Koh Tao & Travelling – day 384

Up and sprightly, I convinced Katherine it was a good idea to come with me to get the ferry tickets early before the queues. We were the first to register for that scheduled ferry, and while we were earlier than the lady at the counter would probably have liked, we at least had our tickets and stickers to get us on board. That was the main thing. Over at 7 Eleven we got some plain yogurt to go with the last of our muesli and we strolled past a selection of the multitude of dive centres for the last jaunt up the hill and home. The ‘garden’ resort was still a bit dead despite the recent rain storm and maintenance, but we enjoyed having our brekkie out on the deck one last time. img_0639img_0640
Shoals of tiny silver fish rotated in a hypnotic tornado fashion, becoming greater and smaller bait balls in a graceful fluid motion. The people on the jetty throwing bread in to the water, 90% of the time not reaching the fish, didn’t realise the harm they were causing. The jerky movements of the fish attracted larger fish to their whereabouts and a few of them were picked off for an early breakfast.
img_0642On the ferry, we found seats near the front left (i.e. towards the bow on the port side), remembering what it was like to sit downwind of someone who hadn’t wash in a month and the door to the deck slamming constantly on the last trip. So, it was an easy cruise to the mainland with rock formations and small islands becoming more frequent as we got closer to our destination.
Queueing up for the bus tickets, the company had the whole thing well organised. If only they would enforce the rules about where people could and couldn’t smoke – moving twice to escape the clouds engulfing us. The seats on the bus got muddled up. Youngsters sitting wherever they wanted confused the ticket lady whom was ensuring we were in our allocated spots. It backfired on the girl behind me as the seat was broken and stuck in a reclining position. Ha!img_0644Stopping at a sizeable bus stop/restaurant, we were the only tourists who braved the local noodle soup. Everyone else opted for meat on a stick and/or Pringles. We did get an ice cream as a treat as well – more expensive than the meal. img_0646
We eventually got back to the capital, the iPad battery had just about managed to last (with the help of a battery pack) and we were deposited just north of the infamous Koh San Road. We hoped that the ferry would be running at this time of night and headed in that direction. Alas, a quick chat with a police officer and he told us it was closed at this time. So, we decided that the best thing to do was get a taxi. But, with traffic being a nightmare so close to the palace grounds and touristy area, we walked for about half an hour southwards, towards the bend in the river and flagged down a taxi from there. Got back to our trusty hostel, to have to argue with them about the room and price. The usual girl had gone on holiday and the Ines left behind, although they knew us and could see the frequency of our stays on the system, decided they wanted to be arsy about the whole thing. It got sorted, we had dinner with our favourite restaurant of all time and called it a night. img_0648Tuesday 25th October 2016

Travelling & Koh Tao – day 379

Up, showered and dressed, we started pulling stuff together and into packing cubes. We stopped when we got the signal that breakfast was ready. We were going to miss the owners, the resort, our strip of au natural beach and the sound of the waves. Katherine finished the packing and I did a bit of a spring clean on the beach. I didn’t want the plastics washing back out to sea at the next tide or for a large pile ending up on the bungalow steps when it got in to full monsoon season. A quick zip around filling up only one plastic bag and I must have got about a dozen cigarette lighters and thrice that in bottle caps. I think the scorn from a princess at the posh resort next to us was a bit much – rubbish that everyone throws at the side of the road, in to the stream or sea will eventually end up in a pile like this, and because of the extortionate price tag on her room, the hotel can afford cleaners to take it over to other sections of the beach. I felt good for doing only a small bit, but she had annoyed me. Grrr!img_2660Another free ride in to town, we arrived well before our ferry was due to depart. Thus, we exchanged our travel agency docket for our stickers and ferry tickets. Plenty of time for Pad Thai noodles from a little stand in the ferry terminal grounds. Queued up in a well organised system and found seats out of the way with the air conditioning keeping the cabin a bit cooler than outside. Screams from some lads outside kept annoying people as it was a bit like crying ‘wolf’, everyone thinking that something had happened, but that it was only them messing about on the stern. We arrived and joined the throngs of people milling down the jetty to get out in to the town. Katherine and a few others were misfortunate to be stuck behind some girls that couldn’t even lift their backpacks, let alone get it on themselves. We eventually met at the end of the walkway and proceeded to walk in the direction of our resort. Another case of wrong location on the part of Booking.com, the owner of Happy Bungalow wasn’t impressed that this issue still hadn’t been fixed and hundreds of tourists want to walk through his establishment to find a non-existent resort. We did find our place (he knew exactly where it was) and settled in to a cosy little hut.We went for a walk across the beach. We’ve never been anywhere before that had so many dive centres in such a small area. Everyone was trying to undercut someone else on a particular package. It was astounding that there was a steady stream of dive boats passing off shore and students sitting around hotel pools and wading in/out of the beach. We might have to look in to some diving. For now, we walked the beach, enjoyed some crisps and electrolyte drinks on a rock and dodged the minefield of jellies hiding in the sand next to the clear plastic bags.We didn’t know where to eat. Everywhere seemed to be doing the same type of food, with varying degrees of success. Some places were jointed, while others were a ghost town. Plus, the further we got away from the tourists and main beach, the cheaper it got. So, we tried a small place near the garage and resort, as you’ve guessed it, that had some locals eating there – always a good sign. Fed and watered and more tired than expected from the heat, we called it a night and watched the iPad for a bit before trying to sleep on the bed donated by the Flinstones.Thursday 20th October 2016

