Okay, it sounds gross. Five days, no shower, no soap. Definitely no sugar coating on this one – I was…dirty. Why, you ask, did I go five days without washing? One day, okay sure, two days starts to get a little iffy. But five?
Let me explain. In those less-than-clean days, I went sailing on a professional racing yacht, traveled hundreds of miles on an overnight bus, jumped out of a plane, and slept on an island covered in dingos. Not much time for showering.
After landing at Proserpine Airport, I grabbed my bags and boarded the bus to Magnums Backpackers. On the way, for the one and only time while I was in Australia, I passed a group of wild kangaroos! It was early and I was tired, but wild kangaroos in Australia, it would seem, are harder to come by than you’d first expect so I was pretty happy. During my one night at Magnums I took what I already knew would be my last shower for days. I did my best to appreciate every drop of soap, promise.
The next morning started Day One of what we’ll call the Back to Nature Period. It began on a boat. A 75-foot Maxi boat to be precise, called Hammer, that competed in a lot of huge racing events including the famous Sydney to Hobart races. I packed on board with a group of like-minded backpackers ready to finally see part of the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays.
Unfortunately it didn’t start off exactly as planned since the first day was spent cowering in the pouring rain cutting through the waves. Luckily the sky cleared up enough for us to check out Whitsunday Island though, and its amazing beach. The sand here is pristine. Apparently, it’s so pure (98% silica) it was used to make the lenses for the Hubble Space Telescope. Other than that use, it’s illegal to take the sand away from the beach as the whole area is protected. Pretty neat, huh? Oh yea, and I went swimming in the ocean, naturally, as my shower-substitute for the day.
Then it was more cold and more rain, but as backpackers do, we kept in good spirits. The good thing about rain is it makes for great sunsets. Our skipper hung a canopy over the boom to create a shelter and a group of us slept on deck since 20+ people cramped into a very small indoor space makes for one hot, uncomfortable night.
Day Two: it was time to don the snorkels and flippers (and all-in-one stinger suits) and check out why this Barrier Reef is such a big deal. It’s true that I wasn’t at the outer reef, but this place is pretty fantastic. I’ve never seen such huge coral formations, full of colour and ENORMOUS fish and clams! It was truly breathtaking. After stopping at a couple of different spots around the islands and swimming around as much as possible since, of course, this was my ’shower’ for the day, we raced another boat into harbour. And won. Oh yeah.
The Whitsundays were stunning, it was the perfect start to my Back to Nature days.
Next it was on to the overnight bus (after a bit of a deodorant application) and on to Hervey Bay where my morning plans were scuppered by a persuasive man with a parachute on his back…