Airlie Beach Travel Blog› entry 36 of 39 › view all entries
So, after we left the Joeys we headed North to Airlie beach.
The journey there was an overnight bus, never a first choice for us but because we'd been used to early starts and had put in a good few hours hard work that morning we both managed to sleep through the night (but did awake in some discomfort). We were going to Airlie Beach as we wanted to do some snorkeling and had heard it was a good place for snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef around the Whitsundays. We didnt want another Byron Bay hostel experience so booked a double room in a small family run place a little way out of the main town, but which had regular shuttles to and from town.
Our first stop was Whitsunday Island, where we went ashore and were lead up a short track to a look out point.
Once we arrived at the spot we togged ourselves up in snorkels, mask and flippers and headed into the water. The skipper pointed us in the direction of the reef and we headed off. At first we couldnt see much, it was quite overcast so visability was reduced but as we got into shallower water we spotted the divers below us. A bit further on we came to coral, vast stretches of amazingly diverse shapes, sizes and colours. There was huge circular coral that looked like mini mazes (or brains), tiny fragile stems like leaves and 101 varieties inbetween. The coral was near enough to dive down to, it was beautiful to see so close. Intricate details stood out, such delicately designed patterns alive and sustaining a whole ecosystem. We saw plenty of fish, in the shallower water they were smaller but there were a few larger fish darting out, all not bothered about us in the least. We did see here and there spots where the coral had died, whether through reckless diving or natural causes. Our skipper warned us before we went in not to touch the coral, to make sure our fins didnt even brush the coral or he would kick our butts. It was nice to see a tour operator that cares.