Travelling – day 340

Typical… The day we have to set an alarm is the day that I don’t wake up ridiculously early of my own accord. Really wanted to throw the phone against the wall when it woke me up with its shrill musical sound. Fortunately, Jayne was in a much more functioning and capable humour. Up we got, showered, dressed and packed up our bags, ready to start the adventure again after three days of practically being hermits. Took ages for us to check out as the reception lady had gone walk-abouts and the cleaner just kept repeating ‘2 minutes’ to us. Fortunately, we weren’t in a rush so used the opportunity of an empty reception to steal a few of the lychee sweets that were in the bowl. 

All checked out and good to go, we started walking towards the oriental ferry terminal. Now, I’m going to openly admit that in all the time we were in Australia we didn’t have any problems with anyone. Within five minutes of walking down the road in Bangkok, I had already been told that ‘I eat too much’ and that the ‘ferry closed on Sunday but TukTuk good price’… Oh, how I had blissfully blocked out the joys of SE Asia. Even though we’ve been here several times before and travelled this area for the 8 months prior to Australia, the culture shock was a huge smack in the face – as was the fact we had a culture shock to begin with!! Kind of assumed we’d slip straight back into the Asian way of travelling, but it might actually take a few days to get back in the swing! That being said, walking down the back streets of Bangkok was nice and the ticket man at the ferry terminal restored my faith in humanity by making me laugh. Kept saying he was from ‘wetland’ and did I know it?!? When I said ‘no’ he seemed really shocked. We then suddenly realised he meant ‘Scotland’.Jumped on the really crowded ferry that took us up the river. Clearly there has been a big push in recent years to clean up the river with a huge reduction in water pollution and signs everywhere warning of big fines for littering. Dropping all the other ‘white’ tourists at the Grand Palace, we were the only ones left going to Thonburi stop for the station. Jayne managed to navigate us via the hospital to find the station. Got our tickets and then waited for the train. Leaving me with the bags at the station on benches that looked like they may have been recycled pews from a church, she headed off to look around the food market. Couldn’t quite tell if it was a night market or a morning market but at the time we were there it was a little bit deserted. Bought lunch from a street vendor – papaya salad, rice and meat kebabs. Jayne described them as mystery meat but I recognised one of them as chicken hearts. Not sure what they others were but they tasted good, so who cares?!?The train journey up to Kanchanburi was pretty easy although we were both struggling with the heat and humidity. The scenery was lush and green, baring in mind it is the wet season, and there was plenty to occupy us for the three hour journey. A Thai gentleman kept walking past us and telling us that it was ‘hot’ and then sat down next to us to say that The Beatles were his favourite band. He then proceeded to sing the opening one line from a large repertoire of their hits… It was actually really sweet, except when we tried to join in and he didn’t understand our English pronunciation, so had no idea what song we were singing… It was slightly embarrassing!!!  Arriving in Kanchanburi, we walked the 10 minutes to our guesthouse and checked in. Payed a little bit extra to sleep in one of their ‘raft’ rooms which meant we were literally sleeping on top of the river Kwai. We also had an awesome view of the river so we spent some time on our veranda enjoying the soothing sound of the water and the gentle rocking of the deck… Until the jet skis and party boat went past!!Headed back into town to grab some water and breakfast supplies from the shop, then to the night market to get some food. An amazing array of sights, sounds and smells, we were absolutely spoilt for choice and were glad we were staying for a couple more nights so we could sample as much as possible!! Had a cheeky chocolate cake as we walked around the markets before getting a fried ham and cheese sandwich to snack on as we purchased our main meal. Bought a sample of Thai dishes to take back to the guesthouse and a slurpee too (I haven’t had one of those in ages!!!). Ate back in our room, enjoying the air conditioning before having a quick shower to rinse of the day’s grime from the train. We then snuggled in bed watching some episodes of ‘Friends’. 

