First stop was Airlie Beach. In Airlie Beach, we were in 8 person dorms and one night we were asleep when some loud dutch people cam in the room. At about 5 in the morning Steph's bed (the top bunk) started rocking and some strange noise were heard below. The dutch were playing hide the sausage not caring who heard or saw which meant that Cook had to get out of bed and wander round the town in the early hours.
Due to Dave's injuries and ailments myself and Steph sailed around the Whitsundays on a different boat to the happy couple, and we found ourself on a very large boat called the 'Clipper'. When booking the boat, we had looked to steer clear of the boats that were basically booze cruises and the 'Clipper' was suggested. However, as soon as we started to sail 5 lads from Donegal and 2 chaps from Manchester produced a massive coolbox of lager and many boxes of cheap wine, which is known over here as 'Goon' and the scene for our 3 day and 2 night sailing trip around the Whitsundays.
The trip did not solely involve boozing and we saw some amazing sights of beaches and wildlife. On the 1st night just as we were going to bed some dolphins came over to our boat and started having a cheeky swim so we could watch. Despite a drunk Mancunian calling them 's*** Dolphins' and demanding that they did flips it was a memorable experience to see those boys in the wild. Early on the second morning we went to Whithaven beach which had sand that was whiter than my skin before travelling (Hard to believe I know). We then had a swim at Whithaven where we had to don fetching 'Stinger' suits which were wetsuits designed to protect us from the deadly boxed jellyfish which showed my stacked physique off nicely?!. In the water some people saw fish and sharks and everyone saw a few stingrays just floating along (Steve Irwin RIP) near the shore. After that, a game of beach footy was organised and the teams were Great Britain and Ireland against an international select XI. The game started off as tight as Rik Waller's waistband but after a promising start, the international XI took over and gave us a bit of a beating. I am pretty sure that if Alan Hansen did a post match analysis of the game then the reason for our defeat would have been a combination of cheating Germans and Lazy Irish and nothing to do with a skinny englishman blowing out of his arse.
Due to the large size of our boat, that evening a toga party was organised and two other boats ferried people across for the night. Toga gave me an excuse to get out my guns (not much guns, as a bow and arrow) and we danced the night away anchored in the middle of the ocean. Both days we had the opportunity to do some snorkelling and Miss Cook pooped her Scuba Diving cherry which she loved. I felt that I would just stick to some snorkelling and still was able to see the quality, colourful coral and many fish including a regular visitor to the area, a massive fish called 'Elvis'.
Re-united with Dave and Gems we next headed to the small towns of Agnes Water and 1770 (so called because that is when Captain Jimmy Cook discovered the place). Here we had our own little bungalow for the 4 of us and started doing some cooking ourselves with DSW once again showing his Gordon Ramsey culinary skills - Although calling me a 'f***ing b******' for not cutting the onions finely enough was taking the Ramsey role a step to far I feel! We had great activity plans for this place and booked some surf lessons, a scenic flight and a chopper tour. When we arrived for what we expected to be a radical surf lesson the sea seemed to be the same shade as a dairy milk bar and we were informed that this was algae bloom from the coral which was bacterial and could make us very ill. It seemed at this point that everything was trying to kill us in this bloody country - Crocs, snakes, spiders, stingrays (Irwin RIP), jellyfish, that b****** Bird, DSW's farts and now even the sea was turning on us!!! The class was cancelled and we left disappointed. The scenic flight was also cancelled due to the plane being broken. We were told that it might be fixed in 2 hours and we could go on then but a newly fixed plane did not really appeal to us.
