Saturday, April 2, 2011

Whitsunday Trip: Ocean Rafting Adventure

We dedicated another day to snorkeling among the reefs, this trip was just a tad different. Unlike the Fantasea cruise we took earlier that week to the Great Barrier Reef, this one didn't cater so much to just everyone and their grand-mummy. It drew more of an adventurous and physically fit crowd. We were joined on our raft by many attractive, young couples and groups from all over the globe. 

This tour put the cherry on top of the whole trip, our guides were humorous and friendly in that authentic and not cheesy way and it was the best way to really see the Whitsunday islands beauty and wildlife.  The trip consisted of two snorkeling stops and a visit to the famous Whitehaven beach. 

Our first snorkel was memorable due to the resident sea turtle that loves to flaunt itself to all the rafting visitors. The water we were in was less clear and had more debris, so not many photos were worth taking. It did still have some gorgeous views and had corals what were massive! Buuuuut our second snorkel stop was much more exciting...

In the second snorkel we were greeted by a fish nearly the size of me! Our tour guides were feeding the big, mellow guy and swarms of gorgeous [smaller] fish joined in. Jo got to pet the big blue lug, I was content with just letting him model for me... 

As we were swimming around in awe, admiring all the colorful coral in the clearer water we noticed we were swimming past jellyfish every so often. You know how when you hear someone you know has lice and your scalp suddenly feels itchy? Well as soon as we started spotting a couple we both started getting paranoid that we had this strange tingle on our neck or whatever exposed skin area we had. I know, we are fools considering they were tiny, but it was hard not to knowing how lethal those suckers could potentially be!

After we escaped that "near death experience" we hoped back on the raft where we hit a bout of white-cap waves and had bumpy ride up to Whitehaven beach. I have a video that I won't embarrass Jo with since he ended up spilling his can of coke he had just opened. 

I honestly have to say that Whitehaven beach is the the most gorgeous place I have ever visited. Between the perfect white silica sand, clean clear blue water and amazing views of swirling ocean waters I knew this had to be paradise. As we were approaching the island we were greeted by a few sting rays who shied away as we got off the raft and made our way to the beach. 

Just as we hit the sand our guide told us of a huge army of these solider crabs that was about a hundred yards away. The only catch was that we'd need to practically sprint in order to catch a glimpse of them before they burrow themselves into the sand, as you can see in the video I posted below. Our first time we didn't have much luck. We caught a glimpse but they were much faster than when we returned from our rainforest walk to the view of all views. They were much slower upon our return for whatever reason that I particularly don't mind. It could also be due to the fact that there were literally thousands of them!

We wrapped up Whitehaven with a picnic on the beach where we were entertained with our guide tossing up leftover chicken to the island's predator birds. There was one point where the eagle dropped the chicken and the seagulls viciously went after it and carried it very close to us. I thought I had it recording on my camera but due it it being a gorgeous sunny day I couldn't see crap on the I missed out when the eagle came and swiped up his piece of chicken just a few yards from where Jo and I sat!

Not much happend after that besides a dip in the gorgeous water. Shortly after we board the raft for a final time and headed back to the mainland. But not before we dropped off the young, energetic Korean group that would literally cheer loudly for just about everything. The half hour back to the mainland seemed way to quiet even with a few intentional  jolty twists and turns by our captain as our grand finale.  

Here are a couple mobs of the solider crabs that inhabit Whitehaven Beach. On a side note I did actually step on one where it remained completely still as if it was dead, then Jo touched it and it scurried off. I was immensely relieved! Side note #2, those little puddles all over the place are created by stingrays when the tide is high and they feed on these little guys! Neat, eh?

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