Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
25.09.2010 - 28.11.2010 33 °C
So the plan went something like this..... The weather was being real freaky around the Whitsundays and elsewhere in Queensland, my live aboard had to abandon plans to sail to the Great Barrier Reef. I was going through another travel weary phase and could do with a rest so the offer of the cheaper weekly rate on my accommodation was very tempting. Best way to get to the reef and fulfil my dream would be by sea plane but they are very expensive. So here we go then, I figured if I spent the rest of the week in Airlie with the weekly rate, not doing a lot, not drinking beer, living on crackers and humous, I could save enough in my budget to get to the reef. The rest would probably do me good and I was pretty determined to get to that damn reef. Never give up on a dream, if you put your mind to it, anything is possible right?
Well I guess I chose to live my dream rather than dream my life, and went to the Great Barrier Reef in style! After one false start where my flight was abandoned due to bad weather, we finally made it up in the air. As we took off from Airlie I felt so excited and content. There started my dream day and was worth every evening sat in watching shit Aussie TV. I felt like a rockstar for the day! First we flew over the Whitsunday islands, Daydream Island, Molle isles, Langford Island, little sandy paradises surrounded by clear waters. We landed in the sea to pick up a couple of passengers at Haymen Island, where I had scuba dived the week before. So scary to land right in the sea, then we taxied out to the beach to pick up the guests! So James Bond!
Our next landing would be in a lagoon within the Great Barrier Reef. We flew right over Bait Reef, barb reef and hook reef, and WOW. The scale of the reef, the colours, the natural wonder knocked my socks off! The shape of the reef was quite varied, sometimes looking quite rocky and at other times looking like blue fluffy pancakes! As we flew over the heart shaped reef, I took a snap for my ma and pa. They were celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary (40 years of putting up with each other!!) in Turkey and I thought to send them a canvas print of the heart reef that I had taken for them. Luckily, the photo turned out OK as we flew over quite quickly and i only had one shot at it! What a great buzz to land in a sea plane within a deep blue lagoon surrounded by the largest coral reef in the world. There was a small boat pontooned within the lagoon ready to take us right onto the reef for some snorkelling. The pilots of these floatplanes obviously need to be pretty multi talented. Not only do they need to safely fly and land an amphibious plane but also need to sail the boat, help us with snorkelling equipment, and be highly knowledgeable on the reef and aquatic life! Very impressed. I got talking to a lovely couple from Melbourne and went snorkelling with Sue who seemed just as in awe as I was... The underwater scenes were blimmin incredible, the coral in pretty good shape and so many fish. It was just magical to be actually here, in shark-infested waters way out at sea, exploring this natural wonder of the world. As we came out of the water we were handed our first champagne of the day. The first of many! Then we had a little drama getting back on the seaplane. Sue and I were giggling as the pilot pulled the plane towards us with a rope! As she stepped across from the shuttle boat to the plane Sue lost her footing and fell straight into the water, fully clothed and clutching her handbag!! I quickly grabbed her bag off her and called out to the pilot. My concern quickly turned to hilarity when i saw that Sue found the whole thing really funny too!!
There we have it, mission accomplished, ecstatic.. To round off a perfect perfect day, we flew over and landed on a desserted beach at Whitehaven, the Whitsunday beach famous for its pure white silica sand. I had already visited Whitehaven during my sailing trip but with the plane we landed further down the beach where we had the place to ourselves. It did cloud over a bit while we were there but again I was just gobsmacked by the beauty of this place. Sat on Whitehaven with my feet in the incredible sand, drinking more champagne, HOW SPECIAL? Returning back to my little cabin in Airlie that now felt like home, I had the biggest smile on my face after a day I will surely never forget.