FEB 23 // DAY 25

It was raining buckets as we waited to board The Bullet. Rain in Australia is very different than rain in Seattle. It absolutely dumps for about ten minutes and then stops and clears up and, if it feels like it, does it all over again ten minutes later. A few people cancelled their tour, concerned about the weather. Tiffanie and I got front row seats, recommended by Keith, and had a blast on the hour journey to Whitehaven Lookout and Beach. Since we were on open ocean, the wave periods were long and heights were about two meter. Each one we creased felt like a roller coaster. Take the tour when it’s a little stormy. Highly recommend.

The weather cleared up a bit when we arrived at Whitehaven. If you google Whitsundays, it’s the iconic white beach in all the pictures. The sand is comprised of 97% quartz, thanks to a deep hole near the islands with lots of quartz and not much else. Over the ages, it’s been ground up into a fine, delicate powder that almost hurts your eyes in the sunshine. It’s like a hundred million mirrors pointing right at your face.

After leaving the lookout, we enjoyed lunch on the beach itself. Law of attraction says that if you don’t bring a camera, you will find amazing things to photograph. Guess who forgot the camera and saw a giant iguana and several spiders the size of my face? I promise you, they were huge.

The final portion of our tour was a trip to an island to the north for some light snorkeling. Given our recent experience in Cairns, we didn’t know what to expect. I’m happy to report that the reef in the Whitsundays was much more tame. The corals were by far the coolest. Unlike the electric peaches and blues in Cairns, these corals were decidedly… hipster. If corals came in plaid and enjoyed drinking an expensive single-origin coffee, these would be them. My favorite was a pea-soup green one with long tendrils that swayed delicately in the current like an overdone shag carpet.

One of the biggest perks of The Bullet–besides covering quite a bit of ground in one day and the cool staff and sweet snorkel gear and great box lunch–is the BOYB policy. Tiffanie and I enjoyed drinking several beers on the way home at a very reasonable price. Alas, I forgot to put sunscreen on my forehead. Usually, my bangs protect it, but since we were going so fast, they flew backwards and I got a serious singe.

On our way out of town, we stopped in at a local bar for dinner and met a girl from Scotland who gave us a thoughtful list of recommendations when we visit. After dinner, and after much debate, Tiffanie and I decided to drive to Sydney. From Airlie Beach. It’s a 20-hour drive and then some, if you count stopping for gas and food and getting lost. It was not in our plans, but we had friends there and a place to stay and said why the heck not.