22:51 Sun.
8 Oct, 2017

WhitSundays

Airlie Beach , Australia
26 °C
Partly Cloudy
5:39 am
12:00 am

Friday 7 AM

And so it began, our long long way down to Sydney. First stop was Airline Beach, around 800 km south of Cairns. It took as about 10 hours with a bus, with 2 short breaks in between. The bus was nothing special, no WiFi or chargers in it, at least it was interesting to look through the window and watch the Australian landscape, which is quite different from what we have here in Europe.

In the evening we arrived to Airline beach, where our next adventure awaited. As soon as we disembarked the bus we were greeted by two local Cockatoos who were screaming over our heads, but we had no time for them since we were in a hurry to check-in for our sailing trip in the following days.

The next day we boarded a small/medium? catamaran that will take us sailing around the islands for the following three days. We were joined by about 15 other young people, from Germany, Italy and UK. And were led by Kiwi (New Zeland) skipper and Aussie guide.

Catamaran where we spent next 3 days.
Catamaran where we spent next 3 days.

The boat was surprisingly spacious inside, I think there were 25 or even 30 sleeping spaces on board. Veronika and I were positioned on the left side of the boat, but we didn’t spent a lot of time inside, since it was so beautiful to be on deck and watch the sights around us.

We did variety of things on the boat, we prepared the sails, watched for turtles and other animals in the water, plaid games, talked and so on. A big surprise to all of us was the food. It was plentiful and good. It turned out that the skipper was a very good chef in youth, owning a couple of restaurants but decided later that he wants to do something else in his life.

Food was surprisingly plentiful and despite using simple/normal ingredients it tasted very good. We had one of the best meals in Australia on this boat.
Food was surprisingly plentiful and despite using simple/normal ingredients it tasted very good. We had one of the best meals in Australia on this boat.

We sailed around the islands, stopping at different locations in order to go snorkelling. One of such locations was Whitsundays beach. It is a large beach that goes way inland and is covered by a snow white, very fine sand. All in all it makes the water look nice shade of light blue and to top it off, whole bay is full of stingrays and other large fishes. I even saw a shark, 5 m from me in the water (I was standing in the water at that time). Luckily it wasn’t vicious, only about 3m in length and by the looks of it afraid of me, since it swam away from me as soon as I started to walk toward it.

Withsundays, the famous beach.
Withsundays, the famous beach.

We spent whole morning on the second day here. Swimming, and looking for stingrays. They were plentiful and can almost disappear in the sand – I almost stepped on them 3 times and you don’t want to do that, they can sting you with their enormous stinger on the tail.

Stingray
Stingray, you don’t want to get stung by that tail.

It really was an incredibly beautiful beach and the time just flew by.

The evenings and mornings were especially amazing. It was cold, but the colors of the sky were amazing. I don’t remember ever seeing such a purple color of the sky before.

Sunset at whitsundays.
Sunset at whitsundays.

As I said in previous post in general it is very dangerous to swim anywhere in Australia, you have tons of animals that can kill you, sharks, crocodiles but the most dangerous are jelly fish, that is why we always had a wet-suit on when we went swimming, even if the water was above 24 C.

 

 

22:49 Sun.
8 Oct, 2017

Whales

Airlie Beach , Australia
26 °C
Partly Cloudy
5:39 am
12:00 am

Before going to Australia, I was kind of hoping to see couple of native animals such as kangaroos and koalas, but I was not prepared for what happened. In short we saw almost all animals that we saw in zoo also in nature. It is just an amazing experience, something you can rarely experience in Europe. The highlight of them all were probably whales. In total we saw them over 5 separate occasions (days) through our journey to the south, but the best experience was our first in Whitsundays.

Whale
Whale, blowing some water.

While we were on the white beach skipper spotted something that looked like a whale in the distance. As soon as everyone was on board we chased after them. We were lucky to be in the area when we were (e.g. Australia), since the whales are only here around one month per year, when they migrate north to Arctic with their babies. They spend their time in the south to mate and to raise their children, which is great for us, since they are more active and do different stuff to teach their young ones.

It wasn’t long until we came close to the first group, we stopped about 300 m from them, they didn’t seem to mind us, as they continued to play for about an hour. After we continued our journey and on the way encountered two more groups before stopping in the afternoon for a snorkeling’s session. It was interesting going into the water, because if you dove about 2 m under the water you could hear some singing – a whale singing. I think I managed to record some.

Snorkelling was also great. The water was a bit clearer here and had more animals. Remember how happy I was that I saw a turtle last time? Well here I saw around 5 or 6.

