We spent a night in Brisbane before our early morning flight to Proserpine Airport. That evening we went to a barbecue and Brisbane's Casino. This was my first time in a casino and I was stunned by the lively loud atmosphere. I did end up playing five dollars in roulette and I lost. It was funny because I bet black when there has been eight red in a row and it landed red again. Oh the odds of that. Gambling is not my thing and a lot of the people we went with lost a bit of money.
We got to Proserpine the smallest airport I have ever seen with two gates and one run way. From there we took a thirty minute taxi ride to Airlie Beach. On the way we passed heaps (like my Australian lingo?) of cane fields. The town of Proserpine turns millions of tons a year into sugar according to our driver.
Airlie Beach was a cute little town with lots of clothing and souvenir shops as well as restaurants, bars and hostels. There was a cute market with so many different jewelry and clothing vendors. The night life was bustling and extremely busy. The 11 of us traveling went out and got up early to catch a transfer to able point marina. From here we were taking a ferry to Long Island where we would stay for five nights. The ferry ride was beautiful seeing so many islands that were mountains just slopping into the clear blue water. The Whitsundays are made of 74 islands and is like being thirteen hours south of Florida. It was hot to say the least.
We arrived on the island and to our surprise were told the only accommodation was Long Island Resort. We were confused because when we booked we payed for Barefoot Lodge, a hostel. It turns out the Resort is nice and keeps cheap hostel like accommodation close to the back beach. We were lucky. The resort was nice and we just relaxed. We were about to jump in when we saw signs warning of jelly fish season. Irukandji Jellyfish a sign warned are very small, about the size of a finger nail and have caused death. The symptoms of severe arm and leg cramping accompanied by nausea, back pain and disruption of kidney function. The article stated hallucinations and hospitalization almost always occur. The symptoms were said to last from days to weeks. Needless to say we swam in the pool and just waded in the water with out feet. While just walking in the water and kayaking we saw several sting rays which thankfully seemed more afraid of us and always went the other way.
The next day was another free day and we decided to go on one of the islands many hiking trails. This hike to sandy bay was 4.4 km each way. We were all wearing thongs ( haha Australian word for flip flops) And swimsuits. Along the way we encountered some big spiders and a valley full of dark butterflies that was beautiful. Upon arrival to sandy bay we were a bit surprised by it's appearance. The view was beautiful but the tide was so far out due to it being close to a full moon. We were walking out to the water on what was normally sea floor and consequently it was muck over ankle deep. Gross but hey we were having fun. We were so hot so we decided to swim despite the stingrays and jelly fish warning. A group of us was just relaxing sitting in knee deep water and I see something big, about the size of well bigger than my backpack which is big. And it was coming at our group very fast. I scream there is a sting ray coming at us and we are all running and screaming and it got so close to one of the boys. We could see clearly now that it was a huge sea turtle. I had no idea they could swim that fast after we had run away it was making a wake as it was retreating to deeper water. Joe and max swam around a bit more and Joe ended up getting stung by a jelly fish.
One hour and a half hike back to the resort was apparently a little painful. At that point he thought he was just chaffing from his wet suit but once at he resort it was swollen to the size of an orange and a man at the resort saw him showing us and rushed over and notified us that that was a jelly fish sting and this was a very serious situation. The sign said to treat the sting with vinegar and to notify reception so they could arrange means of transportation to a hospital if needed. The resort we were at and one other were the only buildings on the island. We applied and help towels with vinegar on the sting and thankfully no bad symptom appeared meaning this jellyfish wasn't a poisonous one.
We enjoyed live music that night and prepared for our day trips on the Camira to Whitheaven Beach and to the Great Barrier Reef the following day.
Sadly since I am writing this blog from the airport waiting for my transfer plane to Melbourne I cannot send the most beautiful picture. But here is a picture from the first ferry leaving Able Point Marina from Airlie Bech to Long Island.