Showing posts with label Beach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beach. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Australia 2010: 16. Fraser Island and Meeting Mr Dingo....

Hey Guys - Sal here reporting from Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia.
Wow 8 months in Oz already! Last night I jumped on a boat under the starry sky back to Hervey Bay here from the beautiful Fraser Island. But more about that later....

Recently the rain in Queensland has dominated and is flooding the areas but I had nothing to hang around for so I caught a  lift with an American guy called Baz  (his middle name was in fact Duke) in my backpackers in Rockhampton who was heading to Agnes Water in the Town of 1770 a nice lil laid back fishing town, lined with surf shops and restaurants which has great surf - but no one locks their doors which coming from London couldn't fathom the trust of the environment!. It was quite a trip and we were actually pulled over by the police because Baz took his seatbelt off for 30 seconds - they are very strict on road safety out here so we were majorly caught off guard. The Aussie road is full of unpredictability and adventure - even in the pouring rain!

I took a 3 hour surf lesson for $17! from the local surf shop who told me ''Just show up at 10 and we'll give ya a board'' in fact its probably the best price for surf lessons on the whole of the East Coast! yep sharks in the water, won't get a better price than that in Australia - but because Oz is such an outdoorsy place it can be a bummer when it rains so I couldn't go motorbike riding, but its a good excuse to go back.....I did get a free tour of the Agnes Water by 'Macca' who worked at the backpackers. I helped clean the backpackers in 1770 and the owner who I'd discovered actually invented the backpacking industry in Australia paid me a bit for my efforts! Super! Was very impressed by 1770, but not the weather!

Hitching a ride with Baz to the Town of 1770...

Deciding to move on from the downpours of 1770. I arrived in Hervey Bay, which is the gateway out to Fraser Island with a fantastic hip guided tour called Cool Dingo Tours

Fraser Island is a beautiful Aboriginal territory east of Hervey Bay, the 2 day tour consisted of a quirky tour guide driving us on an extremely bumpy 4WD bus over the rough terrain time (seatbelts were a must) and educated us about the aborigine habitats whilst walking in the beloved rainforest, swimming in crystal clear lakes of Lake McKenzie and checking out the decayed 100 year old shipwreck of the Maheno Wreck. We also stopped off to view some sandblows which make you feel like you're really in the middle of the desert and Eli Creek which you allegedly meant to float down (we sure didn't float)  On route along towards Indian Head in the north of the Island, Mr Dingo introduced himself to us but they're wild dogs so no poochie kisses (our tour guide was very protective of us, but the Dingo didn't seemed bothered). It was extremely special to see a wild dingo in its natural habitat. Once we reached the top of Indian Head, I watched Stingrays, a pod of dolphins swim pass and hump back whales migrating back to Antartica. Cool! The Champagne Pools were incredible. The sea causes a pool of water to bubble like a champagne glass as it thrashes against the rocks, was exhilarating and nothing I'd ever seen before. The night was spent playing funny drinking games in the on island Dingo Bar but overall we were lucky with the weather as it perked up a little bit by then lucky for us so I had a great trip. Here's some photos from my Fraser Island Adventures...

Lake McKenzie.....gorgeous lake on the Island

Hello Mr Dingo....:)

On top of Indian Head

Wild Dolphins!

The 100 Year old Maheno Wreck

Now I'm settled back in Hervey Bay and I'm going to head south to check out the surf and Steve Irwin's famous Australia Zoo - as far as Brisbane and then head up to the deserts of the Northern Territory before looking for work again (fingers crossed). But this is a beautiful country and want to see as much as possible but of course I do find myself thinking about the charms of London every now and again - must be getting cold there now - haha!
Anyway, thanx for reading and hope life is being kind to you, there's so many more stories but my fingers hurt now so signing off...until next time dudes!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Australia: 14. Pirate Sailin' The Seven Seas of The Whitsundays


Hey Guys - Sal here reporting from Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia.
Wow 6 months in Oz already!
Think when I last left a blog I had just finished travelling with the Australian carnival circuit. Well, they were good enough to pay me for my time which got me down to Airlie Beach further down the east coast which is the best place to get out to the Whitsunday Islands, something not to leave Australia without seeing with your own eyes.

