The Solo Challenge Posted by Ryan Brennan - 11 July 2016 This was my second visit to the beautiful Whitsundays and Hamilton Island. My first trip was a romantic getaway shared with my equally beautiful partner - and probable reader of this article. This time around we each wanted to spend a bit more time doing some of the activities, which we simply didn’t have time to get to before. Our ideas on activities were a little different. My partner had booked herself in for a few hours of rest and relaxation at Spa wumurdaylin and then some retail therapy. Meanwhile, after careful deliberation, I’d decided on three energetic activities that I knew would keep me active and entertained. And off I headed for some fun! Windsurfing Excitingly, the group was told there was a prize on offer if any of us could stand upright throughout the whole Windsurfing lesson and not fall off. On offer was an ice-cream. An underwhelming prize for someone older then ten-years-old? Maybe, but it needn’t matter. It could have been one of the luxury yachts moored in the Hamilton Island Marina and I still wouldn’t have stood a chance of getting it. In fact, the chances of me or anyone else not born with Velcro on the soles of their feet and the balance of a mountain goat actually staying upright on the board for the whole hour long lesson was slim. No one was winning an ice-cream today. David, the friendly Hamilton Island instructor set about guiding the group through our lesson. He got us onto the boards and into the beautiful waters of Catseye Beach, giving us instructions as we fumbled around with a sport that combines the mental thought processes of sailing a yacht (wind direction, tacking, gybing etc.) with the balance and athleticism of surfing. He offered words of encouragement, thoughtful advice and displayed the patience of a saint, as we challenged ourselves to become windsurfers. I’d listened, I’d learnt, and I’d spent some time practising and then, a ‘tepid squall’ came through and I was away. What a rush!! Brief but magical and tremendous fun. So many water sports to choose from and I select wind surfing. Golf Driving Range With my thigh muscles spent, it was time to move onto an activity that kept me more firmly on terra firma. A short, five-minute buggy ride over to the other side of the island you’ll find the Hamilton Island Driving Range. It has a beautiful view out to Dent Island, where the golfing main event lies, which you can read about here . I was given a set of quality clubs retired from the Hamilton Island Golf Club and it was time for me to try my damnedest to drive some golf balls. To add to the challenge there are strategically placed buckets set at different distances from the driving tee, which you should aim to land your golf ball in. Easy right? Err… No! If I’d managed to get a ball in at the 225metre bucket I would’ve won myself a free Jet Ski tour. I discovered that 225 metres is a long way and it was lucky I’d already paid for and organised my Jet Ski tour prior to arriving. No bucket 'holes in one' for me. My shiny golf clubs make me feel like a pro. Jet Ski Tour With my arms feeling like my thighs, and having established I’m at least a better driver of golf balls than I am a surfer of wind, I buggied myself to the marina where the Hamilton Island Jet Ski Tour departs from. Affable tour leader Corey, who almost seemed, as if he was bred to work at Hamilton Island with the tan, golden hair and the no worries attitude, got the group of us brave souls (keep reading, you’ll understand why I call us that) up to speed with the where’s, how’s and why’s and gave us the requisite safety briefing. There were 3 single riders, and two couple riders in the group sharing our five, Kawasaki jet skis. We weaved slowly through the moored boats and yachts. Out through the marina heads, and then… SPEED, lots and lots of speed. We followed behind our tour leader single file, so as not to ding our brand new jet ski’s or ourselves. We zoomed across to Dent Reef and then to Plum Pudding Island. Note: Without getting too much into the physics of it all, Corey had explained at the briefing that the faster we went, the more stable the jet skis were, so without pushing ourselves beyond our own limits, we should try to keep the skis at full throttle. With the speedometer at 58km/h, we whistled around qualia at the northern end of Hamilton Island and veered south taking Fitzalan Passage between Whitsunday Island and Hamilton Island. The swell was about 4 foot. That mightn’t sound like much but I can assure you 4 foot + 58km/h = some serious airtime. We circled around to the edge of Hamilton Island reef and cut the engines to take in the sights and listen to some local trivia (which we also got at each location from Corey, who knew lots of interesting facts). This also gave the two pillion passengers a chance to slide themselves back onto the seat of the jet ski. See… I told you ‘brave souls’ was the appropriate descriptor! I arrived back to the marina with the remainder of my muscles in spasm. Unsurprisingly though, the sorest muscles of all were the ones in my face, the ones that controlled my smile! Jet skiing around Hamilton Island. Photo: @Astrid_olivia It didn’t occur to me until later that afternoon while I was sipping a cocktail watching the sunset at One Tree Hill, that I had in fact created a challenge for myself today. A challenge I’d failed dismally at, but a challenge none the less and one I’m keen to try and conquer when next I find myself at Hamilton Island. The challenge, should you choose to accept it: Win yourself an ice-cream Score yourself a free jet ski tour (or accept that you’re not Tiger Woods and pre-book using proper currency) Take the tour - full throttle Your reward awaits! Photo by: @j_party_yg About the Author Ryan is a non-professional golfer whose poor workmanship with the putter is only rivaled by his poor workmanship with the pen. Nonetheless, beautiful destinations inspire him to persevere with both.