Tongarra Experience and review

Tongarra Flag

Tongarra Whitsundays

  • Whitsundays Beach
  • Snorkelling
I am not a morning person at all and unfortunately when your on a trip with a few people there always is some morning people all cheery and full of energy. Some chilled music was played to wake us up which was perfect to wake up the first song being an acoustic version of ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ the weather was beautiful and once we packed our beds away we could enjoy the sun. Breakfast was laid out on the table for us and you could have fruit salad, cereal or bread and spread. I went for a bowl of fruit salad which went down a treat. Once we had got our things together they began ferrying us to the closest beach to the boat in a small six man dingy. Once we all were on the beach we began to follow the trail to the whitsundays. We arrived at the first lookout point and saw the beautiful clear waters and white Sands. We got a few pictures and then descended the trail to the beach. The sun was beating down despite it only being early in the morning. Henry gathered us for a group photo spelling out Tongarra and said to meet back at the small beach in a few hours. We sun creamed up and went down to the beach. The water was perfect and not cold at all, the sand so white and fine and we were told it was good for your skin and you could clean your teeth with it. I attempted this which was a terrible idea as I had a mouth full of sand and it tasted quite sulphurous. You could also wash your hair with it and I tried this to but then just had a head full of sand so soon washed this out.
Spelling Tongarra
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We chucked the rugby ball about for a bit and one of the girls in the group grew up in a really small village near Bristol where I met a load of people from in kos about 6 years ago and knew a few of them which was a strange coincidence. After swimming for a bit I went for a rest in the shade and hydrated a bit, the heat was so intense and as the sand is so white it reflects the light back up. But one good part is because it’s so white it doesn’t heat up. After resting for a bit a few of us decided to explore another part of the beach we hadn’t been to yet. We were walking through the waters and I spotted a lemon shark in the shallows. It must have been two to three feet and it’s fins were popping out of the water. We saw a couple of them and tried to get closer to have a look. Also sholes of silver and yellow fish nonchalantly drifted in the current in the shallows and would disperse if you got to close. We carried on walking along the shore and then saw a sting ray it was just a few metres from the shore and a guy was already following it which looked like he was taking his sting ray for a swim. It was the first one I’d seen in the wild so pretty incredible to see them and you could get within a couple of metres before it began to swim off.
Sunset
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John said that I was beginning to get a bit red and I felt like I was burning so I retired to the shade and polished off all of my water. The temperature only increased and it was so tiring just being in it. I managed to find a shaded spot a but set back from the group. I felt like a right weirdo lurking in the bushes and also had to fight off the flies but I wasn’t getting burnt so that was some consolation. After a while of being at the number five most beautiful beach in the world it was time to leave so we began heading back to the first beach where we were dropped off. Before long Henry came back in the dingy and began ferrying everyone back to the boat, six at a time. When we got back Kane had laid out dinner which was wraps or cobs with salad and meat. It was well needed after being on the beach for a few hours and relieved my head ache from being in the sun for to long. After lunch we set sail for our first snorkeling spot. The guys told us it would take a couple of hours but what they do is take is to a few best spots and spend a while in each rather than loads of average spots for short amounts of time. They said that this spot would have a load of fish that we could snorkel with. Everyone was quite lethargic so either slept or chilled on the boat until we arrived at the snorkeling spot.

Snorkelling
P1010478 Kane then gave us a small brief and told us that we had to wear stinger suits as it was the start of jellyfish season but it was pretty unlikely we would see any. So we grabbed a stinger suit, mask and snorkel each and put them on. We climbed down a small ladder and then jumped off the back of the boat. Henry said he would feed the fish so to swim to the small dingy he was in. They also have a resident fish called George which is a humpback maori wrasse and huge that they said we should spot. I began to swim out and on the way saw a barracuda and George. He was so big, by far the biggest fish I have ever seen in the sea. As I drew closer to the small boat more fish appeared there were hundreds of yellow tailed fusiliers which were bright blue with a yellow tail and sergeant majors which were silvery white with black stripes. Everywhere you looked there were fish and the visibility was immense. You could see for about fifteen metres which meant you could see a lot of the coral at the bottom. The area had been hit by a cyclone a few years a go we were told so in patches all of the coral was dead and a baron graveyard dominated the ocean floor. But in other areas there was an abundance of life all shapes and sizes of coral with fish patrolling their homes or looking for food. It was a feast for the eyes and everywhere you looked there was something new. I liked just floating on the top as if you just sit and wait the fish come out of hiding and get on with their day to day business. They don’t mind you if you just watch and leave them alone. I dove down a few times and was able to get pretty close to the coral without disturbing them.
When you were near the boat Henry chucked a handful of fish food at each person and you were instantly swarmed by fusiliers and majors it was brilliant.
Tongarra Snorkelling
After a while a few people. Began to tire so we’re ferried back to the boat. When the dingy came back the fish could hear it and would swim to it as they thought they would be fed. I didn’t want to get out so stayed in as long as possible. I felt so lucky to be there and didn’t want it to end why would I go back and just sit on the boat or jump off as a few people were doing. Eventually it was time to get out and me and another guy were the only two left in so we were taken back to the boat.
We got back to the boat and then would drive a couple of hours to another spot that we would snorkel at the following day. On route a helicopter flew near us and then started doing hand signals towards the boat and pointing. Everyone was pretty confused and it kept on circulating the boat doing similar hand signals and then it looked like a camera signal. I thought they were saying they needed to put up the other sail as we were entering rougher waters but wasn’t sure. The helicopter must have circled us for a good ten minutes and they put up the main sail and then asked everyone to lay down on the boat. It turned out that the guy in the helicopter was the owner of the company and taking pictures for the new brochure cover. So we would be famous and you probably won’t be able to see us but we will all be on the brochure cover! After a couple hours of sailing we arrived at our spot for the night. It was still light and Henry gathered us on the front deck and went through with a chart where we had been and where we were going. He had a tub of vegemite and said that he would ask questions and if you got them wrong you had to have a spoon full and if you got it right you gave a spoon full to someone. You also would be given one if you spoke over him or didn’t raise your hand to answer. I was awarded the first spoon full as he said what is this chart in front of me and I said ‘a map’. I don’t mind vegemite so it wasn’t to bad and he said the clue was in the question, it’s a chart.

Spaghetti bolognaise was on the menu and garlic bread which was good so I loaded up a plate and sat on the roof of the boat. It was our final night on the boat so we had to finish off our alcohol not that this was a large task. I had three or four cans to finish off so we began a couple of drinking games to entertain us.
We played would you rather which was fun and drank into the night. I was pretty shattered so attempted to get some sleep on the boats roof which was away from the drinking games. But a few people proceeded to keep me awake by attempting to lick and bite my feet, very strange! Eventually they got bored and I fell asleep I managed to have two sleeping bags which was well needed as the wind blew in from the sides underneath the tent.
Source (Adam Dayman)

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