Just as quickly as it all started it was almost over, the current of the outgoing tide pulling me swiftly towards the Reefworld platform where I grabbed my camera and slipped back in for just another few minutes in the underwater paradise clicking away at as much as I could. Before I knew it the call was coming to get back on dry land and it was over….for today anyway.
Being treated as well as we are by TQ on this little adventure, a water departure was on the cards - but in a very different capacity to our arrival. An awaiting seaplane was moored just offshore and as we boarded the anticipation grew once more….another unique experience was about to commence.
The sound of the engine firing gradually built the speed of the plane until we were finally hoisted clear of the ocean and into the blue sky above. After a brief taxi we awaited the arrival of the other seaplane and two escorting helicopters by flying out over Heart Reef (a location made famous by TQ in their promotional material) then we joined into a perfect formation and headed towards Hayman Island, the location of our next incredible experience.
It’s only when you climb up into the sky the sheer vastness of the Great Barrier Reef becomes apparent, I’d been lucky enough to experience a tiny part of this 2300km long ecosystem and can only start to imagine what the rest has to offer. The length of it means it passes through 3º of latitude giving a totally different environment along its length…I will have to return to see more sometime very soon.
We splashed down in the waters outside the luxury five star resort that is Hayman Island and our pilot from Air Whitsunday skillfully taxied the seaplane into the harbour and then very surprisingly up the slipway to the car park area where we awaited the arrival of the other plane. Incredible flying/driving there Sir!
We were greeted by the staff and management of the Hayman Resort and for the second time that day my jaw dropped to the ground as the opulent luxury of the place hit me. Perfectly manicured lawns, crystal clear waters of the largest pool in Queensland and the backdrop of another stunning beach…can’t you Aussies learn to share a little more and give us some in the UK?
By now our hunger levels had raised to insatiable and the arrival of varied foods from around the world representing the nationalities of the countries the final candidates, couldn’t have arrived quickly enough. The intricate detail, quality and varied flavours of what we were presented with gave an insight into quite how well you would be treated if you were lucky enough to book a stay here! Crab noodles, Barramundi, Sushi and Maple Syrup ice cream to finish off were enough to satisfy even the largest of appetites!
Before we had a chance to gather our thoughts we were off again, using the obligatory golf carts which are such fun, we headed down to our arrival area and this time boarded another new means of transport…the good ship Sun Goddess, a luxury motor launch.
The friendly staff welcomed us onboard, offered us yet more exotic food and drinks and ushered us into yet more luxurious surroundings! A trip to the top deck was exhilarating enough as the salt air swept through my hair and the media interviews continued unabated. A chance to gather my thoughts on the day came as I retreated to the downstairs hospitality area and sat on the comfiest chair I’d found all day. What a pleasure!
We pulled into the dock at Airport Harbour back on Hamilton Island, our departure point a few hours earlier having experienced the most fantastic day of my Australian adventure. If tomorrow is even half as good as today I will return to the UK a very happy man and a perfect ambassador for the Great Barrier Reef!!