Australia - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 304 (114)

Airlie Beach

Thursday 6th January (2005)

). Even though we were very comfortable and we rested all through the night, sleeping over at Kim & Judy’s meant listening to a fantastic cacophony of wild animals sounds. Had I not known better, I would have thought us to be in the middle of the jungle. It didn’t really bother us too much. If anything, it was quite soothing. After polishing off a rather tasty breakfast that Kim rustled up for the both of us, we managed to pack and get underway for our trip down to Airlie Beach by mid-morning (minus my swimming shorts that it). Our plan is to start our tour through Queensland at Airlie Beach, where we hope to arrange some diving before slowly migrating northwards up the coast until we reach Cairns and Port Douglas. We said goodbye to Kim and Judy safe in the knowledge that we will stop in and see them again when we pass through sometime next week.

We left Kim’s driveway and headed south out of town. I doubt it was more than half an hour before we managed to get lost but with there being just one main North/South road that runs pretty much parallel to the coast, we eventually made it all the way to Airlie Beach after about three hours or so and a few stops for fuel and such along the way.

Along the way, we stopped in at an information office alongside the road to gather some information about various dive operators. We eventually settled on one that volunteered a nice discount for a three-day/three-night package so that we could remain within our self-imposed AU$550 (€335) per person budget for the live-aboard. The particular package that we went with is a rather new and somewhat different type of live-aboard than would typically be the case. Instead of set dive times and dive groups, as was the case in Thailand, this package will be what they have described as an open-deck package. This means that all the divers are free to dive as much as they please and whenever they please provided they remain within the dive limits as dictated by their dive computers. The idea of not diving with a dive master was a bit alien to us both at first but after speaking with a few people during the afternoon, we decided to give it a go anyway.

We’ve checked into one of the local backpacker’s places here in town and are now sitting comfortably in our air-conditioned room – an absolute necessity in my opinion. We’ve already had a bite to eat as well as a bit of a stroll through town. After a full day of both travelling and making arrangements, we will no doubt sleep well.