There is just something about putting your address as: Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef, QLD. People spend ridiculous amounts of money to stay on the island, and we got to live there for next to nothing.
Hayman has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and I hate that it had to end the way it did (but I'll get to that later). I also wish I had of started this blog while I was there so it was more detailed, but alas I didn't so it's going to be brief. This blog is more for my future travels over seas, which will be in the not to distant future.
Hayman was great from day one. While everyone was being taken on a tour by their respective department managers, mine took me back to his place to have a couple of brews with some of the team and some other managers (which he assures me is the first and last time that has ever happened). He also gave me the next two days off to settle into the island.
Our team was great, I fit straight in and hands down we were the tightest and strongest team on the island. We worked hard, but we partied even harder. I was working in Event Operations, so it was basically the same work I was doing at the Paladium at Crown, with the same high standards. I'd been doing this work for three years already so it was second nature for me.
The key to not going stir crazy on the island is to make the most of it. I was living on a tropical island, it would have been ridiculous to stay inside all day on my days off. I explored the walking trails, went on drop offs to neighbouring islands and back beaches of Hayman (Langford Island, Bali Hai [Black Island], Blue Pearl II etc.). On the drop offs you can either sit around on the beach drinking, explore the island a bit, go snorkeling or a mixture of all three. I saw some of the most beautiful coral snorkeling in these spots and have also swam with giant turtles and around some amazing fish.
There is also cruises to take advantage of and annual parties, such as the white haven beach party, which was one of the best days I had while in the Whitsundays. Not to mention you can wake board or go tubing, go on helicopter rides, kayaking, game fishing or just take advantage of the cocktails at a bar in the resort or going out to dinner in one of the restaurants, all of which you can do at a fraction of what the guests have to pay. Wow I'm starting to sound like a recruitment officer.
Which brings me to the staff bar, where most people spend their hard earned money. One of the only things to do at night. The bar could be a bit hit and miss, especially when I first got there, if it was busy one night, you could all but guarantee it would be dead the next. But as it got closer to the festive season the bar became busier and busier. You could always count there would be a big night on: pay day, birthdays, going away parties and the theme nights the social club put on every so often. The staff bar became my second home (my first was work and third was my room), I spent many a night and pay check down there, met some amazing people and had some great times there.
Like everyone I had my highs and lows on the island. I had a number of relationships that didn't work out, but living on an island it's hard not to be civil and become friends after all is said and done (unless of course you got fucked over). In one situation I have become best friends with the ex and I'm even heading over to NZ for her 21st. A lot of people have come and gone on the island (such is island life) but you meet so many people, from so many walks of life, it defiantly opens your eyes to the rest of the world and changes your opinions on a lot of things, not only that but it can only benefit me in my upcoming travels, not to mention I have made friends with a number of people who I will remain in contact with for the rest of my life.
My best memory of the island would have to have been my 'room mates' birthday (I say 'room mate' as he all but lived with his girlfriend so I had a room to myself). The initial plan was to game fishing in the morning, so a group of us all got up at around 6am, only to find out we got bumped for guests. So what else would we do but buy a couple of cases of beer and drink by the corner store for a couple of hours. We decided we would hire two dingys and take them out to Bali Hai. So we packed up an esky or two full of beer, managed to get a lift down for the 12 of us to the pontoon and headed out to Bali Hai. We finished all the beer out there, then headed down to Cook Island, but it seemed way too shallow to make it in so we headed to Langford Island instead. Once our time was up we headed back in and got another lift back to the village. We all showered up, got changed and recruited a few more people to head to Beach Pavilion which was one of the lunch outlets in the resort which specialised in cocktails. We got a small bite to eat and got stuck right into the cocktails.After the cocktails it was time to hit the bar. Now by this time it was around 6pm, and we had started drinking at 6am with an hour break in the middle so a few people were getting a little drunk by this stage.
The bar went off. It was packed and everyone (who wasn't already) was getting written off. Of course the birthday boy had to get cut off, then kicked out, which followed closely by someone else getting kicked out. So we decided to take the party down to the staff beach. Now I've seen people try this before with no real success, but I kid you not, every single person that was in that bar/beer garden headed down to the beach when the bar closed (11pm). I walked back past the bar to get some beer from home at 11.05 and the only people in the beer garden were the staff (the beer garden is open 24/7 for the staff to drink in). The beach was pure insanity, people everywhere, half of them went skinny dipping at one point. The Hakka was performed at one stage and there was speeches and all. I believe I was carried home at around 4am, only to wake up to one of the worst hangovers I have ever experienced in my life. But it was worth every second of it.
Which brings me to getting NBOed (Next Boat Off aka being fired). I was terminated on December 16th, 1 day over 7 months, now I don't want to go into great detail about it, but I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the situation would have turned out a lot worse if I wasn't there. But that's the way the cookie crumbles. The part that hurts the most is I was just about to be promoted to supervisor and I won an Outstanding Achiever Award that night at the quarterly awards dinner (well I would have if I was still on the island) not to mention I was planing on staying another 8-12 months. But the worst thing for me was having to say goodbye to everyone and pack my things up in 4 hours. This was the hardest thing for me, leaving with no closure and no chance to say goodbye properly to people. About 30 people turned up to the corner store to send me off, many which came out of work to do so. That night I stayed in Airlie Beach where a number of friends were already and we tore the town up as my NBO party. Was a crazy night and a nice send off. The next day I stayed on Hamilton Island. Four people came over and we caught up with a couple of people who had recently left Hayman to go work there. We went out for dinner and then had a few night caps back in our room. Was good seeing them all again before I had fly back to Melbourne.
It took me almost two weeks back in Melbourne before I stopped hating Melbourne. Don't get me wrong I love Melbourne, but I was by no means ready to be back in the real world. After I got over the slight depression and missing the island and the people there, I started having a blast, which brings me to the present day. Right now I'm still in holiday mode, about to start the next chapter of my life.