Anybody who knows me well, will know of my fantasy of pirates and adventure (this was a girl who dreamt of being Indiana Jones sidekick) - well I found the perfect boat to sail the seven seas of the Whitsundays.....for three days

The Solway Lass M'Hearties....she's a beauty
A 127ft 'Tallship Defender' ship named The Solway Lass - a proper pirate ship named by the Scottish with 10 sails and a Jolly Roger flag and everything. I was sold! If there was going to be one ship I would sail it was going to be this beauty. Its was actually haunted by a past captain that died on the's been through a lot since 1902 

On board a Pirate Ship...




The Three Day Voyage

I had taken it upon myself to map out my adventures at sea, where we were heading for the next three days on board the Solway Lass around Australia's Whitsundays Islands. We would first board the boat at night from 1. Abel Point off Airlie Beach for our captain 'Lloyd' and sail us into the moonlight to drop anchor at 2. Refuge Bay on the tip of Hook Island and then set off on Day One to 3. Tongue Bay. I have a confession...If I could have one wish, it would be that I didn't suffer from sea be fair the water was very rough on route to Tongue Bay actually spilling over on deck - some techniques you might like to try is stick cotton wool in your ear and suck an orange but man it was HELL ON EARTH!!! 

But first phase of becoming a pirate I think..... Sitting up at the bow of the Solway Lass with nothing out ahead of us but ocean...70% of the earth y'know




After anchoring on dry land at Tongue Bay on Hamilton Island, relieved to get on dry land we took a short walk through the forest to reach the look out of Whitehaven Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the purest white sands zig zagging its way dreamily into the island. 

Our crew consisted of 'Lloyd' our skipper, 'Andrew and Damo' being the deckhands, 'Kylie' the Chef, 'Kate' at the on board bar, 'Max' who's the volley (the skivvy)  and 'Trevor' our security -- I'm sure he'd be seeing off any of those pirates that would come aboard. Being a guest on the ship though doesn't mean we'd escape helping out on deck - when the wind picked up, the mammoth sails needed to be raised and the girls would climb the masts to fix the sails to them - very impressive! it was good fun to help haul them up as deck hands too...

'Are you ready with the main sail?'
'Yes, B'osun!'
'Haul Away, Pull, Pull, Pull' .....hard work, blood and sweat 


We continued sailing north past Border Island and round the top of Hook Island towards Blue Pearl Bay, but of course being at sea on a pirates ship is anything but boring. We would pass the time relaxing in the bow nets, swinging off the rope swing - or playing pirate games on deck when the sea's where a little bit calmer.
We dropped anchor at 4. Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island for our second night at sea. The ocean as flat as a sheet of glass with millions of the most magnificent stars blazoned across the dark sky - if there's anywhere where you want to see stars...out to sea is the place with the peace and tranquillity (A couple on their honeymoon were passengers on board with us - how perfect for them.)
On Day Two of the voyage, I awoke in my cabin to the repulsive stench of sewage or something leaking out the through the cabin walls. Urghhh now that was enough to make you puke if not the choppy seas. It was good to get off the boat and onto the beach of Blue Pearl Bay to do some snorkelling alone the corals and reefs - when a HUGE sea turtle came swimming past me nearly making me choke as I breathed in awe and a mouthful of water with it. But soon disaster would strike, I brushed my hand against a sharp coral and tore the skin on my middle finger, reddening the water around me with drifting blood - ahh shark!! Of course I had to go back to the ship and be nursed at, it was so badly torn I thought I'd need stiches, ummmm....would have had to been a amateur boat job which I wasn't keen on. Antiseptic water and dressing would have to do for this injured sailor :(
I went back to snorkel on though, with a rubber glove haha. We pressed on as the winds picked up (oh no) travelling south around Hayman Island on the Hayman Channel with the sailing becoming quite a challenge. We tucked into 5. Black Island for more snorkelling as well as being bombarded by pesky black crows stealing our things on the beach and then fighting the other girls to the shower room below deck.  
We dropped anchor for the night in 6. Cid Harbour in a place called Saw Mill Bay to watch the gorgeous sunset to mark the night to have a little Pirate Party with the ships own fancy dress accessories, keeping lookout for any foreboding tall ships on the horizon. Eat your heart out Capt. Jack Sparrow.....
or... maybe not
 The crew had made us a real good old fashioned banquet for the final night spent at sea - such good service from a Pirate Ship which was actually deliberately sunk in the past to obliterate all the vermin. Day Three was the voyage home to mainland Australia and my finger is still in need of first aid which I'm hoping will heal in time for my fruit picking job at the end of the month. Damo and Andrew took us by motorboat after dislodging in from the beach to Saw Mill Beach to climb the painstakingly sweaty walk uphill into the forest to the top of the lookout over our sailing route over Hook Island....
It was well worth it....  
See for your self....
So after a few turbulent three days - my adventures at sea are over and back on the steadiness of dry land. If you ever come to Airlie Beach get yourself onto the Solway Lass...the only sailing experience you'll ever need.
At least I passed the Pirate Training..