Turtle
Turtle

Me trying to photo a turtle. It's not as easy as it looks. It can hold it's breath much longer than I.
Me trying to photo a turtle. It’s not as easy as it looks. It can hold it’s breath much longer than I. I think in the video above you can see my photographer from this photo. 🙂

After getting out of the water we prepared for our next snorkelling location but a couple of whales close to our boat caught our attention instead. Another mother and child playing about 200 m from our boat. I didn’t mention before, the specie of a whale was Hump whale, and adult one can weight about 30 tons and can be more than 10 m in length. It wasn’t long before we could see what that means for ourselfs. Without further ado, I give you probably the best action photo that I ever witnessed in real life, of course with my luck I missed my shot and only caught the splash afterwards, so here I present the photo taken by our skipper and a splash aftermath taken by me.

This enormous creature jumped out of the water about 200m from our ship. It is hard to tell how large it is. The closes I can say is it felt like a big truck jumped out of the water.
This enormous creature jumped out of the water about 200 m from our ship. It is hard to tell how large it is. The closes I can say is it felt like a big truck jumped out of the water.

Even the splash that followed was amazing.

Humpback jump aftermath
Humpback jump aftermath, at least I got this. :'(

After this we did a couple more dives.

The last morning we had a chance to watch another sunrise early morning, before going for a last snorkel. I can’t believe how fast these 3 days went by, but it was one of my favourite experiences on this trip. Really worth doing it if you happen to be around Airlie beach.

After we got back we had another day left in Airlie to watch some cockatoos. I don’t know why but I find them so funny. You can normally hear them way before you see them and they have this smurky expression on their face all the time. I think I read somewhere that alongside parrots they are the most intelligent birds on Earth. We caught them stealing some food from a nest of another parrot and it was funny when parrot came back he chased them away, but as soon as he left they came back with this funny expression and raided his supplies… poor parrot.

Caught in the act.

On Wednesday evening we prepared for our departure, another thousand kilometres to the south!

19:20 Sun.
1 Oct, 2017

The Great Barrier Reef

Cairns , Australia
21 °C
Mostly Cloudy
5:59 am
6:15 pm

To continue from where we left, third day in Cairns we went to see something that Australia is really famous for – The Great Barrier Reef.

So on Thursday early morning we went to the harbour to board a ship that will take us to the reef which was about 2h sail away. We were around 40 people on the boat and the first thing we did was a briefing about our day and a warning that we should take the motion sickens tablets if we have them (otherwise we could buy them) because the seas can be a little rough.  Half an hour later half of the boat was on the outer deck being sick. To make things worse the waves (about 3m high) made it impossible to go faster so it took as 3 hours to reach our destination. I myself managed to find a good spot behind the ship where I didn’t feel full extent of the motion sickens, the downside of it was that it was outside and I was soaking wet, since the water splashed all over deck.

After reaching our destination we had another briefing about diving. I took a special package which included 2, 45min dives on the reef.

Preparing for our dive
Preparing for our dive

Not long after we were in the water and swimming around the reef. Despite sadly a lot of the reef was damaged by cyclone couple of days before our arrival it was still interesting to see. There were a lot of fishes, and colourful corals, sadly not to the extent as seen on google if you google it.

They say that about 80% of the reef is dead and it will take couple of decades to recover. My first impression after seeing it was quite bad, there was a lot of dead corals on the ground and not nearly as colorful as in these photos (flash does it’s job here). Despite that we did see a lot of animals and fishes. We even saw a turtle and a Nemo fish.

Turtle
Turtle

After we were done with diving we had another bumpy ride back. All in all it was a great experience (minus the boat), it is one of those things that you have to do.

After coming back we had couple of errands to do in the Cairns, before we prepared for an early departure the next day.

Speaking of Cairns, did I tell you they have this gigantic bats there? First time I saw them I was afraid Batman was after us. They had like 0.5m over the wings at least.  Secondly we saw them on a tree, sleeping during the day. It was strange, at first we thought they were some kind of chestnut, but then some of them moved and flapped their wings. Really unique experience.

10:55 Mon.
18 Sep, 2017

Sleeping at noon

Nova Gorica , Slovenia
15 °C
Mostly Cloudy
6:48 am
7:10 pm

After another long flight and not so long drive with a car we have finally made it back to Slovenia. It was a long travel all together, more than 24 hours combined, most of them stuck on the plane. Luckily I was able to sleep quite a lot on the plane and when I was not sleeping I had a chance to watch some movies from last year I didn’t had a chance to catch up to yet.

Anyway I’m home now, preparing to have lunch and then probably going to sleep at noon. I’ll guess I’ll fight it in the following days.

Now that I’m home I’ll be able to go through the total of 4000 photos we’ve accumulated over the duration of our trip and post the interesting ones here. I also have some interesting stories to write about second half of our trip where I was without my computer.

22:24 Sun.
17 Sep, 2017

Almost home

Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates
31 °C
Clear
6:10 am
6:23 pm

After about 14h of flight we have made it to Abu Dhabi, only 9 more hours and we will be in Venice.

The flight was calm for most of the way, expect over India there was quite a lot of turbulence for an hour or two. We had great luck with seats and got the seats at the emergency exit with like 2 meters of leg room. Despite all it’s still uncomfortable to sleep in small seats with lots of noise for 12 hours. Oh well we will soon be home.

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