Facing our (my) fears

We’ve done a lot of scary things this trip, not the least of which are the upwards of 15 flights we’ve taken so far, but the first non airplane one was scuba diving. We were given a free dive for booking last minute on our sailing boat in the whitsundays, but I almost didn’t go through with it. First of all there was an intimidating questionnaire which you can not answer yes to a single of their very comprehensive questions. One of the girls on our boat was disqualified for her childhood asthma. After filling out the sheet, mostly truthfully, we were given an extremely short lesson on scuba diving gear, learned about the regulator, how to find it if it falls out, and how to clear our mask. We learned the two most important rules of scuba diving – always breathe, and don’t forget to equalize.

Then we were off. I was nervous as I got into the tiny boat, scared as the instructor pulled me backwards into the water, and terrified as we practiced losing our regulator and filling up our mask with water.

As soon as we started swimming, all my fears disappeared.

It was amazing.

I’ve always been a big water person and could swim for hours. When we were kids my brother, sister and I would spend all day swimming, holding our breath and looking for old tires on the bottom of lakes, pushing water balloons as far as they could go, and catching them before the floated back up, rolling around in canoes and kayaks, and so on.

Now I could stay under forever! Well, atleast for 45 minutes.
 It was incredible. I felt weightless, despite the weight belt, and after a few moments of “I shouldn’t be able to breathe underwater” panicking, it felt completely natural. Immediately after we surfaced, Scott and I looked at each other and said “We’re doing that again!” A week later we had signed up to get our scuba certification in Malaysia.


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Sailing in the Whitsundays

Scott and I pulled into Airlie beach with plans to go on a one day tour of the whitsunday islands, a group of more than 70 islands surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. Half an hour later we walked out of the tour office with tickets for a 2 night sailing adventure, complete with a free trial scuba dive. Whoops.
We sailed out of Airlie that afternoon on a boat with 30 other people, 20 of whom were German, and headed for Whitehaven beach. That night we dined on delicious fried fish and the best mash potatoes I’ve had since we left Canada. Granted, they were also the first, but super yummy!

The next morning we took a shuttle to Whitehaven beach. After a short hike we were directly over the most gorgeous beach I have ever seen.
 The sand is 98% silica and bright white, and the water is a wonderful turquoise. We spent a few hours frolicking on the beach, watching sting rays and crabs, and even braving a short swim in our stinger suits. The water was cold, but the beauty of this beach was breathtaking. It will be the beach I compare other beaches to for a long time. When we got back to the boat we found out that one of the other couples on the boat had even gotten engaged on the beach! Awww…

After our time at the beach we were back on the boat for more sailing, snorkelling, and even some scuba diving. The boat had a plank you could jump off of, and plenty of room for chilling on deck, or playing cards, and we spent most of the rest of the day between these activities.

My favourite parts of being on a boat were the gorgeous sunsets.

We went on New Horizon, through True Blue Sailing, an absolutely beautiful wooden boat. At first my budget conscious mind was hesitant to spend about $600, plus the cost of a box of wine, for the two of us to go sailing, but in the end I’m glad we did. It would have been a shame to travel here and not see the beauty the Whitsundays have to offer, and our foray into Scuba diving convinced us to get certified, which changed the direction of our trip.I would definitely recommend the 2 night cruise, and I had a lot of fun on our boat, but next time I might pick a bigger, less rocky one.  The food on our boat was pretty good, at least for dinner, but the lunches and breakfasts left a little to be desired. Scott might say I’m just bitter because we had my most hated food ever, hot dogs, for lunch.

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