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Australia: 11. Cape Tribulation and Rainforest Flying

G'day everyone!

Calling from Port Douglas! a swanky coastal town north of Cairns where the Aussie rich folk come to play. Last night I went 'Cane Toad Racing' in one of the bars on the main street, you bid for a cane toad which are Giant Toads which inhabit this part of Australia to place them in the race and then proceed to blow them off a round table, catch them, run across the bar and put them in a bucket - not as easy as it seems! but that was quite an experience dabbling with Aussie quirkiness.


Of course I didn't win.

Well quite a change of scene for me since I left the Atherton Tablelands. All 'cashed up' (as the Aussie's say for having money) I hitched a ride with one of the locals from the Kairi pub to head further north to the mystery of the Daintree Rainforest boarding the two minute cable ferry to cross the Daintree River deliciously riddled with tropical crocodiles and word up hear was that some guy actually swam across the Daintree River as a result of a drunken bet...he did live to tell the tale.


I then travelled 34km by sealed road into the ancient thick foliage of the Cape Tribulation rainforest area - indigenously named 'Kulki' but in fact the area was renamed 'Cape Tribulation' by the English Explorer Captain Cook where his ship ran aground causing 'tribulation' right?


It is seriously paradise here and is the only place where the rainforest meets the reef - The Great Barrier Reef that is

Just like a desert island and not replusively crowded like the claustrophic beaches of Sydney - I love it! I was rooming with a girl at a beach lodge who was working as a stripper in Darwin (interesting conversations) and our eco friendly lodge, its electricity powered by generators and solar energy fitting nicely into my earth saving ways.
The lodge also backs onto the beach, I couldn't ask for more. Life is so simple and uncomplicated. I think the photographs say it all.



I Love it Here!!!!!!

Exploring the coastal rainforest area on my trusty borrowed bike, the Government are very clued up about the
dangers of crocodiles that may be lurking in the mangroves and caution of marine stingers that inhabit the waters this time of year. Vinegar boxes are laid out on the beach with clear instructions of treating any unfortunate souls who are stung. Cringe. These things can kill you out here. Was funny to notice the signs here are in English and German....mmmmm


Not that this should put you off by any means, the rainforest life is gorgeous and I captured the rare sight of a Lace Monitor strolling around his domain on the sand and took a visit to a voluntary Bat Hat in the Rainforest Village - avoiding throwing caution to the wind of my awareness for wild Cassowarys (remember, the most dangerous birds in the world they say) which you may see on the way as I rode to the village.


I never did - but there's plenty of signs telling you what to do if they freak out. The simple rule is, leave them alone and they'll leave you alone. Simple. They do look quite cute though, like big bright blue emus.
Well the Bat House is a local conservation organisation which is a cute nursery for fruit bats, I even met two of the residents themselves 'Joker' and 'Edward'....mmmm wonder what inspired their names. 


I signed up for a night walk in the rainforest (highly recommend it) armed with 'Boots' coming in handy yet again with headtorches and was taken deep into the lowland rainforest to see what the night would bring. My guide informed me about the wonders of the Queensland rainforest, things I hadn't even seen out in the Amazonia of South America - pieces of wood that glowed in the dark and a sea of glowing mushrooms on the forest floor, not 'magic mushrooms' by any means. Apparently the Australian Art Producer of 'Avatar' had gathered his inspiration from his travels here. I was also lucky to spy a tree dragon, cleverly trying to disguise itself on a tall slim tree trunk and of course the tree you want to go nowhere near....the stinger tree ahhhhh no really do not go near it.

The next afternoon I had a go at 'jungle surfing' (leads to the imagination) - its a lot of fun. You strap yourself to a flying fox harness and you fly about 25m above the rainforest canopy on a zip wire to a series of towers scattered across the jungle - is awesome you gotta do it, even upside down. Quite rightly I was wearing a helmet saying 'Peter Pan'


To Leave You with...