Australia – Whitsunday Islands sailing (Great Barrier Reef)

– MAY 10-12, 2015

As nice as Airlie Beach is, the reason we came here is to go on a 3 day-2 night sailing adventure through the Whitsunday Islands (or just called the Whitsundays).  This is pretty much the most southern portion of the Great Barrier Reef, and we had many recommendations to dive here as many claim it is better than Cairns.

We met at 7:30am to get the paperwork sorted out and then walked to the harbour to find our vessel for the next 3 days-2 nights.

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The Airlie Beach harbour

We were booked onto the Samurai (you can see it below) and you could only bring on board one small bag each (think of a plastic grocery bag per person for your swimwear, clothes, towel, sunscreen, toiletries, and anything else you want to bring).  They were advertised to hold 20 passengers, but we were well over that number.

The Samurai (a 68 ft yacht) previously had participated in a number of offshore maxi yacht races, including the famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.  Refitted in 2010, the Samurai has changed to become a charter boat in the Whitsundays.

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Our vessel the “Samurai”

It was jammed tight below deck.  The beds were all single beds (except our bed) and strangers were forced to spoon together on a single bed to make everyone fit.  There were even two people that had to sleep on the top deck.

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They had 24 guests and 4 crew on this 3 day voyage at sea, but they didn’t have enough beds. Single beds were used as doubles for some people. It was like packing sardines into a can!

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After almost 3 months of being on the road we know the inside tricks. We got ourselves at the front of the line and secured the largest bed for ourselves. This was the honeymoon suite.

The crew had a captain (that honestly didn’t do much of anything but sit below deck in his bedroom), a lead diving instructor, an assistant diving instructor, and Chase (see him below).  Chase pretty much did everything on the boat and was our main point of contact.  He was quite obviously in charge and he was very good at his job.

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This is Chase. He was pretty much the man running the show. He managed the guests, did all of the cooking & boat maintenance, took over the wheel of the ship, and kept everyone smiling at sea.

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Jill chilling on the Samurai.

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View of the Samurai top deck stern.

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View of the Samurai top deck bow.

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Some of our scuba gear.

Whitehaven beach is a well photographed beach and for good reason.  It was our first stop on the adventure.

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Group shot at Whitehaven beach. This beach has 98% silica and was amazing to walk on.

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Selfie pic at the Whitehaven beach lookout.

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Whitehaven beach.

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Whitehaven beach.

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Whitehaven beach.

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Whitehaven beach.

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Whitehaven beach.

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Whitehaven beach.

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Selfie pic at Whitehaven beach. This beach has 98% silica and was amazing to walk on.

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A stingray at Whitehaven Beach. It also had small lemon sharks in the shallow waters.

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Whitsunday Islands sailing views.

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Whitsunday Islands sailing views.

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Whitsunday Islands sailing views.

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Whitsunday Islands sailing views.

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Whitsundays sailing sunset view of the first night.

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Baby crab spawn scattered about by a storm that came through before we arrived. At some of the diving stops the ocean was littered with these little critters.

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Snorkelling fun.

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A smiling Jill in her scuba gear.

The various lifeforms and their multiple colours were amazing to see.  Its crazy how we see the top of the ocean, but below that surface is a whole new world that is so impressive.  Words can’t accurately describe what this experience is like.  I’ll leave it to the pictures to tell the story.

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The Great Barrier Reef

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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A piece of shipwreck.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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This guy was quite lively. You move two feet away and he opened up, but come any closer and he sensed it and closed right up.

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A sea turtle at the bottom of the ocean. He woke up and swam with me for a bit. Freaking awesome!

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A sea turtle at the bottom of the ocean. He woke up and swam with me for a bit. Freaking awesome!

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Snorkelling with the Go-Pro camera.

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Jill with the thumbs up as she scuba dives into the deep.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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This fluffy guy looked like a brain!

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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Another successful dive.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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Scuba diving.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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This is one of my favorite pictures.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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Part of a ship wreck.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The life clings to anything submerged…even a concrete block.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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The scenery is amazing when you submerge into the ocean. The bright colours and assorted species was breathtaking.

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Thanks!

Thanks for going through the single longest blog post thus far. It was a great experience snorkelling and diving at the Great Barrier Reef. We will do it again when we hit Cairns in a few days.

Next we are taking the bus to Townsville and then the ferry to Magnetic Island.

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For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.

One thought on “Australia – Whitsunday Islands sailing (Great Barrier Reef)

  1. Jill and Ken, it was great getting to meet the two of you on the tour in the Atherton Tablelands! Thanks for the videos of the waterslide Ken. I wasn’t able to see them until today when I got back to the US and my computer. They came out really well!

    I was wondering what camera you guys are using when diving?? The pictures came out great! I have been using the same one I had on the tour and have a housing unit for it, but yours I think might be even better!

    All the best on your amazing journey!

    Katie

    Like

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