. Woo and Wang ended up becoming part of "Korea", the six person team of Koreans who tended to disappear right as we were trying to hit the road and had a habit of falling asleep in the cars. the other four in the group came from car two. They didn't tell us their real names, but became known as MK, KM, MJ, and Ricki. Also in car two were the other English couple, Andy and Chrissie, who could have been a comedy team they played off each other so well. Chrissie kept Andy in line and Andy kept Chrissie laughing. And thent here were the welshies, Anouska and Joni, the hard core couple. If they weren't climbing something, snorkeling, or gettign totally wasted, they were laughing hysterically at a shared joked. so there we all were that first night in Hervey, strangers trying to figure out a shopping list over a couple of beers, curious and excited about the days to come.
The next day, after the introduction to our car and a trip to the grocery store, we found ourselves at the ferry super early. And being the smart people we are, we decided to wait to get in line so that we would be the first ones off the ferry when we landed at Fraser. The next thing we knew, we were being yelled at for not getting in the 10:15 line by a very rude lady we dubbed the Ferry Nazi. But it didn't matter. Our plan had worked, we were the last to board and the first ones to touch the sands of Fraser Island
. And off we went, bumping down teh sand "road" to Lake Wabi, the guys hittig their heads on the roof and me wishing I had a more supportive bra on. To better understand the roads let me explain Fraser a little better. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in australia, and maybe the world. There are only major rocks in three places, everything else is sand. And somehow growing in all this sand is a rainforest, and through this rainforest run little soft sand tracks that hav been totally torn apart by tour buses and other 4wds. So when we finally emerged from the car at Lake Wabi with sore butts, heads, and in my case, sore boobs, I think we were all ready for the walk to the lake. And then we started to walk the longest 2 km of our lives. Whenever we asked a hiker coming back from the lake how much furthur it was, they all smiled knowingly and replied "a wee bit" or "almost there" or "just fifteen more minutes". W were 15 minutes away for about half an hour. Finally we arrived at the much anticipated lake, ran across the hot sand and jumped in the water ready to be refreshed. You would imagine our surprise when the water end up being murky and warm as bath water. But at least there was the huge sand dune that ended at the water's edge, perfect for sandboarding. Ready for a thrill and determined to make the hike worthwhile, I grabbed the piece of cardboard someone had lef therer and ran up the dune, scorching my feet to hte point that i was afraid I'd get real 2nd degree burns or something
. But I knew it would totally be worth it! Sandboarding is awesome! As everyone watched from below, I sat on the cardboard as if it were a sled and pushed off..and moved an inch. Ok, it's not steep enough, I thought, scooting down a little furthur, then i repositioned, scooting some more. I heard laughter from below and shouted suggestions. At this point I knew I wasn't going anywhere, but I did not walk 2 Ks and burn my feet climbing up the stupid dune for nothing, damn it! I scooted down about halfway, determined to get something out of my hard work. Finally, giving up, and with the bottoms of my suit fileld with sand, I ran the rest of the way down, splashing into the bathwater of Lake Wabi. And then, to my dismay, I saw a guy who was with the group of Mexicans also at the lake, run up to my discarded cardboard, and dive face first onto it. He proved to be more slick than the sled and ended up sliding down the hill about two feet with his face in the sand. But he didn't stop there. Repositioning the cardboard, he did it AGAIN!! He was thus named "the crazy mexican guy" and would haunt us the rest of the trip. We soon decided to move on, set up camp, and visit Eli Creek, guarenteed to be the coldest water ever, which definitely sounded good to all of us! Eli Creek is a fast moving creek coming from somewhere in the depths of Fraser and pouring out into the ocean. At first glance it looked like an overcrowded, over-rated stream, but ended up being one of our favorite spots on the island
