This time the trip took us almost 14 hours over night. We were able to sleep a bit on the bus, but we were still tired when we arrived in early morning to our next destination – Rainbow Beach.
After we unpacked we had a quick snack and then a surfing lesson. We started our trip at a local surfing school where we boarded a 4×4 and drove about an hour down the beach (we were actually driving on the beach) until we reached small peninsula at the end. We unpacked, some people went kayaking along peninsula while three of us went for a surfing lesson.
Our teacher was an interesting fellow. He looked just like Jesus, and had a funny surfer’s lingo. I suppose you get that if you surf your whole life. 🙂 Anyway he soon thought as the basic idea of surfing, we tried to stand up couple of times on the ground, easy, peace of cake, let’s go into the water.
Once we were in the sea it was a whole new thing. First you have to “catch” the wave by paddling on the surf, then you have to stand – which is like trying to do a push-up where you jump at the end and to top it the board is constantly moving below your legs. Needles to say we had not much luck while trying to stand up, we did get hit in the head by the surf couple of times however. In the end I think Veronika and I each managed to stand up and surf for a bit 2 times each and this was with our instructor pushing us at the beginning, so we didn’t have to paddle.
It was very fun to try it, and just after 2 hours we were so tired we could barely hold our surf with the hands let alone do push ups on it in order to stand up.
It was a nice day and just before we left we saw another group of whales who were swimming alongside the beach.
In the afternoon we returned to our hostel, where we had a briefing for our next adventure on Fraser island. After the briefing Veronika and I had a dinner in a bar somewhere in town, that the surfer dude recommended, it was the best dinner we had in whole Australia.
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.
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.
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.
Even the splash that followed was amazing.
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!