We have done a lot of great trips over our four weeks here but nothing even comes close to how good this trip was. When we first arrived on the boat I felt very uncertain if we had chosen the right boat. We were expecting a group of backpackers only but instead it was the most diverse group of people you could imagine from people my dad’s age, to travelling middle aged couples and a couple of other backpackers like us. But it wasn’t long after we set sail all my doubt disappeared and I was thankful to not be having yet another backpacker conversation.
After crew introductions, safety talks and being shown to our beds (they even had doubles for couples and all cabins had AC) it was time to drink and get to know each other. The first day started at 3 pm and just involved us sailing to Hook Passage where we spent the first night. We were cooked a lovely meal of white fish, mash potato and coleslaw there was even enough food for everyone to have a second helping. After being warned we would be up at 6.30 am a lot of people headed to bed before 10 except for a handful of us who stayed up in to the night drinking.
The second day aboard the boat was the most jam packed; we were woken as promised at 6.30 am. After breakfast of toast, fruit and cereals we were nearly at our first destination – Tounge Bay. With everyone feeling a bit worse for wear with their hangovers it was great to be on dry land for a few hours. Here we took a walk up to Hill Inlet, the 3rd most photographed place in Australia and WHAT A VIEW! Imagine the cliché shot of Whitsundays then imagine seeing it in real life, it really was spectacular. We then headed down to the beach which was just round from the Whitehaven Beach. Some people actually headed all the way to that beach but we stuck around this one as I couldn’t take my camera through the water to get over there.
The beach was still the most beautiful beach ever, think white sand and turquoise waters. To swim we had to have our stringer suits on as it was boat policy but we also saw several people in the waters without. During our swim out to one of the sand banks it got pretty deep and we ended up with a stingray swimming beneath us which was pretty sketchy!
After spending from 8 am till 11.30 am at Tounge Bay we were back on board and heading to Luncheon Bay for some snorkelling and scuba diving. Lunch was served during this time which consisted of salad, ham, tuna, wraps and bread rolls. There seemed to be plenty but we were the last to get lunch so didn’t have a chance for leftovers this time!
Luncheon Bay was just around the top of Hook Island and had some of the best marine life living in its coral. Those who were diving went off with the diving instructor, got kitted up and went down in groups of four for an introductory dive. The rest of us were handed our stinger suits and a snorkel and taken in the little boat to a good spot of the reef. I took a noodle to help keep me afloat and jumped in. Little did I realise how many fish there were going to be and how big some of them would be! After a lot of screaming and panicking I gave up and head back in the boat – not before one of the crew threw fish food at me and I had hundreds swarm around me. In all the panic I realise I forgot to actually look at the Great Barrier Reef. After spending the whole day in the little boat with one of the crew I got the nerves to go back in and actually had a good look at the coral.
The second night was pretty similar to the first. We anchored up at Stone Haven near to Hayman Island, had a Spaghetti Bolognaise served for dinner and then spent the rest of the night drinking except for a quick chat from the crew about where we had been, where we were going tomorrow and some interesting history facts.
The last morning everyone was up by 7 am and we sailed about 30 minutes away from where we spent the night. The divers had a chance to dive again and everyone else could snorkel. This area had a lot less marine life so I decided I would get back in again and try again. Sure enough there was only a handful of fish in with me and a ton of jelly fish – but these really didn’t scare me mostly because they weren’t dangerous and I had a stinger suit on. I can only imagine how scared I would have been if stuff touched my skin. I was so glad I got back in as the coral was more beautiful than the day before. It was only 9 am when we had finished snorkelling and were back on the boat debating on opening a beer.
From here we headed back in to Airlie Beach and docked up around midday after having hot dogs and organising the after party of that night. None of us wanted to get off the boat. After my silly worries of having such a diverse group by the end we had all bonded really well and were sad to have to say goodbye to each other. The crew of the boat were awesome and I found myself really getting along with them, but they really did go about their job in a way you respected them but felt relaxed with them too.
That night we then had an after party starting in Phoenix Bar, taking bets on if anyone would turn up but it actually turned in to one of the best nights out so far and yes the crew did turn up and party the night away with us.
The whole trip was just incredible, everything the leaflet said it was, was true. I could not think of anything which could have been better about our time on the New Horizon and would really recommend taking a trip on this boat and with True Blue Sailing. This trip was part of a package we bought with Fraser Island but the cost was around $400 plus extra for diving and alcohol.