. That first night, after floating down it, and seein the crazy mexican guy dive into it and splash his way down it, we relaxed by its banks drinking beer chilled in its current. That night we got to really know each other over a sausage dinner and night of drinking games. it was during these festivities that "choka", a Korean curse word taught to us earlier that day, became the word of the trip. Needless to say, by bedtime we were all drunk and exhausted from laughing. And here's where my real Fraser adventure began. Originally everyone was going to sleep outside, but then fear of dingos and bugs made everyone but me and Nic wuss out. I wanted to sleep out under the stars, dingos or no dingos. So as everyone crawled into their tents, Nic and I made our beds on the tarp, preparing for what was soon to be the worst night of sleep of our lives. First of all, at every rustle I was up with my little maglite looking for dingos, obviously not as brave as I had pretended. Then the wind began, cutting through my sleepsack. Eventurally Nic and I endec up pulling the other tarp over us for some protection. In doing so, we also poured sand all over our heads, and with every move, more sand rained down. And because sand is not nearly as soft to sleep on as it should be, I moved quite a bit. And to add to my misery, Nic somehow fell asleep and started snoring! Despite the cold, the hard ground, my fear of dingos, the sand in my ear, and the snoring, I did manage to actually sleep under the stars for maybe an hour
. And though it didn't end up being the incredible night of shooting stars I had imagined, I can now say I survived a night sleeping outside on Fraser Island - an adventure never to be repeated. And despite the collective lack of sleep from the night before, we all managed to be ready and raing to go by 6 am. our first stop, now driving on the beach, was Indian Heads, one of the rock areas. We spent a very relaxing morning here looking down at the water below for the telltale shadows of sharks, turtles, and rays. It was a beautiful day and with the nice breeze going, Indian Heads became our little paradise for a few hours. But pretty soon it was time to make the beach walk to the champagne pools, which were promised to be really cool. This was the only place to swim in salt water because the pools were enclosed by rocks keeping the sharks out. I imagined froth from teh waves everywhere, what was actually there was not nearly that impressive. In fact, if we hadn't been stuck there because of the tides, we would have saved ourselves from sunburn (there was no shade there) and left early. Instead we lay on the sand against the rocks as the waves washed over us, cooling us off and filling our suits with sand. But despite the diaper feeling this caused, I was actually getting used to sand being everywhre and didn't mind too much. We ended the day at Eli Creek, washing the salt and some of the sand off, refreshed by the cool waters. And then, as the sun began to shed th golden light of the late afternoon, we joined a pick up game of cricket...and I'm actually pretty good
! After a few fabulous hits by me, we finally had to pull ourselves away in order to set up camp before dark. And if ht night before had been a drinkfest, this night was a total drunken laughathon. We ended up playing the "bunny game" which can only be seen and played to understand the hilarity of it. While Isuru became known as the psycho moose (the game somehow evolved into the moose and bunny game), Kate was the tired bunny, Shane the intense bunny, and Anouska the giggly drunk bunny, the vodka, wine, and beer were all finished off. When the festivities finally ended, we ALL crawled into our tents, and quickly passed out. I slept much better that night, refreshed for the last day on the island. Our last day, all of us stinky from three days of no showers, covered in sand, and very happy, we went on a quick rainforest walk and spent the day lazing away at Lake MacKenzie. This lake, the most beautiful of them all with cyrstal clear blue water and white sand, was a perfect way to end our time on the island. And as the ferry pulled away from the island that had brought us all together, returning to reality, I couldn't help but think what a magical and crazy trip it had been. Once we were strangers, now we are friends. Our last night together in Hervey Bay ended up lasting all night long in three different bars and just as full of craziness as the last three days had been, but that's another story...
It's hard to know where to bgein when talking about me and Luke's Fraser Island trip. It was an adventure made speciall not only by the incredibly unique setting, but also the awesome people who were our travel companions. We all met in Hervey Bay, all 4wd virgins, all ready for whatever the famed sand island had in store for us. There were 17 of us in two cars. Luke and I were in car one, the lone Americans, brother and sister, Team America. Shane, Isuru, and Nic were the three Australians from sydney on vacation from real jobs. Isuru was the surgeon, the equipment organizer, and the crazy moose in the bunny drinkig game. Shane slept with an eye mask, didn't wear bug spray because it smelled bad, and claimed to be the best driver in the car. Nic Took care of everybody, probably was the car's best driver, and wasn't afraid to sleep ouside. Kate and mark were the English couple, tanned from working at Byron for three onths, and a perfecte xample of opposites attarct. While Mark was the activities director, always making jokes, Kate balanced him out with her quiet playfulness and sweetness