Made up of 74 tropical islands in the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands had been on my list for years. Though far from being a “hidden gem,” I (like so many others), couldn’t resist the allure of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, so I booked a 2-night sailing trip with fellow Californian travel buddy Nicole.
When booking a multi-day sailing excursion, it’s important to choose a boat that suits you. After all, you’re going to be stuck onboard with the same group of people for the duration of the trip. After shopping around for a bit, we settled on Tongarra, which was within budget and supposed to be the perfect balance of “party and chill.”
We met at Able Point Marina at the start of the trip, where everyone boarded the boat, alcohol in hand. The Tongarra, like most of the other boats, is BYO, and their logical no glass rule led to an abundance of beer and goon (boxed wine).
All 22 of us filed down and put our small tote bags of belongings into a tiny 4-bed room beneath the boat, and climbed out onto the deck wondering out loud how 22 people were supposed to fit into four beds. While Rolly, our captain, drove us out to sea, our other crew member Kane went over details about the trip. He began with “Who’s wondering about the sleeping arrangements?” Not one person raised their hand, though we knew we’d all been thinking it. As it turned out, there were apparently enough beds inside that popped out of random walls. But there were also mattresses and bedding stored in a separate room, and the deck could be transformed into two giant tents, which we all ended up sleeping under.
We spent the first few hours having some casual drinks on the way to our first destination, where we were able to jump off and swim around. Meanwhile, Kane cooked us up a delicious dinner of fish, mashed potatoes, and coleslaw, which we all ate on the deck while enjoying a picturesque sunset over the islands.
Day two, we woke up early to head to Whitehaven Beach, spent a few hours exploring, relaxing, and taking pictures of sand that’s so white that it doesn’t retain any heat. Known for having the finest sand in the world, Whitehaven Beach was voted as the South Pacific’s Best Beach by the 2015 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards and in the Top 5 of the World’s Best Beaches. The 98% silica sand is so fine that it’s apparently great as a shampoo and an exfoliator (just don’t forget to reapply sunscreen after exfoliating)!
From Whitehaven, we sailed to a new island to snorkel and top off the day with a fabulous spaghetti dinner (thanks Kane!) and another magical sunset. Overall, it was a wonderful 2day/2night adventure, and we didn’t let a bit of bad weather stop us from having fun!
As always, keep on livin’ pura vida ✌