Breaking News: Water fell from the sky today (editor’s note: this was actually true when I started writing this post… two uh weeks… ago… ). Impossible, you say? Neigh, it is indeed quite possible, for that is the horror I am currently subjected to!

I’m sitting here inside trying to remember the last day I didn’t have to apply sunscreen *Nam flashbacks to the 22-hour flight*

*shudder*

Ya it’s been a while. I can see why fires are a constant concern here. I think we’ve had non-sunny skies maybe a handful of times in the past 7 weeks. It’s actually a nice change to be honest; when it’s sunny and hot everyday you almost feel obligated to spend the whole day on the beach. Being inside for any length of time, regardless of the work you could be doing, seems almost… disrespectful. Yes, it’s a dirty job–

*checks weather in Canada*

-45 in Alberta, freezing rain and power outages in Toronto

Well… Shit.

I think I’ll just move on…

Upon leaving Noosa, Cam and I started to realize we may have made a mistake in our selection of cell phone service providers. Hint: avoid Vodafone. I literally went 3 weeks without signal!

Our first stop post-Noosa was the teeny signal-less town of Rainbow Beach, the access point to our Fraser Island tour. While on the beach the one day there we were relaxing in the sun when a car attempted to drive along the off-road beach trail. Of course when I say “attempted” I mean, “bro got stuuuck”.

Watching the car fruitlessly spin its tires for a minute was painful enough to convince us to go over and help. With a bit of effort, the group of guys that had gathered to help managed to get the car back onto the road – at which point the old couple driving took off like a bat out of hell without a thank you or anything. I’m fairly certain we helped a couple of geriatric bank-robbers escape.

Fraser Island is one of two things the majority of people traveling Australia’s East coast do, and was our first major excursion. Three days and two nights driving 4x4s around the largest sand island in the world, surrounded by shark – infested waters, off-road trails, water-crossings, and, of course, dingos. Oh, and we were driving. And the vehicles had manual transmissions. And, and neither of us have ever driven manual. What could go wrong?!

Surprisingly, the answer to that is, not much, apparently. Cam and I both managed to do quite well our first time driving. Must be some inherent man thing. Either that or we’re just a couple of prime samples of the human race. Probably both.

Anyway, there were 8 of us in the truck, sharing the driving and a supply of food. Hilariously the team name demanded by one of the German girls was “Team Western”. I still don’t think she understands why Cam and I found that so funny. Actually, come to think of it, that language-barrier induced misunderstanding might help explain why she seemed to hate us so much. And by us, I mean me. 😥

Seriously, who could possibly hate me? I mean, Cam? Sure, why not; he’s just awful. But little ol’ me? I’m so full of delightful and inoffensive jokes and good cheer! Madness!

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Somewhere in this picture of Team Western is a DD-hater. Like the mythical Big Foot, there really is such a thing.

The trip itself was awesome, full of some really neat scenery and shenanigans. Here are some of the highlights:
– everyone’s continuous search for dingos
“What was that? I totally saw something move up in the trees!”
“Umm dingos don’t climb trees, dude.”
“Dammit Dave, why you gotta ruin my dreams?”

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We did eventually find some dingos. And thus the heroes lived happily ever after.

– the first night on the island everyone took an evening stroll down to the beach. It was dark enough that you more or less were reliant on the person walking directly in front of you to lead you. I’m sure someone had a flashlight. Definitely. Safety first yo.

The skies were clear that night and once we got to the beach we were treated to a beautiful starry sky. Almost as good as Northern Ontario. Almost.

Fun fact, being in the southern hemisphere means the constellations are upside down from what we’re used to. I’m trying to make a joke about that, but honestly, it’s just really trippy. Something something backwards Australia. Backwards toilets, wrong side of road… I dunno, it’s there somewhere.

Anyway.

– the second night we once again headed down to the beach. This time we noticed that the water was lighting up as people walked through it. This is apparently caused by phosphorescent algae. It was like something out of Life of Pi.

Being entirely serious for a moment, seeing the glow from the algae as we ran through the water was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. And seeing the drunken ocean hookups illuminated by the algae was pretty interesting too.

After our Fraser Island trip wrapped up we headed North to the little town of Agnes Water, known as the place Captain Cook first landed in Australia, and more importantly to us, one of the last places to surf on the east coast.

The further north you head in Australia the greater the risk is of stingers and box jellyfish being in the water. Everyone is scared of sharks, but these things will really mess you up. The beaches also generally become less surfable, so we figured Agnes would be our last opportunity to surf for a little while.

Surfing is a lot of fun, especially now that we’ve progressed past the awkward flopping around on the board like a fish out of water stage. Learning to surf has taught me that you can pretty much expect to get absolutely destroyed by a wave at least once every time you go out there. Getting hit in the face by a large wave is sort of like getting hit with a bucket of water –  No, I don’t mean water thrown from a bucket, I mean water and bucket together right smack in the ear hole – and then being jammed in the spin cycle of a washing machine filled with sand. Needless to say, one of those a day keeps your nose and ears squeaky clean. And bonus! The extra salt in your mouth means yo don’t need to bother adding any to your dinner. Sweet!… Err salty?

While in Agnes we stayed at a small, but really nice hostel called Cool Bananas. One of our days there we got dragged into doing an eco tour with the tag line “Get pampered in paradise!”. Sigh. For science!

We were treated to tales of the local area, shown wildlife and secluded bays, told about Aborigine cooking methods, got slathered in some sort of skin-cleansing mud voodoo magic stuff, and Cam’s personal favourite, told all about the government conspiracies with chem trails and some diabolical plan to control the weather and therefore the world… Or something. He spent much of the day biting his tongue like he thought it had transformed into a nut-free chocolate bar. I pretty much had to stop him from throwing himself from the nearest clifftop in an attempt to escape.
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Voodoo mud, conspiracy theories, and Cam mix to form something nightmares are made from. *shudder*

The owners of the hostel have two black pugs, and they really are cute little buggers – Ignore Cam when he says otherwise – but after a few days of them staring at you when you’re trying to eat your damn dinner I admittedly started getting a little tired of them. It’s unnerving; you’re sitting there minding your own business and enjoying another delightful pasta dinner and then you feel it – like some evil presence lurking in the dark. You look down and BAM the crafty little bastards are sitting at your feet staring up at you, heads turning to follow the fork on its path from plate to mouth. You know what? Unnerving doesn’t even cover it. Damn demon ninja pugs.

Some Other Random Things (S. O. R. T. S.)

– What happens when you mix Australia-strength sunscreen, an ocean swim, a fine silicone sand beach, and an on shore breeze? Something we like to call the Human Schnitzel. You practically need an angle grinder to get the sand off some days

– Agnes Waters for whatever reason has a ton of geckos
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I literally saw one snatch a moth out of mid-air. Bad. Ass.

– I chirped my friend for turning 23. “It’s all downhill from here, grandma!” I then promptly pulled my back surfing. Grumble. Karma.

– Christmas music and decorations in the summer is really really weird. My body is actually deeply confused and I don’t know how to handle it.

– and hey, we finally found kangaroos!
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Next post: Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands, and Christmas in Cairns.

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