I arrived punctual in Proserpine and got a shuttle to the hostel for $20. I had booked it the night before, but you can also go directly to the desk at the airport. It was about 40 minutes’ drive to my stop at Backpackers By The Bay. Although the reception is supposed to be open from 7 am to 7 pm, there was no one there and I had to wait for 1 hour until I could finally check in. The staff was very unfriendly as well. When I finally had my room I went to town to check in for my sailing trip the next day and organized some luggage storage for that time too. At the beaches they have some nice food deal including a glass of beer, cider, wine or a soft drink for $15. After I walked to the view point and a bit through town back to the hostel where I had a short nap.
The rest of the afternoon I spend on the computer. Got a Pizza at Domino´s for dinner and joined in the trivia bar quiz they are having every night. I was in the group with 3 English guys and 1 English girl and we managed to win, so we got a bottle of champagne named Passion Pop.
One of the girls I shared the dorm with came to me to warn me that we have bed bugs in our room and we moved to another one. Reception was closed already, so I didn´t even get a key. We searched the new room and it appeared to be ok, but I still didn´t sleep very well, always fearing to get bitten and having them in my luggage already. Next morning I checked out straight after my shower trying to get the manager to refund us at least a little bit. He was super unfriendly saying things that it is not his fault and there is nothing he can do about it, we probably brought those bed bugs ourselves and shit like that. I will never ever set foot in this place again and I can only strongly recommend to never ever staying with Backpackers By The Bay. It was not only our room, there were many people with bed buck bites and the management obviously doesn´t care. I transferred my luggage to Airlie Beach Magnums, where I could store it for $5 until I would come back from my Whitsundays Cruise. Since I didn´t have a place to stay for that day (I was leaving for the cruise in the evening) I didn´t have a kitchen to use. So I went out for breakfast and treated myself to some German food: Bratkartoffeln mit Eiern (fried potatoes with eggs). After a visit in a pharmacy, supermarket and ATM I went to a café with WiFi and got some more stuff organized with the bank and such and worked on my blog. The program of the tour said you should get some dinner because it would be quite late until we would have some small dinner on the boat, I went to Beaches again for another meal deal of $15. I met a Dutch family there who invited me for a beer. I got the small bag I was going to take on the boat out of the luggage room and went to the pickup point. A van took us to the marina and we went to the Solway Lass, a big wooden pirate like ship that would be my home for the next 3 days. The Solway Lass is just beautiful and the crew was really nice. There were many Germans on this tour, like 90%. We had two German families with kids, twice two girls traveling together (Swiss and German), one US couple, an older Australian lady, a solo traveling German woman, a solo traveling US American woman and me; the age ranging from 8 to mid-seventies. I was sharing the cabin with Antje, the German solo traveler from Munich. We checked out the bar and had some nice dinner while moving to our overnight anchorage at the Hook Passage, followed by a good night’s sleep.
Wouldn´t have been necessary to get a proper dinner before going on the boat. We didn´t have to wait too long for dinner and it was again quite a lot. After breakfast the next morning we snorkeled at Border Island.
On our way to the next stop we saw a few Humpback whales. That was pretty amazing.
After lunch we continued to Whitehaven Beach. We stopped at Tongue Bay where we took the small boat to the beach. We walked to the lookout from there and to the beach after. We spend like 3 hours at the beach. This place is just amazing. The sand is so white and super soft and fine and the water is turquoise. We also saw quiet a lot of sting rays and crabs. On our way back to the Solway Lass we saw a manta ray in the water and could swim with it for a bit.
After dinner we played Uno, “Who am I?” and Irish Snap. Next day we finally sailed. We could help to set the sails. I really enjoyed it.
We sailed to Luncheon Bay where we snorkeled again and after snorkeling used the swing line on the boat to jump into the water. That was a lot of fun! I had just warmed up a bit when we went snorkeling again.
In the evening they brought us to Black Island with a few snacks and we could bring drinks to watch the sunset. It was so beautiful and the colours amazing.
Back on the boat we had dinner and since it was the last evening they also prepared lava cake for us. While we continued to Blue Pearl Bay we played cards again. Next morning we got eggs and bacon additionally to the normal breakfast and went snorkeling again. Was time to pack up after so that they could prepare the rooms for the next round of passengers. After lunch we went snorkeling again. This time at Stonehaven Bay. That was the best snorkel of the whole trip with healthy colourful corals. A lot of the reefs at the Whitsundays got destroyed or damaged by the cyclone. That´s also the reason why they didn´t offer diving on the Solway Lass for the time being. We sailed back to Airlie Beach having a few farewell drinks and at about 4 pm we arrived in the marina.
Was kind of sad to leave the boat, I had enjoyed it so much! Jamie & Cindy gave me a lift to my hostel. Just had enough time to check in, have a shower, organize my luggage, get some fruit at the supermarket and check my bank before we met at the Beaches for a last dinner together. Unfortunately none of the crew showed up, but most of the passengers did and we had a nice evening. I was super tired but it was basically impossible to sleep in this dorm. The others were so loud and not mindful at all. Switching the light on and off constantly, banging the doors, screaming around, music,… most of them were super drunk. The two worst people – Aussie guys – had to move to a private room the next day since they kept getting noise complaints and they really behaved like they would own the world. I was quite happy that they had to go! After breakfast I went to the market in Airlie Beach, got a few veggies and fruit and stuff and a 30 min massage.
I spent a few hours on the computer until I wanted to have dinner. Went to the supermarket to get some pasta and sauce, but it was already closed unfortunately. A few more people had this problem so I teamed up with a few people from the hostel. Everybody brought whatever they had and we managed to cook some really nice rice with veggies. I went for a few beers with Aryanne a nice Canadian girl I had met at the hostel. The next morning I was busy with getting stuff sorted again. After lunch I did the coastal walk over the Lagoon and the North Marina to the Able Point South Marina and back. Had a little chat for a while with a local guy who is living on his sailing boat.
Back to the hostel I got my sarong and my book and went to the Lagoon until sunset. After dinner I played “Never, ever…” with a few people and went to the beach and to a club after with a Kiwi. Had to get up a bit earlier since I had booked a crocodile safari. At 8:30 I got picked up and transferred to Proserpine where we cruised around on the Proserpine River for about 2 hours and saw many saltwater crocodiles. Some of them are really huge. Fascinating animals, but also scary!
We got a nice BBQ lunch and then went in a train like thing pulled by a tractor through the wetlands. We got some afternoon tea and cake and got back to Airlie Beach at about 3 pm.
I went to the Lagoon again until sunset then packed and got my stuff ready for the flight the next day. Jamie and Cindy had recommended a burger place to me and since it was the last night I treated myself to going out for dinner. I went to Little Vegas, where I had a fantastic burger with sweet potatoes fries and a nice beer. Definitely recommended this place! Aryanne joined me a bit later and we met to Aussies. After dinner we went to Beaches with them to play some pool. Next morning I got up shortly before 7, had breakfast, got my stuff and went to the pickup location. The security was super easy and the plane to Brisbane was punctual. And off I went for more adventures…