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AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 1 November 2008 | Views [758] | Comments [1]

I went for the major travel foul and came back to the east coast on the same route I got out to the Red Centre. And I also learned from my past mistakes and hitched again with a random car full of strangers who were, once again, all Germans. This time it was a couple who could barely speak english and rarely went to the effort, and a girl who could speak english so well she did with an American accent (having spent a year in Missouri for high school). But everyone had much more easy going personalities. They weren't as polite as the first group, choosing to speak german most of the time while I could only sit there stupidly. But they acted more like normal people! And that was enough for me.

We did actually go a different way once we reached Cloncurry, choosing to go east rather than north. The idea was to go north to Cairns once we reached Townsville on the east coast, and I presume that's what happened, but I got out at Townsville. My goal, and practically the whole reason I came back to the east coast was to find a sailboat to take me south on an island tour. I called ahead to an internet cafe in Cairns that I knew was by the the noticeboard on the crazy hope they'd check it for me to see if there were any sailboats headed south. Well, they did check, and there were none, so that saved me at least a couple days and a bus ticket. Townsville seemed just as likely a place, and besides, I had been invited to stay at Carlie's mom's house on Magnetic Island, a large island just off the coast from Townsville.

I didn't seen any sailing notices in Townsville either, so Magnetic Island it was. Maggie was just what I needed. It's an easy going tropical island famous for a large concentration of wildlife, great bushwalking, and beautiful deserted beaches. And Sharn, Carlie's mom, just made it so much better. She had four other guests at the time besides me - her niece and her niece's baby, and two WWOOFers. So I had to sleep on the verandah, but besides a possum eating some of my food, that was just fine, and I went to sleep to the sounds of the multitude of critters all around every night.

But yeah, Sharn - she was awesome. I think she's a buddhist, very into yoga, and I could even hear her do some kind of chant at night that I assume was meditation. But the important thing is that she fixed us really good, gourmet food, two or three meals a day . All I'd have to do is wash some dishes, help the WWOOFers do some work, and then have the rest of the day to go to the beach, snorkel, and do some bushwalking, which Sharn was happy to facilitate if need be. We did a walk up to some old World War 2 forts and some koalas in the trees right there. The next day I spent the whole afternoon exploring everything else worth seeing, getting to some amazing views in the mountains, and exploring hidden coves and bays.

I left on monday - far too soon, but I was still hoping for finding a sailing trip in the sailing capital of Australia - Airlie Beach, gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, possibly the most beautiful archipelago of tropical islands in Australia. I was fearing the worst, but found a couple of promising flyers, and called all the numbers I could - no luck, they either didn't answer or had already left. That sucked, but the next day I got an incredible last-minute (standby) deal on a 2 day, 2 night sailing trip, for $190 when they are usually $329. Fortunately, I only had to put down a $45 deposit, because then one of the yachties called me back, still looking for crew! So of course I said yes, but was still skeptical. He said, "we'll leave saturday - or sunday, or monday" which I knew could mean next month. He himself wasn't even in Airlie Beach at the time. But it actually all turned out to be legit, and I'm setting sail tommorrow after waiting here nearly a week! While I've been waiting, by the way, I was able to do some great bushwalks in Conway National Park that led to amazing lookouts of the Whitsunday passage, giving me a juicy preview of what I'm in for now. So that was cool, but now the real adventure begins - we'll sail the Whitsundays for a couple of days, then head south to nearby Mackay, where I'll fly out of to Brisbane.



I'm blown away again by your adventures and descriptions ! One comment--- don't trust germans ! Oops, I guess you're 1/4 one or something. so, so happy for you, blake. Your mom and dad are too, and proud for your determination. I also admire what you are deeming imp.-- the nature ! great Sailing and even better times ahead. We all are living vicariously. xo

  Auntie Lavinia Nov 3, 2008 8:34 AM

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