Bush Turkey Battles

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We set off from Marlborough early, well even early by our standards and were on the road by about 5:45. We were trying to get to the Town of 1770. The town is so called because it was found in the year of 1770 by Captain Cook, well that is a well thought out town name. It only has about 50 houses but was the place where we thought we had agreed our free Great Barrier Reef trip from. We headed out of Marlborough on the lookout for the Roo's and Wallabies we thought we would be able to see, but again whenever we are armed with the camera and an open road with no traffic there are none to be seen.

We headed on through the cattle territory and arrived at Rockhampton which describes itself as a little bit of city and a whole lot of country and stakes its claim to the beef capital of Australia (get it!!! Steakes its claim.... eh!) apparently there are 2 million cattle within a 250km radius of Rockhampton no less we had a quick wander about then headed off to Gladstone where we decided to update the blog via a Mcdonalds fill up again with cheap petrol, do some shopping and post our random collection of notes and coins collected over the last few months back to the UK for safe keeping with Erica’s dad who is no doubt excited at reviewing our ever expanding and interesting collection. Oh and of course we had to see the main tourist sights in the Lonely planet, namely the large Power Station and Bauxite works, mmmm nice. Our shopping today seemed to focus on chicken thighs again, with 40% off they were down to almost $5 per kilo which is cheaper than full fat steak mince, no doubt the quality standards said something like "reared in a small cage where the animal just had enough space to breath. The animal has had copious amounts of growth hormones and has been overfed to epic proportions that it slowly exploded causing a cruel and painful but very cheap death. There has then had many litres of water injected into each thigh". Whilst it is a bit far-fetched our home lives of ethical shopping, buying and paying more for animal welfare products is a long way away..... If only Australia was cheap!! Erica edit: We still can’t bring ourselves to buy battery hen eggs though, I have hesitated around the egg shelves but then checked myself and thought how ridiculous I was being!

At the filling station I was convinced I was at pump number 3 so when I entered the shop and told her pump 3, she looked at me blankly and suggested I meant pump 2, I confirmed that was not the case and told her I was at pump 3. She quickly pointed out she had worked there for 25 years and there had never ever been a pump 3 so in an entertained manner I laughed at her suggesting that no wonder my girlfriend told me I was practically blind it was indeed the vehicle parked over there with Zombie Brain Eaters written down the side, in a rather un amused retort she suggested I should not be in control of a vehicle in that case and was considering reporting our plate to the police. We left pretty quickly.

From Gladstone we headed straight over towards the peninsular of 1770 and Agnes Water, more great scenery and I saw a couple of Emu’s at one point, Erica’s eyesight was that bad she didn’t spot them (then again she said she saw a camel the other day a creature I did not know inhabited Australia but she convinced me she saw it so I am proved wrong again). Erica edit:  It wasn’t just one they were in a herd in a field, one humped ones I’m sure of it.

We finally arrived at 1770 and could not find any free camping potential we saw a couple we were chatting to the other day at a beachfront campsite but they wanted $32 a night so we decided to explore the estates and back roads looking for an out of the way spot to free camp. Around Agnes Water beach we found a national park type area which had a sign suggesting it was a campsite and you should park where you can then if the warden found you there he would take your cash, if the warden didn’t roll up you could leave without paying. It was only $5 a night each anyway so we pulled up and started to get set up, and then wow these huge mosquitos were everywhere trying to bite us. I left the Lady with the washing up a stove and some pasta while I went to let the tour company know we had arrived in town as discussed and were ready to commence work tomorrow cleaning boats or toilets or whatever we needed to do.

After a bit of hunting about I was told that I had been added to the workers list, “list?” I enquired thinking that this was already a done deal, it turned out it was a done deal to be added to the list but it may take a week or so for my rota before I could get my free trip. We simply didn’t have the time to wait around for a week so after a bit of too’ing and fro’ing on price I hedged my bets sticking to my guns that the theory of diminishing returns would come into play and if there were still spaces the next morning as the boat was leaving they would accept my two for one offer.

I headed back to camp and found the lady in a right panic, she was being eaten alive, there was nowhere to wash up, the toilets stunk like Glastonbury and the shrub turkeys were trying to steal all our food. Of course in my usual understanding manner I declared her lazy and incompetent which as always she took with the manner it was intended ..... the second word was off but it began with p not f in case you thought that badly of her. I sat down and started to cook and within 5 minutes was being eaten alive and the shrub turkeys (or bush turkeys or whatever they were called) were causing mayhem trying to get in the back of the van and in our bag of pasta only 0.5m away, then another would chase it away at light speed and it would start to attack. Erica wanted out and wanted to go to the beachside luxury camping grounds, something I was not prepared to do.

All of a sudden the mozzies started to slow down, the wine flowed I had a large stick and a pile of stones to keep the turkeys at bay and finally we were content. The only panic I had was when the turkeys kept attacking an unmanned site set up I kept trying to chase them off and would see the turkey create carnage and escape with a babybell (why on earth out of all the things on offer a turkey would choose babybell (consistently about 9 out of 10 times) over Dairylea slices, crackers or any of the other bits, with a rind of wax and packaging to remove I still have no idea, however I am in the process of sending the video footage off to Babybell for a new marketing campaign.

I did however have to change into my long troosers and put on todays purchase of a red jumper from Big W in the sale for $5 (about 3). I didn’t remove the tags labels or clear sticker saying SIZE L across the front in case it got splashed by the cooking or didn’t fit properly (much to Erica’s amusement). I have criticised the UK ladies for shopping and returned about 70% of their purchases as it didn’t fit them, however desperate times call for desperate measures. (Erica edit: And you wonder why Woolworths went to the wall in the UK?) The people who’s camp was savaged by the turkeys came back and I wandered over to explain what had happened, they were gutted, it was a little odd though as the woman kept rubbing my shoulders and patting my head when I said I had been trying to chase them off, she was speaking quite slowly and treated me like I was quite simple, Erica later suggested that with my tags and stickers all over my jumper she probably thought I was a little simple. We ate our chicken thigh satay and pasta heaped with garlic and sat up late drinking.  In reality it was about 8:30pm when we went to bed just how weird does it seem but when it’s been dark for hours and you are always tired because you’re awake at 5:45 it kind of works and everyone does the same. In my naked state I woke up in the middle of the night so cold, so very very cold I thought I had hypothermia or something I check the thermometer and it was 10 degrees, ouch when it gets that cold doesn’t it mean bits start falling off you or you are back in the UK. Never again tomorrow night I will be fully clothed with the new jumper on.
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