Cairns to Brisbane & Whales - Wednesday, September 25, 2002

After leaving out of Cairns we traveled south along the coast camping overnight on our way to our first stop - the "Whitsunday Islands". Our plan was to take off on a sailing cruise for a few days out of Airlie Beach. The trips usually sail around some of the 74 odd islands in the chain, stopping off at empty beaches and some top snorkeling and diving spots around the islands. This was to be our first try at scuba diving and there isn't a better spot than the Great Barrier Reef.

I think Friday the 13th brought some poor weather with it as we encountered some fierce rain and blustery conditions on our drive south. The weather didn't get any better as we approached the Airlie Beach cutoff. The wind was gusting to 30+ knots, making our van travels seem as if we were actually on a sail boat! As you can guess, the sailing would have been filled with many folks "Shouting for Herb" the Aussie term for getting puking (sounds like - Huurrbbb!). So we continued down the coast with our tail between our legs, dreaming of all the sailing adventures awaiting us in Greece & Turkey. However, thirty minutes later we felt like shit because we missed our opportunity to sail & snorkel/scuba around the reef. Our bad moods lasted only until we stopped in Hervey Bay for 3 days when we planned our next adventure - camping and 4x4'ing on World Heritage listed Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world! Our trip will be in a few weeks after we return the campervan.

It was fantastic to stop driving after being on the road for several days. The drive from Cairns to Brisbane was about 1100 miles!!! During our 3 day layover in Hervey Bay, we holed up at the local caravan park where we did laundry, relaxed on the beach, finally showered, and best of all----went on a whale watching cruise. As the a bit of the rough weather was still lingering, Marisa got an opportunity to shout for Herb. Many times. All over the boat. Upstairs. Downstairs. BUT she never missed the bag! Good girl. Many folks had troubles with the 4ft. seas, as even our pretty big boat got tossed around. Seeing humpback whales upclose was incredible. The whales travel up from Antartica every spring along the Australian coast to the warmer waters of Indonesia and the Pacific, taking a rest stop to socialize in the protected waters of Hervey Bay.
The pod of whales that were hanging out with our boat included a mother and her calf, as well as a several male escorts. Their size was staggering!! Whale Photos

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