Whitsundays

The sky is an unreal shade of blue – the kind you see on television and instantly want to book a holiday – there’s the sound of the tide as the waves press against the sides of the harbour, and, of course, the unmistakable scent of sea air as you board the SV Whitehaven.

The air is already so warm and it’s only 8:00am; you revel in the sun heating your skin. The boat sets off into the blue – it feels like you’re seeing that colour for the first time – you’ve never the ocean with such radiance before.

It takes four hours to arrive at your first destination, Whitehaven beach, but you don’t mind the time. How can you with views such as this?

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A dolphin swims past the boat, much to the delight of the group you’re with. You may be travelling solo but it’s such a friendly bunch of people on board, you don’t feel alone in the slightest.

You all disembark on to the island which hosts Whitehaven beach. After walking through a thin forest, it is not a hard walk but the sheer heat of the day makes it seem longer than it is, you arrive at the viewing point. For a moment all you can do is stand there in awe.

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How is this place real? This is not the first time you have asked yourself today and it certainly won’t be the last..

Begrudgingly, you walk on from the viewing spot. It only takes a few more minutes for you to arrive on the beach itself. The sand is startlingly white, especially in contrast to the glorious palette of blue made by the sky and the sea mixing together.

This is paradise. This is absolute paradise. 

It is a genuine struggle to take in how idyllic Whitehaven beach is. You walk around slowly, your mind clear of thoughts and you are completely lost in the blue.

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You swim in the water, unable to resist, wearing your stinger suit in case of stingrays. As the tide changes and the initial shallow water becomes deeper,  you think you spot a couple swim past. You join the other members of your group lounging in the shallower waters nearby.

For a while you have the beach to yourselves, which adds to the dreamy feeling of the place. .

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Once back on the boat, it’s time for dinner. People also take the opportunity to have some alochol they have brought on board. You sip on a cider, not really needing it as you already feel light-headed from the day. Conversations are light and easy, laughter comes quickly. .

The sun begins to set. You don’t want the day to end just yet, but can’t help but marvel at the simple beauty of the sun sinking into the waves.

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The boat is anchored in its spot for the evening. The sky is now an inky black, streaked with silver and dotted with white. You lay on the ship’s deck to watch the stars. Your eyes follow the beam of the torchlight, held by one of the crew, as they point out and explain the constellations. You put your arms behind your head to pillow it and the night sky wraps around you; you feel tucked into the world and have never felt peace like this before.

You eventually go to bed below deck, already excited for the day ahead.

* * *

The whir of the boat engine wakes you up. You are groggy as you get ready but it quickly wears of as you head up on deck and get greeted by the spectacular scenery.

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“What a way to wake up,” one of the group remarks.

Today is snorkeling day. A dingy takes you out to to the spot; as soon as your head goes underwater you enter a whole other world, swimming alongside hundreds of fish. The water is still and it is so wonderfully easy, yet strange, to breathe underwater.

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Before setting off to the next snorkeling spot, you get the chance to jump off the boat. Fearful of heights but a lover of water, you take the opportunity. It is higher than you thought and awkward to climb along, but the ecstasy you feel as you jump and splash is worth it.

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The boat sets off and the crew tells you that they’re hoping for you to see some turtles at the next snorkel spot.

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Once you get in the water you eagerly you start swimming and on the look out for turtles.

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It doesn’t take too long for one to swim in to view. It is huge and gets a lot of the group’s attention. People disperse once the turtle swims away. Yourself and a few others follow another turtle for a while, you all keep a respectful distance so not to scare it off.

Then it is just you and one other person, swimming directly alongside a turtle. You gently kick your feet as its fins propel through the water. You are swimming at the same pace. Time ceases to exist and you’re in this dream world made up of the water, the turtle and you.

Yourself and the other emerge from the water.
“Wow,” is all either of you can say. It feels like such a special thing to have been a part of.

It back on board and time to head back to land,  your head is still swimming – you have created such beautiful memories – and you can’t quite believe any of this is real. You look at the sky – that unreal shade of blue – and you still feel a little lost in it.

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