We left Darwin several hours late due to waiting for a communications part damaged by all the winds we’d been having. By the afternoon of the next day we travelled through the Torres Strait which has the same depth as the QM2. However, the tide was high enough to float us through. The following day the weather got better and it was a pleasure to look out at land rather than sea. It is much more mountainous and green than we had imagined.
Late afternoon March 5th, there was a call for the medical team at one of the restaurants. Within the hour, the captain broadcast that we needed to keep away from all outside decks as the emergency helicopter would arrive shortly. It came in on the starboard side (our cabin is on starboard) and picked up the passenger, although without landing. From out viewpoint it was difficult to see how they got winched off. Given the average age of the passengers, it is genuinely surprising this doesn’t happen more.
Early March 6th we arrived just off Airlie Beach near Whitsunday Island and dropped anchor.
We had booked to go snorkelling on Hardy Reef within the Great Barrier Reef Park. The boat picked us up from the ship and took us the 100 Km (at 40 kts) to pontoon platforms they have there. Unhappily because of our hacking coughs we didn’t feel it was safe or advisable to snorkel. We did take the “sub” out over the reef but it sure isn’t the same as snorkelling. On the sub, just to make the case that we shouldn’t go snorkelling, poor Bob had trouble breathing in his surgical mask at the same time as he had a hacking coughing fit—-effectively sucking and blowing at the same time. Some very interesting noises were produced! Unhappily for us, other than lunch, there wasn’t a lot else to do so we had a lot of down time.
The trip back was nice though—we saw many sailboats in lovely anchorages along the way.