15th June to 21st June 2011
Duties for the day:
– Scrub picnic tables
– 3pm bathroom and kitchen clean
Woke up at 6.45am, sunrise at 7am, to look with rays/skates in the shallows with Nadine, Germany. Unfortunately I seem to be missing the time they are there as there were none to be found. Spent the day at the beach and watched the sunset.
That night we all went down to the beach to see if we could find the rays/skates again but once again to no avail. However, numerous folks had brought something stiff to drink and keep themselves warm… I of course, with a few other responsible parties, returned to the hostel… where we could drink in the warmth 🙂
Was first woken up by a few drunk Germans at midnight to wish Carolin (a fellow Oompah Loompah from Germany) a happy birthday, she slept through it, I told them to go to bed. Then woke up at 2am to watch the Lunar Eclipse. A fellow backpacker/part time astronomer had assured us the height of the eclipse was at 2.30am so 2am was a perfect time. Turned out the eclipse only started at 2.30am and after standing in the freezing cold at a time when even the sparrows aren’t farting, Carolin and I headed back in around 2.50am. the die hards, however, stayed put and were wonderful enough to get us some great pics.
We went snorkeling down at the jetty in the morning. Truly amazing, the coral was everywhere and tons of stunning bright fish, some quite big. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed being in the water, if only it wasn’t so expensive to rent snorkel gear.
Nadine and I decided to walk along the beach back to town, a good mile or so. Turned out we had to wade through a fairly rocky area first before we got anywhere near the beach, but it was good fun. After lunch my bracelet making was in high demand and I had about 3 customers.
For the birthday dinner we made rice with sausages and zucchini, the joy of backpacker budgets. Then we brought in a lamington (australian cake with coconut) sporting 3 candles and sang “Happy Birthday”.
Her gift was a surfer rash (not the medical kind, but a shirt surfers/swimmers wear to protect against the sun – usually quite expensive but we found it in lost and found) and she was required to get at least 26 signatures. It was great fun and with limited people at the hostel they were forced to head out to the pub. Since I had to clean the kitchen for closure in 15minutes I had to miss out but they swore they would be back in 30min… they arrived home around midnight!
Just after midnight we said farewell to Nadine from Germany, goodbyes are never pleasant, but making friends make them worth it.
Had 2 new Oompah Loompahs join us in room 105, Carol and JP from France. Seem like a nice pair and I just enjoy listening to them chat in French. Then I borrowed Carolin’s phone to make a few calls to figure out how to get a ride back to Perth in the next week. I tried a number of companies getting prices and then, since I am planning an article about Coral Bay, seeing if they had a concession price for writers. Only 1, Red Earth, was prepared to give me a discount. So I booked a spot for $100 (usually $200) for the following sunday. It consisted of 2 days of driving, accomodation and food, pretty good considering Greyhound was almost $200 and sucked 16hrs of your life away, if they were on time.
That afternoon Luke, Australian and traveling around in a camper, Corny, Bavarian – full name Cornelious, and I decided to try get to the headland. Since it was a fair walk and Corny was feeling sick we decided to drive…and drive…stuck in sand… drive some more… almost stuck in sand… drive through locust swarm… finally turn round and drive back and realise we turned down the wrong road. Back at the hostel we grabbed lunch and walked to the normal beach instead. Somehow Luke managed to lose his car keys but we found a maintenance guy who could unlock it and also taught him to start it with a screwdriver!
Decided to do morning walk to the headland, as no one else was interested or moving at 9.30am I headed out alone. It was a beautiful and around a mile or more through soft sand that felt like walking in a snow drift.
Heading back I literally thought my calves were going to seize up and I would be left on the beach with no one around. Luckily the numerous naked sunbathers tend to take your mind off the pain, especially the guys (which is a little scary to tell you the truth). By the time I got back all I craved was a dip in the cold bay, and it certainly refreshed me.
Back at the hostel I worked on Carolin’s necklace finishing it just in time as she showed up with my pie….mmmmmmmmmm pie (beef and cheese). Wipe off drool here!
After such a good day I learnt some devastating news. My best friend had lost her baby. She went in for her 39week scan and was told there was no heartbeat. The doctor had no medical reason to give them except for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). I was terribly upset and wished I could do something, but with the time difference I couldn’t call till the next morning. It is so unfair how life works sometimes.
I woke up at 7am and walked up the main road (in truth the only road) to the resort where I could access wifi (at a cost) and call my folks and my friend. Luckily I was able to reach all concerned and send my sympathies and thoughts. I wished again there was something more I could do.
Duties for the day:
– clean doors again
– vacuum again
– kitchen closure…again
That night was the free movie at the resort – Gulliver’s Travels with Jack Black. Carolin and I decided to, wait for it… buy a full price cider and a box of chips for the occasion. Eik and Alex joined us and we sat and watched it along with 2 kids and another couple. It was a little chilly being outside on the grass, but well worth it.
Duties for the day:
– sweep and mop bar decking, to be started by 9am.
– 3pm kitchen and bathroom cleaning.
I woke up at 8am to get an early start on the bar decking and had it all done well before the hour was up. Carolin showed up at 9.30am and we headed out to walk to the headland. Once again we hit high tide and soft sand, I am going to have calves of a marathon runner and even possibly thigh definition by the end of this trip.
We attempted to go swimming but soon discovered that the headland was where 2 currents converged and within minutes it was obvious the shore was the place to be. I wouldn’t say there was panic, but some definite rapid thought processing and lots of kicking and eventually reaching the beach. Later that evening we were asked never to do that again, since along with the strong currents it is also the location of many tiger sharks (the spotter plane for the mantas, is in truth a spotter for the sharks – they just tell tourists the former). Oops!
Eik and Alex met us in their 4×4 and did some fishing. We didn’t pick up anything very big but we did get to watch another swarm of locusts fly by, so many in fact, that it looked like a dust storm arriving.
After the boys dug the car out we headed back to town and I finished up my cleaning and passed out, love afternoon naps.
In the evening I was chatting with Jody, from Ireland, who was seeking sponsorship for the big party/fundraiser on friday. He was planning on shaving his head. The money was for Red Nose day, a national fundraiser for SIDS and Kids (a group dedicated to research and support). This made some interesting thoughts pop into my head. As I was drinking a rum and coke and waiting for some friends to arrive I suddenly decided what I had to do, I was going to shave my head and raise funds in memory of my friend’s son. When I broached the subject with hostel staff they all told me to think about it but that they would sponsor me. The thinking was over when Nicky asked a guy if he would sponsor me for shaving my head and he promptly handed over $10… guess the decision was made.
For the rest of the evening I asked people to sponsor me and while they all told me I was crazy in the same breathe they said I was very brave.
Waking up that morning I remembered my decision of the previous night, and while part me screamed the insanity of it, the only reason I could find not to do it was – vanity! And that wasn’t a good enough reason.
Around noon I was told that Graham was finally living up to his promise in the first week and I was given a seat on his boat the Aqua Rush. It involved speed boating out of the bay, jumping waves, getting sprayed with water and also 2 snorkel stops. Adrenalin filled pure joy and the coral was nice too. We did see the biggest ray/skate I have ever seen.
By the end of the 2hrs I could just barely finish my chores before I collapsed into bed. This was proving to be an intense week for a wide range of emotions and experiences.