open heart surgery she had undergone over 33 years ago. Alex and I jumped at the ($120 each) opportunity. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far!!!! The guide tightly clasped each of Alex’s and my hands in hers and after a brief intro off we went! It was very controlled and we didn’t go any deeper than 6m. I used to say that diving was probably no big deal because you get to see the same stuff snorkling… Clearly I was absolutely delusional and was only fooling myself all these years! I sorta wanted to take a diving course before, but it just never worked out with timing and arrangements and stuff. Now I hafta take one as soon as I can. I was a little freaked at first just sitting on the edge of the platform breathing with my head less than one meter submerged. They gave us three or four minutes to get accustomed and during this time slight panic gave way to abject wonderment! Alex REALLY enjoyed her experience as well. (Hopefully she writes about it VERY soon!) Seeing the coral and all sorts of fish and plant organisms close up was phenominally more amazing than snorkeling unfortunately. My first words upon surfacing at the end were, “WOW! I’m gonna go broke doing this now I think!”. That trip is listed at:

http://www.cruisewhitsundays.com/gbra.aspx

On the next day (Sunday) we went on a sailing tour on a stunningly gorgeous ($4.5 million dollar) sailing boat. It was sleek, fast and very comfortable. They just went around a few of the Whitsunday Islands. We did another snorking tour on another reef which was stunning. Then we went to an amazing beach with sand that was 98% pure and actually squeeked when we walked on it. The beach was about 7km long, stunningly beautiful (along with all the Assuie & German bikini’s of course) and we smam, relaxed and frolicked for an hour or so. After heading back to the sailboat we had a magnificent BBQ meal (they had been feeding us snacks all day long previously as well of course). Then the free booze was available and Claudette heartily indulged (for both of us) on the couple hour sailing trip back to port. That tour is:

http://www.cruisewhitsundays.com/camira.aspx

2 Responses to “G.B.R. Part II”

  1. The Perps says:

    It would appear that you aren’t holding back and trying to experience everything that comes along. That’s awesome. I agree totally with how great scuba diving is. When the 2 of us were in Dominican Republic in 97 I had a brief 1 hour session in our resort pool followed by a 45 minute dive the following day. I think I went 30 or 40 feet and was told to bring a banana to feed the fish. Forget that, I stuffed about 5 in my suit. It was fantastic, but wouldn’t want to dive in Canada after being spoiled in the Carribean. Any cases of sunburn or heat stroke? What about sharks?

  2. Rick says:

    Nope! We ain’t holding back much (certainly NOT the VISA expenses… Whew!!!)

    Alex got a sunburn in our first week of the trip in Costa rica. She has since lost that bathing suit and bought a new one. The second one has a different strap design which makes the sunburn a very visible contrast, and remarkably it still stands out, two months later!

    No sharks yet, but Alex has gotten stung twice by jellyfish… We’re inland a little ways now, and heading back to the coast right away for a last few days of surfing before we fly out of Brisbane in a week! (Agh!!!)