Friday, 19 November 2010

How time flies!?!

Well, it appears to be November 19th...where have the last 14 days gone since I last checked in?!? I shall try my best to tell you...
So right now we're in Noosa, which is very posh, and not at ALL in keeping with the general Queensland "look", so that's a relief (ha ha)...and since the last time I tapped away at the blog we've sailed around the Whitsunday Islands, had a surf lesson in Agnes Water, and driven a 4x4 round Fraser Island, so we've certainly been busy! And all whilst trying to dodge the rain, sometimes in the most unsuccessful fashion, such as with our Whitsundays trip. When we booked it, it was gloriously hot and sunny on Magnetic Island, which is north, so we thought that we'd be okay...oh dear, how wrong we were. In fact we almost gave up on our deposit for the trip and cancelled as the weather in Airlie Beach was just dire (we got so absolutely SOAKED walking into the town that I stood and wrung out my trousers on the street...bad times) but we went in the end...and had a great time, but very much in spite of the weather! One girl was chucking up over the side about 15 minutes after we left the bloomin' harbour (?!) but it wasn't THAT bad, she just hadn't noshed down on the sea-sickness tablets like I had (thank god!). Although lunch on the second day was "interesting": every tried serving yourself from a buffet whilst on a see-saw? Well we now have a pretty good idea of how THAT goes down, and it includes some Irish girl's elbow arriving into your plate and then the entire Irish girl ending up on your lap. Fun fun fun!
So our view of the islands was often hindered by the rain and mist, and our last meal was frequently about to make a second appearance, but there was a great bunch of people on board, and the weather did give us a break when we went to the famous Whitehaven Beach, where the sand is pure white and the water is turquoise. We frolicked in the crashing waves, all dressed up in our "sexy" stinger-suits (think sea-faring body stockings) and made sand castles, so that was super good fun : )
We also licked the asses (literally that is) of some green ants, which tasted surprisingly of very tangy citrus lemon/lime, so that was nice too!
The final day of our sailing trip (3 days and 2 nights on board) the sun came out, which was a relief, and it was all put down to the fact that one of the girls had had two bananas stashed on board, which had been revealed and promptly thrown over board the night before: apparently it's bad luck to have bananas on board boats, as in the "olden times", if they were being transported by sea they would ripen and then rot everything else, which is of course a downer. But then to top it off, the gasses they produced when THEY rotted would kill everyone on board...which is a totally bad day for all involved, obviously. It's also bad luck to have women on boats, so the female owned bananas were a double whammy for our little boat trip: no WONDER it rained, eh?
After our trip we went for some wonderfully rowdy drinks with all our fellow sailors, which set us up perfectly for an overnight bus journey to Agnes Water, 10 hours away. I'll be honest with you, it wasn't the BEST night's sleep I've ever had, but it certainly beat the Boston-Montreal trip where we had to go through customs at 3am.
Agnes Water was a lovely, tiny place, and my goodness, the sun was shining! "In Australia?!" I hear you cry, "Never!" But lo, it was so, and it was good.
As here was the place to have the cheapest surf lesson in Oz ($17 for 3 hours) we joined the rabble and threw ourselves at increasingly meaty waves and various unwitting children for the morning. Chris got the hang of it rather well, and can now wade out there with something like a surfer's jaunt and have a crack at the surf without embarrassing himself too much. I on the other hand, did not get on too well, especially as our uber-bleached, leathery instructor forgot to mention that re-applying the sunscreen to the legs and arms was NOT a good idea: is the surfing equivalent of laying out a load of banana skins and running at them with wild abandon (bananas again, clearly evil), so after already being a bit crap, I became even more handicapped in the surfing stakes, and had a bit of a pout. I may try again in future, but I shall be FULLY wet-suited up (including hood and shoes methinks) and will do it where there aren't 1000 other people in the water.
Just down the road from Agnes Water is the lovely, even smaller Town of 1770 (when it was discovered/settled), population, 56. A beautiful place to get away from all the other travellers, and on our 2 hour walk back along the beach, we came across a sea turtle on the beach, which was amazing. Unfortunately the group of people who'd come across it first had scared it, so it had abandoned its quest to lay eggs up the beach. and was huffing and puffing its way back into the sea. We stopped to look at it from a discreet distance and took some pics, until the guy from the other group told us to go away because WE were scaring it...erm, I think that may have been YOU with your DOG and FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY mate, but hey, who can tell what goes through the head of a sea turtle?! (He certainly thought he did, the chump.)
We then moved on to Hervey Bay, where we were to go on our tour of Fraser Island, which is a large island completely formed out of sand, yet rainforest grows abundantly on the sand, which is an anomaly as sand doesn't have the nutrients that soil does, plus there are perched freshwater lakes, and creeks of freshwater that bubble up from the sand: a truly amazing and stunningly beautiful place. But also a very dangerous place where people (like us) had been regularly maiming and killing themselves in their 4x4's because they didn't understand the driving conditions and the nature of the land. Therefore it is now law that you have to be guided on the island, either by being driven, or by following a guide and driving yourself, which is what we did...which was AWESOME!!! Driving through soft sand, on hard wet sand, through water, along bumpy winding inland roads: happy times : )  Again we had a great group, only 9 people (instead of the 24 it can be) and the best guide: a real aussie "bloke", with the foulest mouth and even fouler jokes and totally un-"pc" opinions, but an absolute sweetheart at the same time! He cooked us awesome meals, and managed to avoid all the other tour groups so that each amazing spot we visited was practically deserted. And man, was it just one of the most beautiful places: HIGHLY recommend it!!! And woop woop it was HOT and sunny the whole time: bliss : )  The only downer: the flesh eating flies. The buggers pestered us all day, and were bloody HUGE, their trick being to stab you with a sharp nose spike, and then use little pincers on the end of that to pluck a little lump of flesh from you for their lunch: an evil "grabber hand" type action that by golly was sore! They did however go away at night, so that was a relief. You were then awoken in the morning by them trying to get at your head THROUGH the tent fabric!!!
Anyway, I have to wrap up now as it's time for din-dins, but Fraser Island was definitely the highlight of Australia so far, plus got a wicked tan out there ; ) Tomorrow we're off to Australia Zoo, even though it's apparently not what it used to be...but we don't know what it was like before, so will see for ourselves  : )
Until next time, keep away from those bananas, and be thankful that your flies are all dead for the winter! X

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