After a short introduction about life jackets and headphones we are taking off into the clear blue sky. Our pilot takes us above Long Island, Hamilton Island, the Whitsunday Island and on a large circle around White Haven Beach. Turquoise Water and snow white sand are mixed up in a swirl like yin and yang. This might be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and the best part is yet to come.
Through a layer of clouds we fly some 30 minutes out to the Great Barrier Reef, where skies are blue again. What we see is hard to describe in words. Between the deep blue water, reefs rise up, revealing only the dead parts of the coral. With the turquoise water above the reef it almost seems like we are looking down on the globe from far outter space.
One hour flies by and suddenly we are headed back to airport. With our fee back on firm ground we race down to the harbour for our charter boat for snorkeling out in the reef that's meant to leave in 10 minutes! On the boat our blond and tanned and totally bananas tour guide gives us some information about safety and rescue procedures. Turns out “single girls in bikinis” have a better chance of being rescued!
Our captain is exactly like I imagine a real captain; with a thick white beard, a deep whiskey and cigarette voice and a dry sense of humor. And superstitious as well as he grabs a banana out of my hands and throws it over board because “bananas on board mean bad luck with the weather”. Well, I guess you never stop learning in life!
At this point I would love to tell about the amazing tour and all the great things we saw and how awesome the snorkeling was. But none of that! This tour turned into the most painful five hours of my life. I had some back pains the last couple of days and let me tell you one thing: being on a speed boat doesn’t exactly cure that. I spent the next few hours taking Nurofen and finding a position where I don’t feel like someone’s stabbing me in my back. All I remember from the trip... White Haven beach is absurdly beautiful, the lunch was delish and we saw a whale!
Back on the mainland we get me to the nearest hospital and into the ER, with green curtains just like in the TV show. Sadly, doc Nick (who is treating me) looks nothing like George Clooney. But he’s very nice and he’s got the drugs!!! He prescribes me an elephant dose of relaxing meds and pain killers. They pretty much knock me out and for the rest of the trip (and as long as I take the pills) I’m not allowed to operate any machinery or vehicles. Meaning I’m co-pilot from now on and get to put my feet out of the side window. I’m not allowed to bend, pack or unpack the van anymore. Being on a road trip this means you don’t get to do anything but relax. And it gets everybody else into the relaxing mood as well. So for our last 3 days together we decide to stay at Airlie Beach in hammocks or at the bar.
...Not bad at all!