That just left the 'Scooter-roo' tour of the area. We were unable to do it the first day we wanted to so the owner gave us a free hire car and asked for no licence so there was only one driver - Smith-Watson. It may only have been a automatic but he took to it very well and even produced a couple of textbook three point turns with only one shaky moment when we almost backed into a post. He even took us on a little tour and stopped to take photos of kangaroos. The tour the next day involved getting on massive chopper motorbikes and taking a tour of the two towns with a convoy of 30 other motorbikes. DSW got his bandana on and and looked like a Hell's Angel. That is until we were given little helmets making everyone look like Mr Bean on a moped. We were all supposed to have driving licences to do this but the screening process was minimal so Dave was good to go. After a shaky start from me we soon got into it and were humming 'Born to be Wild' as we bazzed it along the scenic roads. By the end David 'Carl Fogarty' Smith-Watson and Jake 'Valentino Rossi' Mant were overtaking any foreigner in their way. The culmination of the tour was sitting on some rocks watching the sunset over the sea eating some potato wedges, which made us all think of everyone at home working hard - Chin up!
Dave and Miss Curtis then headed to Hervey Bay where they would go to Fraser Island from, while Steph and I decided to stop in Bundaberg (where they make Bundaberg Rum funnily enough). The reason for this was to visit Mon Repos beach where there is a centre that looks has the largest number of turtles nesting and hatching in the country. We paid for a tour and were lucky to see a female turtle coming out of the sea and digging her nest and then popping out 50 eggs. Even though she had 30 people watching her do her stuff, she is apparently in a zombies like state at that point. Some of our group were even able to pick up the still warm eggs to relocate them as she had laid them too low down the beach and the tide would have washed them away- Very Lazy!!
Next, Dave and Gemma went to Angus Fraser Island from Hervey Bay while Mant and Cook went from Rainbow Beach. The group we were put into was an interesting group with a mix of Germans and Swedish and then us. When the Germans were talking in their native tongue and I was a bit lost I produced my trump card and blurted out 'I was born in Germany!'. Their response was to ask whether I could speak German and when I said 'No' they continued their German conversation. - So much for the trump card.
The Fraser trip was a 3 day, 2 night self drive event so we had to drive a 4 wheel drive up and down beaches and across backtracks and camp on the beach cooking all our own food on gas stoves which was good fun. We visted the Waabi and Mackenzie lakes which were freshwater pools with Mackenzie being crystal clear. Mine and gemmas trip on frasers was brilliant like jakes and steph. The difference being that we camped with 3 other trucks which was food value, again massive quantities of goon and some lively irish lads ensured that the trip was boozy . We also managed to make it out to the champagne pools right up the north of the island which is quality as you sit in the rockpools as the waves crash over you resulting in a load of bubbles and foam hence the name, although there was fingers pointing at dsw when bubbles and foam appeared in his region in the rockpool when there was not a wave in sight. Fraser Island is a massive island which is basically loads of sand dunes and loads of freshwater lakes and lagoond. It also has a 75 mile beach brilliantly named 75 mile beach which was like a highway as all the 4x4s were bombing up and down the beach which was great fun. The campoing in the evening was quality we all had massive bbqs and stoves to cook on. once again dsw was designated chef and set about preparing his feast. What the others did not realise was that dsw had inadvertently purchased some kangaroo meat instead of the traditional beef. So the team settled down to some kangaroo kebabs and burgers and cleared the lot before dsw told them what they had eaten.
We finally got to take a surf lesson in our next destination, Noosa. We were in a surf group of about 10 people with a lot of kids in our group. The first girl to try to stand up on the board absolutely nailed it and surfed all the way to shore. Dave and I looked at each other and in unison said 'f***ing Hell!!'. After a while pretty much everyone was up on their boards looking gnarly and rad but there was one exception. ME. If i am honest I was pretty awful and stood once for about 1.5 seconds and swallowed gallons of salt water. Despite being s***, it was good fun and I imagine more surf stories will fill journal entries in the future.
We are currently in Brisbane where the girls are visiting Australia Zoo and me and Dave are off to Hooters. The Trout joins the team tomorrow and we plan to do some in-line skating around the city. - Could be interesting!!!
If there is no journal before, Merry Christmas and a properous New Year from the boys in Oz!!