We spent the day Ocean Rafting and visited the famous Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands, tropical Queensland, Australia.
It cost about $145 for the day, including lunch and we agreed that it was great value for money. A highlight was snorkelling over a coral reef on Hook Island, then at a second site, Mantaray, where there were larger rasche? fish. We accepted the offer of a wetsuit which meant we could stay in the water for longer without getting cold.
It is years since we have snorkelled in the tropics, in Fiji, and today reminded me how enjoyable it was: entering into another world where there are myriads of sparkling fish of rainbow colours. Parrot fish, sunfish, little blue and yellow fish, silver transparent fish, fish with black and white stripes. Then there was the coral: brain-shaped, fan shaped, rotund, with weeds washing against them.
Between islands, we were treated to a theatrical display by spinning dolphins.
After snorkelling, we whizzed over to Whitehaven Beach, renowned for the pure whiteness of its sand, which miraculously doesn’t get hot, so you can stroll on it comfortably in bare feet. We climbed Hill Inlet Lookout which offered stunning views of the beach below. Then down to a creek with crabs and stingrays, while a white-bellied sea eagle soared overhead.
Lunch was a tasty chicken and salad then we returned, detouring only when a humpback whale flaunted its tail. On the homeward dash, the skipper gave us a thrilling turn of speed, whizzing around making donut swirls in the sea.
A hint: if you do go, wear bathers as there is nowhere to change and take a top as it can get chilly whizzing along in wet gear. Oh, and it’s OK to relieve yourself in the water, even in a wetsuit. In fact necessary as there’s only one toilet stop for the whole day.
But if you like the idea of snorkelling, seeing unspoiled islands and going fast – this is for you.