Change of Plans

After three weeks of perfect weather here in Airlie Beach, a storm pushed into town on the eve of our departure to go out sailing, snorkeling, watching whales, etc. So we had to cancel our adventure and are now going to head north to Townsville, Cairns and Port Douglas. We will still be able to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef from the northern cities so that is something to look forward to. I’m just a little sad because I was looking forward to this for a very long time — something better was meant to be, I guess :)

Hello Great Barrier Reef…

I have officially been gone six months! Whew, where did the time go?  I have been on the road for 4 months – living without electricity, running water or refrigeration.  It has been quite an adventure.  Some days are definitely tougher than others.  But that is where I will look back and laugh or think, wow, I sure learned a lot about myself.

In the weeks since I last wrote….we have traveled about 1200 kilometers north.  We spent one week in Bundaberg (Bagara) with our friends that we met in Port Macquarie (that had our same van).  We celebrated my 33rd Birthday with fresh Mackerel and a delicious chocolate, cream and strawberry cake and went fishing out in the ocean on the dawn of my birthday.  We really enjoyed our time with our friends and will miss them!  I will always remember the deep fried strawberry dessert.  Thank you Greg, Rebecca, Tahlija, Jayke, Alvy and Jeremy.

As we drove along the major highway, (which is just a two lane road that heads north and south), we passed a few big cities, but nothing much. We stopped at “1770” as we were heading north out of Bagara – This is where Captain Cook first set foot on Australia in 1770. There is also a National Park “Eungella” (pron: young-gulla) just west of Mackay, where we drove up into the mountains and were able to catch a glimpse of the timid and much smaller than expected, Duck Billed Platypus.  There was a viewing platform that was built near their underwater den, which allowed those who were patient to view them swimming.  This was quiet a surreal moment because I remember first reading about them in ZooBooks as a child.  And here I was, in Australia, at the best spot in the world to view them.  Sounds silly, but I was excited.

We arrived in Airlie Beach on the 1st of August.  Awaiting a package from my family (music, waterproof camera, Burt’s Bees Wax, etc).  This is a very tropical and beautiful area of Australia.  The Great Barrier Reef is just east of us and so are the Whitsunday Islands.  There are 75 islands that can be visited or snorkeled and such.  On Monday we will be venturing out on a sailing trip aboard a Catamaran for a 3 day / 3 night adventure.  We were told that we might see Humpback Whales, possibly swim with Manta Rays, snorkel the GBR, fish off the back of the Catamaran etc.  I am so excited to see the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.  This is one of the Worlds Greatest Natural Wonders – I hope to take some amazing pictures of the Reef — thanks to Matt for posting his waterproof digital camera to me.  And just a fact for those worriers, there has never been a shark attack on the GBR and we do not need to worry about marine stingers as they are only there in the summer season. (So don’t worry Mom – I will call you when I get back to the shore on Thursday) :)

I was in the grocery store the other night and decided to go down the “Pet Supplies” isle.  I found myself looking at Wild Bird Seed and on the package were Sulfur Crested Cockatoo’s and Galah Cockatoo’s.  This made me laugh because to us (Americans) those birds are pet birds not wild backyard birds.  They are plentiful over here and every morning we are awoken by the screaming of cockatoos as they fly overhead.  In fact a pair has mated and lives in the tree on the property we are staying on.  They dance and flap their wings and up goes their colorful mohawk! This country is a bird lovers heaven!

Love to all my family and friends – I dearly miss you all!