For the sailing trip, I was one of 23 other travelers (+3 crew) who shared what initially seemed like tight quarters. I didn't know our exact itinerary, I just knew it would have a combination of the following each day:
- scuba dive/snorkel, repeat
- hang out on random islands
- eat, drink and be merry
As with any tour like this, a lot of the fun can depend on the crew and travelers aboard. Thankfully we had a good crew and while by no means was the cruise an all out party boat (which they have and I may have done in my "younger" days), it was a good mix of people and socializing. Onward to the highlights!
1) Snorkeling: Over our 3 days, we hit up 5 different snorkeling spots. Generally, the conditions were good (we had one snorkel of limited visibility) and had a chance to see some pretty cool fish along what is still part of the Great Barrier Reef's Outer Reef. While I had hoped to come across some reef sharks (no luck), I did come across a sea turtle that was surprisingly large and a number of colorful fish, the one I remember best was a parrot fish.
2) Whitehaven Beach: Recognized as one of the top beaches in the world, Whitehaven Beach is known specifically for its white sand that is 98% pure silica...basically its as fine as it gets. The sand is so fine that is is superb for cleaning jewelry, squeaks when you walk on it and similar to powder snow, you can easily find your feet sinking 6 inches or more into it. My first thoughts of the beach was that it'd be great for beach volleyball (though hard to jump out of it) and/or a swimsuit shoot (supposedly Sports Illustrated had just recently shot there...an opportunity I am jealous of missing...for the photographic knowledge I could have obtained of course). We spent a few hours relaxing on the beach but what was almost nicer was hiking up to one of the lookout points and getting a panoramic view of the area which was stunning.