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Whitsunday Islands and Helen

How I got my new travel companion and about seeing Whitsunday Islands in wrong time

Airlie Beach is a typical Australian backpackerís party hole, full of European teenagers with standardized get-drunk-smoke-weed-fuck-some-meat program on their mind. They all hang around here, because Airlie Beach is a place from where everybody goes to see Whitsunday Islands, with its famous Whitehaven Beach, reported everywhere as Australiaís most beautiful beach.

I wanted to do the ďmandatoryĒ Whitsundays sailing trip, but after losing my camera I have to be in saving mode, so I decided that instead of 3 days trip on a sail boat I will do just a short cheap trip by a speed boat to do some snorkeling, see the islands and Whitehaven Beach. I was seriously considering skipping even this, but since this trip from Brisbane to Cairns has just cost me my camera, I wanted to see at least SOME THING, because when I was driving I just drove through all the cities, as they all seemed truly boring. As the weather was shitty, cloudy cold and raining I waited one day, but the weather didnít improve at all, and so the next day I headed out on the speedboat through rough wind-powered seas and rain.
The trip wasnít bad, but it wasnít cool either. I was glad that I didnít do the 3 days trip for heaps of money and did just the much cheaper one day trip. In this weather Whitsundays are not really enjoyable. Itís too cold (20-22íC) to be eager to jump into the water, the islands were drown in shadow of the heavy clouds and for the same reason the ocean lacked its beautiful azure hue. In summer it must be beautiful here, but not now. Even when sun appeared (weather changes here every 30 minutes) it didnít quite hit the sweet spot. So the best part of the trip was actually jumping the waves on the speed boat, it was more entertaining than a roller coaster, especially when the waves splashed all over us. Whitehaven beach was nice, thatís a fact, but itís just another beach. A nice one, but just a beach. I had seen prettier places in the Pacific Ocean. Not even mentioning Zanzibar. Even beach in Byron Bay had more character. And the famous mind-blowing Whitehaven Beach Hill Inlet (google it for pics it looks just awesome!) is really visible only from helicopter, from boat you donít see anything at all from that beauty. And as for snorkeling, the corals were beautiful but visibility completely sucked, it was not more than 2 meters, due to rough seas, so to see anything one had to dive all the time. So, yep, nice trip, but by far not highlight.

In Airlie Beach I met again Helen (whom I briefly met in Noosa before) and we agreed to travel together from Airlie Beach at least to Cairns, as our travel plans were almost identical and she really wanted to get rid of her current travel mates in their campervan, who pissed her off. So my new travel company is actually the only positive outcome of losing my camera (I met her just because I returned to Noosa for the night). After all those boring hours from Byron to Airlie and talking to myself in the car (it doesnít even have properly working radio, and there is no cassette player, CD player or any AUX jack, so Iím desperately without musicÖ) I appreciate some company and Helen is interesting type. Sheís 31 and few years ago she left her office job in France, and ventured alone to the world, expecting to be travelling for 2 months, and here she is, after 4 years, still on the road and thanks to jobs in Australia doing quite well. She also showed me photos from her travels from Western Australia where she spent 2 years, and hell, thatís a completely different story that the East Coast. Just amazing! As she says, this (East Coast) is not the real Australia, the West Coast is. Well for me (as well as for geographers) both of them are Australia, but I have to admit that her pictures and travel stories from the West Coast were way more interesting than the East Coast. Damn it, how do I get there without going bankrupt? It seems itís high time to find some job MarcelÖ

The loss of that stupid camera was really like a wake-up call for me. It very loudly reminded me of the simple truth: Marcel, you cannot just roam around the world, doing absolutely nothing. Sooner or later, all my things will be lost, stolen, broken or simply torn and worn, and what do I do then? Marcel, Marcel, itís time to leave the bubble and face the reality and act. So far no response from me to this message from myself :-)

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak