Our entire trip to Australia was planned around our time in the Whitsunday’s. It all began when we decided not to go home to the UK for Christmas, I have never not been at home for Christmas so we decided that if we weren’t there we needed to be doing something pretty special. Someone I follow on Instagram (I can’t remember who) posted some pictures from the Whitsunday’s and boom decision was made. Australia here we come.
After a little research of epic things to do, we decided on a boat cruise for as long as we possibly could, which led us to the Whitsunday Blue (3 Day, 3 Night) through sailing-whitsundays.com at a cost of around £550 each. We booked it in March 2016 for a Christmas Eve departure…not long to wait!
We stayed the night before our departure in Airlie Beach, which you can read about here. On the day, Christmas Eve, we wandered into town to grab some alcohol as the boat is bring your own. We procrastinated for quite a while in the bottle shop over how much was too much, would the other people on our boat think we were alcoholics…and even more concerning, what if we ran out??? We plumped for some beers, a couple of boxes of wine, some cider and two bottles of fizz and crossed our fingers that would be ok for all the worries above.
Departure was at 3pm so after a leisurely morning we headed down to the marina having switched our boat luggage into one small soft bag and stowed our remaining luggage with the hotel. There are places you can pay for a locker in town but our hotel, The Coral Sea Resort, kindly offered to lock it up for free even though we weren’t staying there after our boat trip. We had a bite to eat and a drink at the marina, which is the departure point for most of the boats heading out to the Whitsundays. Before we knew it our ‘deckie’ Gabrielle had arrived and we were heading down to the catamaran with six other people, thankfully also laden down with bags and slabs of alcohol!
On board, we were greeted by our captain Aaron, glasses of fizz and a beautiful fruit platter. Whilst we started chatting with Gabi and our fellow guests (and drinking of course), he took each couple down to their cabin to show them the ropes. Our turn came and I was pleasantly surprised by our little cabin, dinky yes but also very well equipped! We had an ensuite with toilet, basin and tap that turned into a shower, electricity points and USB charger points, air conditioning, a little fan, a tiny window and skylight and, the thing that excited me the most, a porthole (sorry to any sailors if that is the wrong terminology) that looked down into the water.
There was one other British couple aboard and two couples from the US – we were really lucky in terms of people as everyone was really nice, very interesting and we hit it off very quickly. That evening we anchored for the night having sailed into the Whitsunday’s, we ate a fabulous meal, prepared by Gabi in the tiny kitchen, and had a few drinks whilst enjoying the peacefulness and sounds of the sea. Aaron was incredibly knowledgeable about a lot of things so we picked his brain frequently about the area and the wildlife. That evening we were lucky enough that the blue lights at the back of the boat attracted a pod of dolphins and their calves, they played around the boat for an hour or so which was magical – Christmas Eve watching dolphins. Then after a while, we noticed some more dark shapes in the water, this time it was a group of sharks! I slept so well that night aided by the gentle rocking of the boat.
The next day was Christmas Day, we woke around 6:30 and headed up to the lounge dressed in our finest warm weather Christmas gear. We enjoyed a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit and pancakes and then settled down to enjoy the journey to our morning destination, Whitehaven beach.
Aaron dropped us off in the tender (an inflatable dinghy type boat) with Gabi as our guide. To get to Whitehaven we walked from one side over, catching our first glimpse of the white sand and turquiose sea was breathtaking. We spent a few hours enjoying the beach and the sea, wearing our stinger suits to protect against the jellyfish. Aaron had told us to keep our eyes peeled for Stingrays and Lemon Sharks – both of which we were lucky enough to see as they swam right past us! Gabi lead us up to the look out point where our group just stood in momentary silence taking in the stunning scene before us. I honestly dont think I have ever seen anything more beautiful.
Back on the boat, a Christmas lunch feast of gorgeous salads, a ham and turkey had been prepared so we gorged ourselves silly and gushed about what we had just seen! That afternoon we were heading to another island to do some snorkelling. I’ve done quite a bit since being in Thailand but no-one has ever told me if I’m doing it right or wrong so having Aaron was amazing. He rectified my mask issues and taught me how to use fins. The snorkelling we did was ridiculous, I have never seen such rich coloured coral or such an amazing variety of fish. I had to be dragged back into the tender after about two hours!
The next few days were some of the most leisurely I have ever enjoyed. We ate, drank, swam, snorkelled and sailed around the most beautiful place with awesome people. The food on board was copious, tasty and fresh, Gabi worked wonders! Every day there was breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack (more like a dinner for some of us) then dinner and pudding, we even had a BBQ. Soft drinks were available to buy on board and the water from the tap in the kitchen was for drinking so we constantly refilled our bottles.
On our last day on the boat we commented that whilst we had seen Green Sea Turtles from the boat we hadn’t seen any whilst in the water. Our last snorkel was as good as all the others with so much to see, but when a shout went up that there was a huge turtle with us, we all got a little giddy! All seven of us in the water followed the most beautiful turtle in complete awe for about half an hour, taking in its every move. It even came right up for a breath next to me – a moment I will never forget. We were so lucky!
We headed back to Airlie Beach on an absolute high from the most incredible three days and nights. We had an awesome time on the Whitsunday Blue – everything about the trip was over and above our expectations and whilst I know it wasn’t cheap, it was honestly worth every penny. It was the closest to paradise I have ever come! If you are thinking about going to the Whitsunday’s I cannot recommend the Whitsunday Blue and it’s wonderful crew highly enough. I’m already saving to do it all again.
Sailing Whitsundays P/L
4/1 Airlie Esplanade
Airlie Beach, QLD, 4802
Freecall: 1800 550 751
Overseas customers: +61 74914 2425