For those of you not in the know, Ocean rafting are the yellow boats that zip by other sailing boats in Airlie Beach leaving them in a cloud of frothy waves. Ocean rafting is an exhilarating thrill of a ride. Yesterday I was on one of Ocean Raftings boats called Wild Things (They have 4 boats in total, all aptly named: Wild Thing, Jammin', Thriller and Thunderstruck.)
Ocean Rafting offers two different tours, The Northern Exposer and the Southern. Both offer simular experiences however the Northern has more snokel time whereas the Southern offers more time to chill on the amazing beaches. Depening on what sort of thing you are in to you can pick the tour that best suits you.
On the morning of the trip we were picked up from Airlie Beach and I was pretty excited as the weather was perfect, clear blue skies, a little breeze and the sun was shining. We checked in, got our boarding passes and wetsuit tickets and hung out on the jetty having a complimentary tea and watching the fish scramble for the fish food the ocean rafting boys kept chucking in, until everyone was checked in.
Next up we got onto our vessels for the day. After getting the front two seats (The bumpiest of all, therefore the thrill seekers spot!) we listened to our host for the day give the safety demo with more enthusiasm than you could shake a stick at. After all the safety advice was dished out, it was time to get going. Music cranked, we slowly made our way out of the marina and once we were out... ZOOM... we sped off into the horizon.
It was amazing on our way to our first snorkel spot we stopped near Hayman Island as we spotted a turtle swimming along... Tick!
When we arrived at our first snorkel spot is was on with the the wetsuits and snorkel masks and into the water we jumped. The awesome staff pointed out the best areas to snorkel and off we went. When we got to one spot we were met with a massive array of different species of fish, it was like swimming in a massive aquarium. There was also an abundance of awesome coloured clams in amazing blue and purple colours, it's like they have LED lights shining on them. After snorkelling until our hearts were content and checking out countless species of fish we decided to make our way back to the boat. There were still a few snorkelers out swimming so we just sat down, soaked up the sun and watched all the others get excited when they saw something awesome.
Next up we headed to Mantaray Bay our second snorkel spot, which was even better then the first, we met Fat Albert the Maori Wrasse and his harem of girlfriends and lots of other colourful fish, and yes we even 'Found Nemo!' (TICK #2!) After snorkel spot number two it was a 40min ride to Whitehaven Beach... During the ride we raced another Ocean Rafting Boat, zipped behind a private boat using their wave grooves as our own personal ramps and had a thrilling ride. We reached Tongue Bay and hopped off the boat after seeing a little shark zipping round by the shoreline, TICK #3!
Leaving Tongue bay we started making our way up to Hill Inlet outlook one of the Top 5 most photographed places in the world. From up there you get an AMAZING view of Whitehaven beach with its white silica sand and its turquoise waters, Now I have been lucky enough to have seen this place a few times before, but it NEVER ceases to amaze me... it's absolutely breathtaking.
After taking some fun pictures of the view (You know the ones, jumping pics, planking pics etc) we made our way back to Whitehaven Beach where there was a delicious BBQ all ready for us on board. This yummy feast consisted of pasta and potato salads, salad, mussels, chicken legs, cold meats and bread rolls, just what the doctor ordered after all our snorkelling.
While sitting on the beach enjoying our feast we were amazed at the view, the colour of the turquoise water, against the white of the sand was amazing, a scene from a postcard. The sand being silica is also as fine as flour so make sure you mind your cameras. It gets into every nook and cranny. There are also a few eagles who live round those parts and they came down for a snoop when we were all eating so the crew threw up a few bits of leftover food which the eagle swooped and caught before it hit the floor... Impressive!
After our food we had a chance to enjoy the time on Whitehaven either chilling or exploring. Pure Bliss! After a little sunbathing as we enjoyed the view of the sea and the coolness of the white 98% silica sand (which I used to shine up my Silver jewellery) it was time to get back on board Wild Thing and make our way home. As we left Whitehaven beach it was the perfect time of day when the sun was cooling down.
All of us had our eyes peeled for dolphins when all of a sudden we saw 3 dolphins swimming by us... TICK #4 after slowing down a little and checking them out we began to speed back home. It pays to keep your eyes peeled on the ride home as the ocean is home to all kind of species both under and on the water What doesn't the Whitsundays have to offer? Sea, Sunshine and Fun.
Homeward bound we went. After another race with the other Ocean Rafting boat we got near the marina where the boys started doing 'donuts' and quick turns... it was like a theme park ride on water.
What a day!
So if you're heading to Airlie Beach and of course staying here in Nomads Airlie Beach come and see us at our Mad Travel Desk and get booking your trips. For those of you who are short on time and are looking for day trips with a difference, I think Ocean Rafting could be the trip for you.