Bryan and I are back from our trip to the Whitsundays... and, man, it was an amazing experience. However, getting there was another story. Let me begin...
We had booked a "Lite Saver Package" with an Australian domestic airline called JetStar. This meant that we couldn't check any baggage, but only carry on. So all morning when we were packing we were trying to figure out what we COULD bring and what we COULDN'T (what with the strict airline regulations). So we packed light in our carryon luggage packing only a few things - sunscreen, lotion, shaving gel - with our fingers crossed, praying that they'd make it through so we wouldn't have to spend the extra money.
We got to the airport, no problem.
We checked in at a computer kiosk, no problem.
We got through security, no problem (except Bryan had to go through twice due to the shaving gel, but it made it through perfectly fine).
We were an hour and fifteen minutes early for our flight.
The plane was late, but we got through and boarded, no problem.
We put our carryon luggage in the overhead compartments, no problem..... or so we thought.
As soon as we sat down, and I buckled my seat-belt, one of the stewardesses walked up to us and said that our luggage was too big. What? I've flown with JetStar before, I've carried on this luggage with them before, what's the problem? Apparently it was too big because the luggage had been extended, according to the stewardess. Okay... well... mine wasn't extended, and Bryan could smoosh his down. That wasn't good enough for them, and now the luggage was too heavy, exceeding the 10kg weight limit. How did she know?? She proceeded to remove our luggage from the overhead compartment, asked us for our boarding passes and my phone number. Said she'd talk to another stewardess and come back to us. She brought it to the back of the plane. Then brought it to the front of the plane. I assumed she'd hold it up there for us while we flew... you know... in the section they hold strollers, or wheelchairs or something like that. A minute later a huge man in a neon yellow vest with reflectors on the sides walks up to us and hands us two small tickets that say "RUSH" on them and asks us where we're staying, then tells us we'll receive our luggage tomorrow. WHAT?! Apparently the luggage compartment was already locked, so they couldn't store it in there, and it was too big for the overhead compartment even though I've flown with it as carryon before and it was standard carryon size. Stupid. After freaking out completely, I realized we couldn't walk around in tennishoes and jeans all day tomorrow, so I ran up to the front and grabbed a few things out of the luggage (not even thinking about bathingsuits). What was also wonderful was that we would be out on the water all of the next day with a Reef Tour that we had already booked. So when we arrived in Airlie Beach - which is the city on the mainland that we stayed at for the first three days of our time in the Whitsundays - we had to purchase bathing suits, a beach towel and a few other necessities. So... the first night was interesting, to say the least, and we spent more money than we had anticipated. What more is that we had to pay $25 for our luggage to be transferred to the place we were staying... oh... and it didn't get there until about 10pm the next day (July 3). But the Reef Tour was amazing... and the luggage thing was the only real hitch we had in the trip.
So we'll focus on the good from now on.
Our first trip was aboard the Seaflight - a large tri-level catamaran that went out to Knuckle Reef, a section of the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Our destination was a large pontoon boat situation right on the reef where we could snorkel, view fish from an underwater observatory, ride in a glass-bottom boat, and enjoy the sun on the sun deck. We also got morning and afternoon tea as well as a full buffet lunch. It was going to be a great trip. Little did we know, there was even more that awaited us out on the water...........
more to come...