Shortly after driving eight straight hours from Port Douglas to Airlie Beach, we boarded a 100 ft sailboat, setting out on a three-night journey around the Whitsunday Islands.
We've had good luck with boat trips so far this year and this sailing adventure was no exception. I'm not sure what it is, but Mike and I both tend to be happier when we're on the water.
It's probably the lack of a schedule, the forfeit of control, all the sun, reading and general relaxation time, but I digress...
We were lucky to have a lovely French couple as our cabinmates and met many other wonderful people from around the world over the course of the few days.
Along the way to the outer Great Barrier Reef, we stopped at the magnificent Whitehaven Beach. While I sunned myself, Mike hiked to an island viewpoint. The view was nothing special, but he was able to capture some great close-ups of bright butterflies and some creepy crawlies on the path.
Every morning on board the Anaconda III, we enjoyed waking up before sunrise and watching the sky grow lighter, hearing nothing but the water lapping at the sides of the boat. Each night, we sat with new friends, chatting and laughing as we all watched sunset from the deck, gently rocking from side to side. Once the sun went to sleep, the cooler breezes coupled with icy condensation dripping off beer bottles onto bare legs offered relief for hot, sunburnt skin.
The time spent sailing between points of interest was blissfully free. We read books, laid on the deck and took photos of the freakishly pretty surroundings.
When we reached Bait Reef, Mike went on a few scuba dives, while I opted to snorkel. After six weeks in the moon boot, simply being able to get in the water and snorkel was exhilarating!
(Update on my foot injury, for anyone who cares: the healing process was slow and steady. Finally, this trip was the beginning of my weaning myself off the infamous boot! So, these are some of the last photos where you'll see the boot in action. Good riddance!!)
The divers saw a few reef sharks while the rest of us saw plenty of fish closer to the surface. Because of the way that the reef is formed (at least in this particular area), some coral bommies come within a few feet of the surface. They're so close, in fact, that it's too shallow to swim over them during low tide! Although some parts of the GBR are unfortunately bleached, the parts that we saw were nothing but a crazy beautiful rainbow variety of fish and corals.
Escaping our "routine" for a few nights and sailing was the perfect way to experience the Whitsunday Islands.
After three days, we disembarked, reluctantly put our shoes on, and got back in our rental car. We were on the road again, but more relaxed and with a much better tan.