this weekend was nothing short of AMAZING!
it started with a lunch outing with my new friend, jo. jo is a new friend to me and an old friend to jim because she is the one who set jim and me up in our amazing apartment. jim met her back in october and she has been helping jim get everything ready for our move since then. she has been such a blessing and now a great friend of ours. her husband keith is also a gem and i think we will be seeing a lot of them during our stay here in mackay.
after lunch, jim was home from working all week at the mines. it was so great to see him and have him home for the weekend. he actually kept the surprise from me all week that, on saturday, we were going to travel north to airlie beach to visit TWO of the whitsunday islands on a charter cruise line.
for those of you who don't know, the whitsundays are comprised of 74 islands right in the heart of the great barrier reef. it's sort of like a scene out of the bachelor-ette. and here is where our journey begins.
this is the view from the car that the mine is letting us use during our stay.
we arrived at shute harbor to catch our boat. here she is.... ain't she a beaut?!?
just a little scenery on our way to our first island.
jim and i on the boat on the way to the island. you can't see them here, but behind the camera is our new friend vinnie and his girlfriend, lauren. more on them later.
and here we are at hamilton island. hamilton island is fairly commercialized. we took a tour on a free bus that transports locals around the island.
jim relishing in the first time he has touched ocean water since he has been in australia.
one of the stops, on the bus tour that i mentioned earlier, dropped us off at one tree hill (no relation to the show... don't worry, i asked). i think this is the most beautiful view that i have seen since i have been here. absolutely stunning. apparently, during wedding season, they have up to three weddings in one day here.
after our little bus tour, jim and i decided to do a little kayaking.
afterwards we made our way back to the vessel that would take us to our next location: whitehaven island. this is a well known uninhabited island that is constantly rated one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (it ranks in the top 10 almost every year).
here we are in our stinger suits. stinger suits, you might say? yes, stinger suits.
apparently, there are irukandji jellyfish in the water from october to may in australia, resulting in the need for the stinger suits which will protect you from their venomous stingers. just a little lesson on irukandji... they are no larger than the size of your thumbnail and are clear in color. most victims need to be hospitalized and if you have a heart condition there is a very good chance you will not survive a sting. symptoms from an irukandji sting can last anywhere from hours to weeks.... yup, that's right. weeks. here are just a few of the sypmtoms: severe pains at various parts of the body (typically excruciating muscle cramps in the arms and legs, severe pain in the back and kidneys, a burning sensation of the skin and face), headaches, nausea, restlessness, sweating, vomiting, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and psychological phenomena such as the feeling of impending doom.
so, when the opportunity arose to rent stinger suits, my response was, "yes, please!"
and here are lauren and vinnie (remember, i mentioned them earlier?). lauren and vinnie are our friends that we met about 5 minutes into our trip. they are from london and are taking a 3 week hiatus in australia. meeting them made our trip to the islands even better since we got along from the start and really enjoyed each other's company. thanks for hanging out with us, guys!
look at how magical that beach is! the sand is 100% silica and it is like getting a free exfoliation wherever it touches skin.
sadly, it was time to leave, but we had a wonderful time visiting the islands and making new friends! cheers!
while we were on our excursion on saturday jim received a phone call from jo and keith, offering us to join them and their friends on their friend's yacht. um, let me think.... should we go? YES, PLEASE!!!
and what an amazing vessel she was! the proud owners of this 38 foot catamaran are our new friends laurie and glynis. so far, australia has not disappointed us with its natives. we have loved everyone we have met! laurie and glynis were no exception.
here is a picture of laurie (the skipper) and me.
i had to pinch myself just to ensure the day was real!
ladies and gents, jim and i are now proud owners of our own
yacht stinger suits.
jo and i under water.
that's me snorkeling.... we didn't see much, though, since the tide was up.
here is the BEAUTIFUL meal prepared by jo and keith. we had shrimp and chicken kabobs, potato salad, coleslaw, bread and another salad that was all DELICIOUS! thanks, again, jo and keith! you are excellent cooks!
pineapple tree on keswick island - another island of the whitsundays.
we sailed the entire way home and their gorgeous sail was designed by glynis and her daughters.
jim, the deckhand.
again, what a wonderful day with new friends and memories of a lifetime. thanks, again, glynis and laurie for letting us spend the day with you!