After returning from a three-day sailing trip in theWhitsundays, two friends and I planned one last adventure before leaving Queensland.

Realising that one of us had a boat licence, and we all enjoyed Scuba diving, our plan became crystal clear. The idea was to hire a very cheap fishing boat and some Scuba gear and then explore the Whitsundays by ourselves.

Two days later, the three of us launched into the sea with our little yellow tinny, filled to the rim with three days’ worth of petrol, food and dive tanks.

Leaving the harbour at the crack of dawn we decided to hit Whitehaven Beach, a 6km stretch of some of the whitest sand in Australia, before hundreds of backpackers invaded. After a tropical breakfast and some difficulties starting the engine again, we were on our way around Whitsunday Island.

Anchoring between Whitsunday and Hook Island at noon we snorkelled a bit and refilled the petrol tank. We were about to check out Mantaray and Pinnacle Bay, which are some of the best dive sites in the Whitsundays.

Only this time the engine wouldn’t start. So there we were, shipwrecked, floating with the current in the Hook Island Passage.

Luck came fast as a boat from the Hook Island Resort showed up and towed us to the island. The bad news was that the engine was broken and couldn’t be fixed on the island, but the good news was that the owner of the tinny would refund our money and pick us up the next day. So, we set up our tents and got to know the island.

Uninhabited except for a resort, the island has two beaches, one of which is better for diving.

However, it was a few kilometres away and, since we had no working boat, we decided to hike there with all our diving gear.

Exhausted from all the extra weight, but still excited about our Scuba-hiking adventure, we arrived at the beautiful, remote beach and got into the water. 

Now we could finally enjoy being weightless, along with the pristine reef and a profusion of underwater flora and fauna.
After descending, however, my friend found out his equipment was letting water in rather than air!

He went back to the surface, while we continued diving. After finding Nemo and kissing a turtle, we headed up. It was an amazing dive, and on the hike back we glimpsed a huge goana climbing a tree. We topped off the day with a sophisticated drop of red goon during sun set.

Early the next morning, we packed and waited to get picked up. Soon after we were positively surprised to discover the owner of our tinny was a skipper of one of the sailing boats. 

He gave us our money back and offered us dinner and two dives. So, well relaxed and content with our trip so far, we entered the tourist world again; where everything is taken care of. 

We squatted on the sun deck, joining sunburned backpackers who applied make-up between snorkelling sessions.

The boat was a party boat with a bunch of guys wearing bikinis and drinking goon before noon.

We headed to Manta Ray Bay and then back to Whitehaven Beach for some more dives. 

Overwhelmed by the underwater sights, we roasted happily on the sun deck and sailed back, being surprised on our way by humpback whales slapping their tales on the water.

The boat stopped on Daydream Island, but the skipper organised a ferry ride back to the mainland for us. We arrived back at sunset, and looked back on a truly amazing Whitsunday adventure.