12) East Coast

Dark Waters

My last „big adventure“ (for the moment) here in Austalia was a three day canoeing trip into the Everglades, along the Noosa River. The water there is very calm and very brown, it looks lovely when the trees mirror in the water and you hear nothing else than the paddels stroking trough the water and the crickets (=Grillen) make their noise. The water looks like a cup of black tea – the tea trea trees (or however they are spelled) cause that color. Means, it is not as dirty as it looks. It even made the skin very soft after swimming in the river – obviously good for the skin. But if I had known before that there are sometimes aggressive freshwater sharks in there – I would not have had a swim! :-)

darkwater

kanu

The first day Anna and I paddeld for three hours, arrived at the campsite at 2pm and wondered „What are we supposed to do for the rest of the day?“ There is nothing except a toilet there, it was a quite boring afternoon. The second day was, opposite to the first, filled with exercise: 12 kilometers of paddeling and 12 kilometers of walking. Nice, hot and exhausting.

spiegelung

I realised (not for the first time in my life): I hate camping! Sleeping on a 5mm thin mat, crawling around a and into a tent, cooking on a little gas stove – no way! I had four nights in a tent in one week now – that's enough for the next YEARS! And even if it is exciting to have kangaroos and a big phyton snake (about two meters long, honestly!) next to the tents – as soon as it gets dark it is a little scary. „Where did that snake go??? Who joins me to the toilet, please?“ ;-)

The big sand dune

Now it's already over – my trip to one of Australia's most stunning places: Fraser Island, the world's biggest sand island. Most people go to Fraser on a 3-day selfguided camping safari. It's the cheapest way to do it. I was really scared that my group (they stick 11 people in one little jeep!) could be full of stupid people who would not do anything else than drinking. All the time. I had heared so many bad things about other people's trips that I was really concerned about that.

barge
Taking the car on the barge to the island.

But I ended up very lucky. The day before the trip I had already found six nice other people and we decided to go together. They had to fill the group up with four more people – but they were also very lovely. And – the fact I wonder most about – we were quite an „old“ group. Only one of the guys was just 20 years young, everyone else over 25. Good! And – another wonder – I was not the oldest this time. ;-) It was an international group, too – four Germans, two Italians, two Brazilians, two irish and one swiss guy. The Germans, as ususal, had the majority.

shipwreck
The „Maheno Shipwreck“ at full moon.

sunsetbeach
View from our second camp to the beach.

ellicreek
Elli Creek – Sarah and Patrick in freezing cold water.

indianhead
Indian Head – looking for turtles, but none seen.

dingo
Dingo – lots of them live on Fraser.

wine
Winetime – Lord, I was drunk that night!

I did not drink THAT much (no, really!!!) but the heat obviously did the rest for me then. The next morning I wondered why everyone asked me „How are you feeling today?“ I had NO hangover, I remember every detail and I went to bed all by myself with no help! I was not THAT drunk. Just to make that clear! ;-)

After two and a half days we returned to Rainbow Beach. The car was still unbroken, which is, of course, because only women drove it – me, Anna and Meike. ;-) Dirty with sand all over (it gets everywhere!), a few of us a little sunburned but all very very happy. It was a fantastic time, a wonderful group and a great trip.

Whitsunday Islands

The main reason for coming to Airlie Beach (which is very very very touristy) is to go on a sailing trip to the Whitsunday Islands. I booked two days and two nights on a budget boat called „Tongarra“. The trip was alright, we had a few very crazy guys on board and therefore lots of fun. The scenerie is – as always... – beautiful. We did a few hours of snokeling at three different reef spots, visited the famous „Whitehaven Beach“ and had lots and lots of sun. This time I even saw a turle while I was snorkeling! Jippieh! Finally!

whitehaven
Whitehaven Beach

models
Hannes from Austria with the „four german girls“ – photosession...
(I am NOT in the picture!)

sunset
Sunset on Thursday night

We did not much of sailing at all, even when it was windy enough (in my opinion) – I have no idea why. The motor of the boat was on nearly all the time – as was the music. Which is a shame because you cannot enjoy the quiet of the scenerie then. But maybe I'm just getting too old for trips with a bunch of 19-yearolds... ;-)

Magnetic Island

I headed down south to Townsville on Friday. I stayed there just for one night and went on to Magnetic Island instantly. Magnetic is a small holiday island just eight kilometers from Townsville, ideal for walking, snorkeling or chilling out. The hostel I stayed in was directly at the beach. It was quite beautiful, but very expensive ($26,- per night). The rooms were in those little houses, but very tiny with eight beds each!

basemagnetic

Basically, I did nothing for two days but hanging around the pool (not the beach, it's already stinger season there), reading, sweating, chatting with other people. It was unbelievably hot (Magnetic is Queensland's sunniest spot with 320 sunny days a year), but the sea breeze made it comfortable.

magnetic

I'm in Airlie Beach now and want to do a sailing trip at the Whitsunday Islands. Let's see it I can find something that does not kill me – financially... :-)

Open Water

You did not hear from me for a while now. That is not because I'm lazy. I just had nothing interesting to tell so far. But now I have. I did my Diving-Course. I'm a certified open water diver (allowed to dive down to 18 meters) now. The first two days of the course were filled with lots of theroy and training in a pool. Yesterday and today were the „real“ diving days then. To become a certified diver, you have to complete a theroy test first and then four dives in open water with an instructor. On every dive you (and your dive buddy – you never go alone) have to complete different skills. What to do if... this or that happens. If one of you runs out of air or if you loose your air supply from your mouth and so on... You train all that in the pool but have to show you can do it under real conditions then as well.

fins
Before the dive – gearing up.

buddycheck
Buddycheck – double check all gear.

The first dive was a bit scary, of course... I was quite worried I would not be able to „equalize my ears“. If you dive, the pressure gets higher and higher. That is no problem for your lungs and for your breathing – the machine gives the air to you in the right pressure every time. But as the air in your ears gets squeezed, you have to equalize the pressure by holding your nose closed and gently blow into it. But I managed it very well, ears seem to be ok and I had lots of fun! We saw lots of fish, even sharks, sea-cucumbers, coral – pity I don't have an underwater camera!

after_dive
After the dive – exhausted but happy.

diver
I know, it loos like a pool – but it's the Great Barrier Reef!

Up to Cairns now

I'm leaving Melbourne towards Cairns today. Will be pretty hot up there I guess. The ideal weather to do what I missed at the Westcoast – a diving course. I have not decided yet what kind of course I will do, there are so many of them. As I have never done a dive before (except my skydive, of course... ;-) ) I think I will go for a basic four-day-course. The license you get after that allows you to dive up (or down?) to 18 meters. Yeah, I think that is the right thing for the start. Who knows, I might hate diving...

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