Finally, leaving Airlie Beach behind, I headed to the place where Australia began. The Town of 1770 (/Agnes Water) is the place where Captain Cook first landed in, funnily enough, 1770. There is not a lot to see except a beautiful coastline.
The main thing to do here is ScooterRoo-ing and, boy was it worth it! Basically, you hire a Chopper (mini Harley Davison) and spend several hours driving around the Australian countryside looking for kanagroos. And what a sight the owner of this amazing adventure was! He rocks up in skinny jeans, and being a skinny person can pull this off, with massive biker boots plus ScooterRoo t-shirt. On his head is a skull bandana pulled tight. To top off the outfit he has grown a mustasche that droops down in true biker style. Awesome.
There were about 50 of us taking part in the ride that afternoon. We got given leather biker jackets and a proper biker helmet. Next we were let loose to choose our chopper. There were rows of these gleaming machines, all in different styles and colours. Such a sight. Once we were seated, we got given instructions on how to use them. Their selling point is that anyone can ride a chopper provided they have at least a provisional license and can ride a bicycle. I was glad though I had had some practice in Thailand. I would not like to have set off and then lost my balance in front all the people! I was one of the first girls to set off on the adventure and it was great to have the freedom of transport again, even if it was on a set path with so many other people.
If you can picture 50 choppers riding down an open country road, with the occasional lorry stuck behind, then you will have an idea of what ScooterRoo is about. At first we had to stick together, not overtake, and to go slowly until everyone got use to the bikes. Then when comfortable we could speed up and overtake the annoying bikers in front! At one point I was doing aout 80kms per hour, which may not be normally fast but felt like I was 'zooming'. I had to hold my helmet on as the wind was trying to pull it off. At one point our guide spotted some kanagroos in the distance. We duly trooped off to have a look but 50 people wandering towards them soon scared them off. I did spot several along the roadside but unfortuantely all were dead.
Then we had a long stretch of empty road and were able to pick up speed so I went full throttle enjoying the feeling of the wind on my face. Totally chilled out and loving the ride, I suddenly spotted some movement at the side of the road ahead of me. Before I could blink a lurking kangaroo decided that this would be an ideal time to cross the road and jumped out just ahead of me. I had to rapidly break and swerve to avoid hitting it. Luckily no one else was near but it was certainly a close call. Got to see a kangaroo close up though!
The ride ended with nachos on the beach watching the sunset. Returning my bike and gear made me realise I definitely want to be a biker when I grow up! What a trip. It was the best ever!
I got back to my hostel at about 6.30pm and had a bus booked to take me further south to Rainbow Beach at 6.30am the next morning. You might know that this had been the one day I decided to leave my phone behind to charge and, of course, had missed a call. Checking the message I found it was from Prosail to see if I could come back because they now had work avaliable but they didn't say when. What about them saying no work until September??!!! It was early evening so the office had already closed. What a dilemma. If I caught my bus as planned then I would be 16 hours further south from Airlie Beach. However, if there was work avaliable then I wanted to take it. After a few phone calls I managed to get hold of the HR Manager. The shift was in 2 days time and that there would be plenty of work available after that. I agreed to take it and then had the dilemma of how to get back to Airlie in time. Checking the bus options I found there was only one possibility and it required me to leave the hostel in an hour! I prayed that the bus driver would let me buy a ticket on board.
I rushed to collect my things and checked out of the hostel but with a promise that if I could not get on the bus there would still be a bed for me. Getting to the Greyhound stop I waited in trepidation. Greyhound bus drivers are normally surly things and I was dreading the conversation. However, my luck was with me and it turned out that the driver was the happiest guy in the world. He let me on and even gave me the internet price as opposed to the standby price. God bless him! So with that, I was on my way back to Airlie Beach to work as a deckhand on Maxi boats. No more backpacking for me for a while.