Island of Impossibility

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Warren kept repeating it. This place shouldn't have happened. Sand, Rainforests...Naaaaa. But it's here and it is wonderful.

The Eurong Beach Resort is a bit of Enigma. It's a resort yes, its on a beach yes. It's on a beautiful beach but you can't enjoy it. The waves are far too strong, the undercurrent dangerous. The beach is a beautiful 70 miles of unbroken golden sands which is an official Queensland highway. 4x4's use it as a stretch of track stretching as far as you can see to visit sights up and down the island. We would be using it today.

We jumped on board the coach quickly after a buffet breakfast (filled up yet again- I haven't eaten this well in weeks) and checking out. The tour started again nice and early to make the most of the tides. While the tide is low, the vehicles can track close to the water line and make the most of the firmer soaked sand. The high line tends to be softer and harder to drive, which is why at low tide certain vehicles aren't allowed to access the beach. The coach had full access and we would be zipping up 70 mile beach for a full day of sightseeing.

Shortly after starting Warren pulled us up in the middle of the highway and highlighted an old man pulling at the sand. The man was collecting sand worms. Up to a metre long, these worms (a delicacy) collect good moola in the right circles. We were allowed to approach and I got to manhandle one of the slimy bity critters. Didn't look like a delicacy to me.

Along the shore Warren pointed out the plethora of Man of War jelly fish that sat at the high tide line. The little blue balls of air lie dead at close intervals obviously dragged in with the tide. Warren grabs one and demonstrates the length of the tentacles which cause swimmers such grief (very dangerous in a swarm) and then proceeded the step on the dead jelly fish one at a time. A noise as satisfying as that you get when popping bubble wrap is then heard. Pop...Pop....Pop. Glad I was wearing the Stinger suit earlier in the week. Such a shame these blighters swim around, the coast is beautiful otherwise.

We took back to the open ...err....sand and carried on up to the wreck of the Maheno, an old ship washed up in the 30's. The Maheno has seen better days and the rust of years of heavy waves washing over her and the effects of bombing in the 40's (she was used as target practice) have left her a bit of a sorry sight. An even sorrier sight summed up the sadness of the ship wreck as a dead turtle lay on it's back giving tourists something else to look at. Me and Warren flipped Tommy (the turtle - I've named him for some dignity) back over to give him some respect - sadly this just gave the impression that Tommy was still alive and gave an even bigger draw to the crowds of tourists. More people posed for photos with a dead turtle than they did with an 80 year old ship wreck "The Maheno has spent a quarter of her life riding the waves and three quarters with the waves riding over her".

Kate had found a German friend at this point who was travelling alone from the same YHA as ourselves but had nobody to take photos for her. Kate obliged once and from then on seemed to end up being Barbara's personal photographer. Barbara was sweet, but she didn't speak a lot of English and seemed a bit lonely.

We carried on further enjoying a stop at 'The Pinnacles', which is a sand cliff slowly eroding. In a few years time it will probably be a completely different sight. The pinnacles show all the different sand colours that make up the island and provide a nice little stop off.

We took a tea break just after 10am and were blessed with some cake from a cold box or 'Eski' as they are known. At the end of the break an Aboriginal guide named Joe came over to our group and asked us if we wanted to here some Didgeridoo. Of course we agreed and quickly Warren mentioned he would expect a dollar for this. Being used to this I got my dollar ready for the end of the performance.
Joe was funny, kept us enthralled and gave a spirited display with good humour including a great didgeridoo number about sending the Whales out to sea by making whalesong using circular blowing techniques etc. After all the ooooing and arrrrghing down the tube he suggested a second tune he uses to call the whales back  After a few more whalesong Ooooo's he finished by using the Didgeri as a horn and shouting "Calling all whales...Calling all Whales". I guess you had to be there. We laughed anyways.
He gave us a bit of history and gave us a laugh and then said thanks for coming to Fraser. Then he walked off.

I didn't get it. Where was his pleading for money? Where was his story of his plight?

Warren followed after him, said "Here you go Joe" and slipped him a dollar. I thought Warren meant a dollar from each of us. That seemed fair in a country in which you pay $4 for a twix. I followed, as did an American and we added a couple more dollars to a guy more thankful than anyone I have met in the last two months. Joe does tours on Fraser and apparently doesn't get paid. A gentleman. I hope those who visit Fraser have the pleasure of meeting him.

Tracking northwards, the entry to the Champagne pools was difficult for the heavy 4 x 4 coach, however Warren threw the vehicle with momentum up the soft sand track to our most northerly point. With the vehicle finally gripping onto the boardwalks beneath the sand a mini cheer erupted from our small group.

From the Champagne pools (which are where the sea washes over some volcanic rock to form clear pools of water at the sea edge) we were able to spot a Whale in the distance jumping out of the water on its move southwards. A beautiful spot only slightly ruined by a bunch of pillocks making a lot of noise on their way down to the beach. The sun came out nicely for the time we were here which was a bit of a blessing.

We exited the pools and headed back to Indian Head, a promontory overlooking the Pacific ocean with views to the south over 70 mile beach and to the north towards the pools. We climbed up the sand hill and at the top were greeted with a beautiful sight. One of the other tour guides was trying to be impressive describing the animals in the water highlighted by a moment of sun.

 " Yep, that one is a manta-ray, deffo. Oh it might not actually. Not it's not. Actually I don't know what it is. It's a big fish." Good stuff Cobber.

Almost as quick as the sun had arrived, it disappeared again followed by a dark cloud full of rain. Me and Kate shuffled down the hill sharpish and back onto the bus with only minor dampness.

We shared our lunch spot with the "Cool Dingo" tour group which was much the same as our tour (being owned by the same company) but with more young people. During dinner Kate took the opportunity to pop a couple of Jellyfish and I took the opportunity to eat copious amounts of biscuits.

On the way back south we visited a creek which falls out into the sea. Me and Kate walked up the length of the creek where we were allowed to do so and then walked back, Kate getting bitten by a horsefly in the process. I was forced into rolling up my shorts in a manly, and very cool I'm sure you will agree, style.

Sadly the tour ended slightly strangely with us having to wait 45 minutes while Warren washed out the inside of the bus before returning us to the ferry. It would be better if they did this after getting rid of the guests, but I expect it was just a way to save a bit of time post-tour. The tour was very enjoyable, in some ways I was envious of the younger mingling groups but at the same time I am confident we saw more in our couple of days than we would have done with one of those tours.

Fraser is an amazing place with plenty to see. A day tour isn't really enough to see it. An organised 2 day tour is worth it. If the weather is good, 3 days would be ideal.

Back at the hostel Kate found a few massive toads jumping about outside our room. A couple of days earlier she was under the impression that the noise being made may have been pumped out by a stereo system to give the impression of nature ribbiting away. The truth is we were surrounded by monstrous toads. They wouldn't shut up.

We noted a few Brit girls that had been at the hostel the duration of the time we had been at Fraser clearly dossing and drinking. We overheard that they would be going over to the island in a couple of days. I understand people that spend longer than they need in places to travel, there is a lot here to see - but spending 4 days in a hostel to drink away your money is just a little sad. I am thankful that we are whistle stopping through as it keeps you on your toes making sure you do the things you want to do and see the things you are here to see. If you want to drink and party all the time, I would suggest it is cheaper and easier to do it in the UK.
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