As we headed further South, the weather forecast was iffy but we nevertheless decided to stop at Arlie beach, the base to take off from for the Whitsunday islands. The Whitsunday group of 74 islands are located off north-eastern Queensland and from this archipelago sandy fringes, the ocean spreads towards the horizon in beautiful shades of every blue you can imagine. The big star attraction of the numerous stunning beaches is Whitehaven beach, renowned worldwide for its pure silica sand. So pure and fine, you can apparently clean your jewelry with it or even polish your teeth. We arrived in Arlie Beach late in the afternoon and right away set off to book a tour for the next day. The guy at the tour office answered all the questions we asked about the different possible outfits and confirmed a spot for us the next morning with a company called Ocean Rafters. We didn’t choose to go sailing or a live aboard as this was just for the day, mainly to see Whitehaven. It rained that evening and we crossed our fingers it would get it out of its system by morning. We woke to partly sunny skies and were picked up by the tour company’s driver and taken to the pier where the boats where lined up ready to go. We had a great skipper and first mate who joked with everyone while going through the day’s itinerary and safety items. The skipper admitted the snorkeling stop we were making as our first stop was going to be quite underwhelming due to recent rain and large tidal swings, but James gave it a look anyway. There were no underwater pictures from that stop – pretty much explains the conditions. The next stop was the north end of famous Whitehaven Beach where we jumped off the boat and hiked up to the lookout. Above and below: north end of Whitehaven beach. Above and below: views of Whitehaven beach looking south from the lookout. Below: what the inlet above can look like at low tide. We hit it at a rather high tide and after rains, but still gorgeous. We all then hiked down to the other side of the island, climbed back onboard, and motored the 7km length of the beach to the southern end where we anchored. Our skipper and first mate prepared lunch, and we all stuffed ourselves and then played beached whales for the next two hours, enjoying the view. Being winter, the air and water temperature were less than steamy but we swam a bit anyway. Above: we found some goannas lazing around the picnic area looking for scraps and warming up in the sun.