05 September 2009

What a Day for a Daydream!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

It was blissful to be able to sleep in this morning, until it occurred to me that we had no idea what time we would be expected to check out!  I have learned that Down Under, check out time is usually 10 AM, compared to around noon in the States, and check in time is generally 2 PM, as opposed to 4 PM at home, so when I was finally feeling like being agile, mobile, and not the least bit hostile, it was almost check out time!  Rex was able to buy me enough time to shower and get ready, and then we went down to Capers (remember the bar/restaurant where we found the night clerk for the hotel?) to have our complimentary brekky.  After some fruit salad, toast (with teeny little packets of vegemite!), and tea, on the patio, we were ready when our taxi arrived to take us to Abel Point Marina for our ride over to Daydream Island.

In the daylight, Airlie Beach was very similar to some of our NC beaches – there were even some shops that reminded me of the ubiquitous Waves!  I have to say that the water is prettier here, though.  Houses were built practically on top of each other going up the hill behind our hotel.  It was a short ride to the marina, and our luggage was whisked away and Rex got our launch tickets while I did a little people watching and photo taking.  It was the most mellow Sunday morning I’ve had in a long time, and before we were even on the launch, I was recalculating our itinerary.  By the time we boarded the boat and headed out to the Whitsunday Islands, I knew that we would be bagging the train (unless we absolutely couldn’t get out of it) and spending an extra night here!

For those of you who have been to Hawai’i, multiply it by about 10 and you have the Whitsundays.  Seventy-four tropical islands, about the same distance below the equator that Hawai’i is above it, make up this island fantasy!  Blue, green, and blue-green waters, sandy shores, coral beaches, palm trees – this is my idea of paradise, hands down!  Most islands are either not inhabited or sparsely inhabited, so there is very little to spoil anything.  As we approached Daydream Island, we realized that the resort and the staff accommodations were all that were on the whole island!  What more could you want?  By now I was sure we would be staying here longer!

As we pulled into the slip, a band serenaded us from the dock and we were greeted with a necklace of shells and a tropical drink.  Pinch me now!  I used up our remaining internet time booking plane tickets and cancelling train tickets while Rex made sure that we could have a room for another night.  Once those details were arranged, I made my spa appointment (supposedly one of the best spas in Australia was here!) and we were off to explore.   DDI has two large living coral reefs filled with fish, coral, stingrays, sharks, starfish, anemones, and more – I wasn’t sure I would make it to the pool because I was so entranced by the reef pools.  But it was getting on in the afternoon, so off we went, in search of lunch and of sunshine!

We had sandwiches at Mermaids, the nicest of the restaurants here on DDI.  Rex had a hamburger (and he even ate the beetroot that is a staple burger condiment here) and fries, while I had a chicken sandwich with avocado and onion jam.  It was tasty, especially the bread, which was a good thing, since there was way more bread than chicken!  Let’s just say the setting and the views far outweighed our first meal here!  I did enjoy my beer though – I tried a honey wheat brew called Beez Neez and loved it.  We simply delighted in the sunshine and watched the birds take care of any leftovers.  There is a bird here called the kerlew, which is a protected species but pretty much of a pest.  They strut around on long skinny legs like they own the place, and they will flat wake you up squawking!  We chatted with our server for a while – she’s from Canada and is in Australia on a year-long work visa, and this is her eighth month here.  What a plum job she has!  The staff can live on the island for about $60 a week (!) and they can run, swim, dive, snorkel, whatever when they are not working.  How great is that?  Live in paradise and get paid for it!

After our rather late lunch, we sat by the pool and read until the sun started setting – on the other side of the island!  So we followed it down to the aptly named Sunset Beach and watched the light on the water.  The temperature got a little cool for me once the sun was gone, so we started back to our room.  I turned the corner on the path and came face to face with about a dozen kangaroos!!  Or so I thought – evidently they were wallabies, but they were cute all the same!  And right in front of us!  What a treat!

On the way back to the room, we stopped again at the reef and watched the fish.  We must have been standing at the place where they get fed, because the rays came gliding right up to us and ‘waving’ at us with their wings (?)  They were humongous!!  So fun to watch – I was mesmerized.  We got settled in – our room was done up in tropical blues and aquas with sunny yellow accents, and we had plenty of space – a king size bed and a sofa and sitting area which opened up via a wall of windows to a beachfront garden (that would be yard for those of you in the States) with a table and chairs on the patio.   We cleaned up a bit for dinner – we had made the latest reservations possible back at Mermaids, but that still had us eating at 8:30.  Clearly Daydream is not the party island, which was fine with us – we just wanted a little fun in the sun time!  Dinner was back on the patio and was not a lot to write about.  I had a nice risotto, wild mushroom I think, and Rex is for some reason unable to remember a meal he only ate a couple of weeks ago!!  I’m pretty sure he had barramundi – I know it was some kind of fish.

We had a big day ahead of us – a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef!! – so we called it a night and I dreamed of fish and the deep blue sea!

Don’t wake me up from this dream life!


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