Chapter 11 of the Short Travel Stories section at Gone Atlas. We finally make it to Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, and an unexpected adventure begins.
Chapter 11: Whitsundays
I’m in Airlie Beach waiting to go to the Whistsunday’s Tour, basically a tourist trap with other thirty backpackers. We’re going to go on a catamaran sailing through the Whitsunday islands for two days, we’ll do some snorkeling, visit amazing beaches and sleep on an island. Well, that’s what they advertised when I bought the trip.
I get on the boat and the first person I meet is an English guy who’s 42 years old and has been backpacking for like six months now. He says at his age he just got tired of the office life and decided to quit and travel the world. A hero. I’m surprised at how this man has no trouble at all in mixing with twenty something year old backpackers, he’s more experienced and clearly more mature, but still had the social intelligence to adapt to our mentality and have fun.
Then two other English guys join us, Seri and Tyler are their names. They became my two buddies, I’m jumping off the boat with them, talking shit on the beach with the purest sand in the world, and just having a good time.
It’s time to snorkel, and it’s shit. We were around this tiny reef for like two hours, and I swear I saw like 10 fish. I paid $300 to go on this trip and they can’t even take us to a decent reef.
Then we get to the island and finally I start appreciating the place. The beaches are out of this world, nature too, and the rooms are really nice. For someone who has been sleeping in hostels and couches for months, this is paradise.
Night comes and everyone goes crazy. We’re playing this drinking game called pyramid. Basically, there’s a pyramid of cards upside down on a table and every player has also got cards in hand, then when it’s you turn you turn one of the cards on the pyramid and say the number is two, if someone is holding a two they can put on the table and give someone a drink. However, if someone else is also holding another two, they can put it on top of the cards just dropped, and add an extra drink. So, if someone dropped a two and gave me a drink, I can use my card to give them two drinks.
To summarize the evening, we drink a lot, the English guys basically give me a lesson on drinking, then I’m singing Robbie Williams “Angels” in a karaoke in front of like thirty backpackers and everyone is cheering and clapping and I feel like a rockstar.
The next day is just more of the same, snorkeling, swimming and at night more pyramid and people going wild and skinny dipping.
The last day we wake up to go do a hike to a hill in the island. When we get to the top we can appreciate one of the nicest views I’ve ever seen. The water is so blue, and you can see so many islands, it’s so pure and impeccable.
There I am, hungover, with $300 less in my bank account for a tour that hasn’t been at all what they told me, but I’m enjoying this view, and it was all worth it. The money doesn’t matter anymore, I’m just happy.