We left Bundeburg at luch time and drove to Rockhampton - it was a long drive but its got to be done! There are some really amazing veiws as you trundel along the road - just what you'd expect from Australia, although things are beginning to look a bit more tropical as we head up the coast! The drives aren't too dull though - we spend alot of travelling games like " guess whats just fallen off the back shelf on that bump" and " which cupboard door was that that just flung its guts everywhere"! Oh the joys!! I think Ed might be getting a little board with Rachels singing - theres only so many musicals you can cope with on a 350k drive!
Rockhampton was a bit dead and we drove around looking for some signs of life among the many streets with closed shops! We eventually found some people so we parked and followed them ( i know that sounds a little scary but when you've just got eachother for company 24/7 strangers look really appealing!) There was a live band playing at one of the pubs so we stopped there for a couple of drinks - the atmoshpere was great - really chilled and we sat with some guys from Brisbane - they told us to leave rockhampton as soon as the sun rose! it seems that there are no real locals there - everyone leaves after a max of 6 months! The band was really funny - they sang all the usuals - but when they couldn't remember the words they made up their own! Brilliant! We went and found a campsite by the river and as we were parking up read a sign that said " do not cross the line - Crocodiles live on this bank! We stayed in the camper that night!
I don't think for one minute that this peice of news reached the Uk but incase it did - we were put on Tsunami warning (monday Morning) because of the earthquake by the soloman islands. I know that they were damaged but luckily it didn't reach us and the warning was stopped at mid morning.
We left Rockhampton in the morning and went to an Aboriginal Centre where we went on a guided tour and learnt about stencile art ( they chew on a red tree bark then spit it all over the rocks using their hands as the stencil! Every print meant something different). We learnt about the history of how they lived and worked and how white people affected them when they arrived. We listened to the didgeredoo being played and learnt how to throw a boomarang! Both Ed and Mine came back! It was quite impressive! ( Don't worry James - we'll show you how when we get back!)
We had another long drive from there to Mackay.We got there early evening so we went for a bit of a drive around before settling down for the night - i have been eaten alive by midges, flys and ants and i think at a count now i have over a hundred bites - all of them itchy! i look like a mad woman scratching at myself and all Ed can say is " seriosly Rachel - get a grip!" then he gets one tiny bite and the whole of Oz knows about it! MEN EH?!!
We had a look around Mackay in the morning and went to the beach in the afternoon to top up the tan before driving on to Airlie Beach where we are now. We met up with Matt and Bryon again as they are here too and went out for some drinks! Oh its a small world!
We booked in on some boat trips aroung the Whitsunday islands so it was an early start to make it down to the harbour. We went on a sail boat Catamaran called " Camira" It was a whole day trip and we sailed out around the Whitsunday Islands ( we got up to 20knotts at one point and for those who sail at home - thats pretty quick!) We stopped at Whitehaven Beach ( its meant to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world) It was very Beautiful! We doned our stinger suits - thats right - don't get in the water without one coz you might not make it out alive!! I was just a tad nervous if i'm honest with you! We went for a swim and there was nothing too scary - one little kid said he saw a baby shark but no-one was really sure if that was quite right! We were then taken for some snorkling on a reef just offshore of Hook Island. It was quite murky and the currents were pretty strong so we didn't stay in too long. Before we knew it we'd been pulled past the snorkling area and out to some rocks! We all called the boat back so we could get out and they said swim back! If we could swim back we would of! As the boat shot off into the distance about 20 gobsmaked people started swimming, we swam for a good 5 minutes and got absolutly nowhere! Luckily the boat came back and hoicked us out the water telling us the current had got pretty strong! LIKE WE DIDN"T KNOW!!! Still we got back on the "Camira" and were given afternoon tea so all was forgiven! We got back to the Harbour around 5.30 and made our way back to the campsite - at half eight we wondered if it was too early for bed coz we were both exhausted - Ed fell asleep under the table - so we decided bed was a good option and we were out for the count by 9!
Thursday morning we were up early again because we were going to the Great Barrier Reef for some snorkling!! We got on the boat and as we were leaving the Harbour Rachel saw a Turtle! (I was so excited!!) It took a few hours to make it out there and the waters got a bit rough - Ed loved it of course but I had to concentrate very hard on where i'd be thrown next so as not to loose my breakfast! We made it in one peice and stopped at a poontoon by a part of the reef called Knuckle Reef. There was an underwater veiwing area so we checked that out ( just to see what nasty things we may encounter!) Jumped in some wetsuits and were off! This is were i ask my family " Do all Causleys have a strange shaped head so that every mask leaks or is it just me?!" I spluttered and splashed my way around while ed did his finest "i am the water - the water is me " impression! We did see lots of beautiful coral and lots of parrot fish! We also saw a hugh Maori Bass ( the size of a pillow!) We went back in for lunch then Ed put on some Scuba gear while i sunbathed. Ed obviously had a wicked time because when he came back you couldn't see his face for the grin! We said it was amazing - you felt totally weightless in the water and could really study the fish around you! They came really close too and they saw a huge colourful fish that seemed really interested in Ed - i think its because they were roughly the same size! When he came back we went Snorkling again and I managed to find a mask that was abnormal coz it fit! We splashed about for another half hour or so befroe the boat had to leave and then we were back out on the open sea again! They showed finding Nemo on the way back which was cool - it kept my mind off the fact that the waves were trying to eat us! I moved to a window seat to try and watch the waves and just as i stood up we went over a huge one and i went flying! Sods law!! We made it back alive and went out for a few drinks before bed! We were rudely awakened this morning by Cookaburras laughing - its not something you hear everyday - they are very noisy birds!
Today we're going to head up to townsville about 400ks so i'm going to go and warm my voice up so i can re-inact Chicargo for Ed!!!