Location: Whitsunday Islands

This morning we awoke on the S/Y Eureka in the marina at Airlie Beach, and after breakfast, we got off the dock and began sailing to the Whitsunday Islands. Our skipper Mal gave us an interesting lesson on compasses and how and why they work, as well as a great refresher lesson on sailing as we got ready to raise the sails. Along with the help of the first mate Sara, we got both the mainsail and headsail up, and we all took turns at the helm navigating to the islands. The weather was full of scattered clouds and short bouts of rain, but also had a good amount of wind, and at one point we hit 11.5 knots! We first headed to Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island, where some of us went for a snorkel, while others chose to relax on the bow of Eureka. Unfortunately, the Whitsundays were hit by a huge tropical cyclone (the Australian version of a hurricane) last year and both land and sea were affected by the storm. This can be seen in the coral rubble, but we can also already see new corals growing as well as some lovely soft coral and lots of fish. After the snorkel we got underway again for another bay; the rain continued to be spotty, so we split our time between up on deck and down below watching movies and playing a rousing game of fishbowl. We had a delicious dinner of chicken, cheesy potatoes, and salad cooked by our skipper Mal and first mate Sara, and then went up on deck to have squeeze under a rain tarp and some twinkly lights. We had a quiet night onboard doing the activity “black and white cards” and catching up on our journals.

Everyone on the Australia student travel trip this summer has done an AQ trip either in the BVI or on Argo in past summers, and so boat life is easy for us all to fall in to. It is so peaceful to be surrounded by water and nice to have it just be our group together after some busy days in the city down in Sydney. I know I am not the only one who is super happy to be back on a boat and looking forward to being rocked to sleep by the gentle waves tonight.