Check in time: we spot the friendly SeaLink staff member, Erin, and make a beeline for her desk to hand in our excursion forms and check in. We’re greeted and handed our boarding pass which also doubles as a free drink on board – beer, wine or soft drink (score!).
Once on board, the captain announces himself. Today we’re cruising to Orpheus Island with Captain Jack, Michael, Erin, Danni and Nat. As I haven’t been to Orpheus before, I am quite excited. The weather looks great, and what do you know? The water is as smooth as glass – the Reef Cat glides through like butter being spread on a Bunnings sausage. Captain Jack tells us the day's schedule and invites us to sit back and relax while we cruise, but to keep an eye out for whales! This has half the boat with their eyes peeled on the horizon.
And there they are – WHALES! We can’t believe our luck. Not only is the weather fantastic, we've now spotted whales. The Reef Cat's purr lures the whales closer as we’ve shut down as a safety precaution. The very knowledgeable Captain Jack enlightens us all on humpback whales as they begin to play around the boat. The crowd oohs and aahs, I jokingly mention to my friend that I bet they're under the water joking about putting on a show for us. Before we know it, like synchronised swimming in the Olympics, two teen humpbacks spy hop in perfect unison. The crowd goes wild!
Once Wally and Juniper (self-named) finished showing off and playing near the boat, it was onward to our destination, Orpheus Island. But first, lunch. Oh boy, was it delicious – a mix of BBQ goodness to fill us up before arriving.
Moored and ready to explore, we get off and decide to head for the beach – we’re the kind of people who like to just lay on the beach and bask in the sunshine. If you're wanting a guided tour, please know Orpheus Island is completely self-guided so you can spend your time leisurely exploring or snorkelling.
As we lie in the sunshine, other travellers wander the beach, explore the surrounds or have a quick snooze under the shade of a palm. It's such a relaxing day. Being the middle of winter (and North Queenslanders) we're sceptical of going in the water, but once you brave that first initial freeze factor, the water is beautiful. While Island fringing reefs don’t exactly compare to being out at the reef, you still see an array of marine life, including your friendly neighbourhood sea cucumber!
Back on board for the journey home and it's as if the crew knows I’ve expended all my energy and need a pick me up. Afternoon tea – a platter of cheeses, salamis and sweet goods – are served, and we devour them happily.
As if the day can't get any better, that big beautiful orange ball in the sky puts on one last show as we cruise home. What a great day!
- Written by our travel staff member Shawnee who was on board as a passenger
SeaLink's next Orpheus Island day tour departs August 5th. Book today online!