Day 102: Airlie Beach & False Nara, Hook Island, Australia
I and 21 other passengers converged on Abell Point Marina in the early afternoon to begin the first of our 3 day sailing tour of the Whitsundays. Our vessel was Broomstick, a 22 meter retired racing yacht. She looked every bit the part with her sleek silhouette. I was expecting something bigger, given the number of passengers it would have to accommodate for the adventure.
I expected much more. But, I’ve never been on such an adventure.
The booking company instructs passenger at the time of booking to bring only the essentials, including swimwear, as space and the water supply are limited on the vessel. Passengers are also allowed to bring snacks and alcohol aboard, box wine being the recommended beverage of choice. The only disclaimer is that no glass containers are allowed.
Each passenger sleeps on a bunk in the belly of the vessel. After boarding Broomstick, the passengers were pointed to the bunks below deck by the crewmembers, The accommodations were spartan with red vinyl mattresses lining the cabin. I expected much more. But, I’ve never been on such an adventure. I suppose if I wanted more that I’d certainly have to pay much more than the $479 AUD I paid for this adventure. I think I’ll be okay.
After settling in and a brief orientation by the captain and crew, we quickly set off from Airlie Bay to begin our tour of the Whitsunday Islands. Once out of the Bay, the captain asked me and two other passengers, Erik and Lucas, to raise Broomstick’s sails. It was an effort that required real teamwork and strength. It was fun though, and was a good way for me to get acquainted with some other passengers.
The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of continental islands of various sizes off the central coast of Queensland, Australia.
With the sails raised, we sailed along mostly gentle waters. Everyone was relaxed, looking out into blue of the Coral Sea. The crew announced that we would soon be arriving to the first stop of our adventure, and that we should prepare to change into our swimwear for snorkeling. Some people, including myself, shuffled through Broomstick’s galley below deck, and into the bunk area to begin changing.
Once we returned, we were pleasantly surprised with a nice snack prepared by the crew. Seeing it made me smile. It was beautiful, probably due to the setting. The sun was an intense fire orange, bursting over the captain’s shoulder. It was the sign of something special. I thought to myself, ‘This is going to be a great trip.’, and smiled at the captain. I’m so glad I decided to do it.
They persisted and the captain got involved in the standoff. I continued to refuse…
After our snack, we anchored at our first destination, False Nara, Hook Island to go snorkeling. As everyone rushed to put on their wetsuits to go snorkeling, I sat still.
The crew began shuttling the first group of passengers in Broomstick’s tow raft to False Nara. As the only remaining passenger not to don a wetsuit and prepare myself to be shuttled, the captain and crew took notice.
I could not swim and had to be saved by someone.
Two crewmembers asked if I planned to snorkel. I refused. They persisted and the captain got involved in the standoff. I continued to refuse, and explained to the captain and crew that I have a terrible fear of water.
The Broomstick captain and crew were unrelenting in their persistence. As the crew prepared to shuttle the remaining passengers, the captain held me back. He wanted more detail about my fear. After telling him that my fear is rooted from an incident during my childhood. I was 11 years old at a summer family gathering. My uncle threw me into the deep end of a swimming pool. I could not swim and had to be saved by someone.
He imparted some life lessons as well…
It was a traumatic experience for me. I took swimming lessons in my early 20s in attempt to overcome my fear of deep water, but only took away a pathetic ability to propel myself it. I cannot float and feel very uneasy if I’m unable to put my feet on the pool or ocean floor.
The captain replied “99% of what we do here involves the water. You’re in the best hands during this trip. Nothing will happen to you.” He imparted some life lessons as well; stating that if I don’t confront my fear, that it will make me regret not having snorkeled and participating in the fun when I remember this trip. He added that not confronting my fear will hinder me in other areas of my life, that I will regret not confronting it, and that I will pass this fear on to my children.
He looked me straight in the eye and ended his case by saying, “Overcome your fear!”
After a bit of thought, and lots of hesitation, I agreed to go snorkeling the next day. It is time for me to confront my fear of water.