Oh – Happy Wedding Anniversary to Mags & Tom and Cathal & Maur. 

Sunday 11th September 2016

Kangaroo Island – day 325/15

All woke up toasty warm from leaving the little heater on all night. On the plus side, our feet weren’t freezing lumps of ice. On the negative side, the aroma of three women slowing cooking in their own body juices in what can only be described as a miniature oven was an experience that none of us are keen to experience anytime soon. We tucked into our free hostel breakfast before packing up the car and heading out for the day. 
Driving to the north coast of Kangaroo Island, we headed for the ‘secret beach’ that was recommended to us by Lyndi and Sarah. Apparently a bit of a challenge to find unless you have inside information, we headed for the RockPool Café and went to explore. Stokes Bay was absolutely stunning in its own right, with beautifully clear turquoise waters which were captivating in even the cold. However, to the very right end of the beach there was a secret sign directing us behind some rocks. At some point in time someone was clever/crazy enough to blast through the cliffs and create access to a secret beach. It took some ducking and weaving through the narrow caves, which was particularly difficult for Jayne and I as we are so tall – Tracey hopped, skipped and jumped through like a sure footed mountain goat, to reach this mysterious piece of paradise.Wandered along the shore for a while, enjoying the tranquility of the completely deserted beach. The rapidly incoming tide cut our time short on the beach especially as waves started lapping into the entrance of the caves. 

Next stop was only just down the road at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. Opened in January 1992 and sold to the current owners in 2013, the wildlife park is home to over 150 species of Native Australian wildlife and houses over 600 animals! We were fortunate enough to arrive in time for the koala talk, where we got to enter the enclosure with these cuddly bundles of fur, stroking them and posing for photos. Learning loads about my new favourite animal, I was delighted to find out that Jayne had paid for me to have a koala holding experience. Standing over to a quiet corner of the park, I was given Alfie to hold. 10kg of gorgeousness, as I was the only one with a koala experience, I got to hold him for ages!As you can see from the photos, this was definitely one of the best experiences of my life and thanks so much to Jayne and Tracey who happily stood around as I cuddled and stroked that koala. Slightly concerning moment when he started sniffing my neck. Thinking it was just a cute snugly thing, the keeper seemed a little worried. Apparently it is the start of their mating ritual, just before they start biting your neck and humping you – clearly I smell like a horny koala…

Reluctantly giving him back, we headed out to the rest of the park – small birds, nesting cassowaries, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, penguins, farm animals, snakes, crocodiles and reptiles. They are currently building a new enclosure for dingoes (which was currently closed to the public but we spotted the dingo puppies being walked around the grounds and got to have a quick cuddle with them too!). Found a quiet picnic bench to eat some lunch whilst we watched the world go by and got to watch the next group of people do the koala experience. A much larger group, they only got to hold the koala for a couple of minutes each before he went back into the enclosure – I was definitely lucky! Treating ourselves to an ice cream from the shop, we were delighted to discover that a major ice cream brand was using local ingredients to make the different flavours. Tracey and Jayne both chose the Kangaroo Island honey with pistachio flavour while I played it safe with a cookies and cream. 

Back in the road again, we headed for Island Pure sheep dairy which is a 260 hectare grazing property situated on the banks of the Cygnet River and Gum Creek. Opened in 1992, twice a day the ewes wander in to a purpose-built dairy to be milked before heading back into the paddock. The dairy makes a range of cheese and yoghurt products which are entirely homemade on site. We began with a tasting season where we got to sample all of the products that they have available to buy. My favourite was the Cygnet cheese (a semi-matured manchego) whereas Jayne preferred La Casuarinas (a feta) and Tracey loved the Ravine Des Casoars (halloumi). We then watched an informative DVD which explained about cheese making before getting a visit of the factory and watched the sheep being milked. A truly fascinating experience, especially as I used to be a ‘young farmer’. The milking process we saw for these sheep is similar to that when milking cows, except, that they only milk half of the sheep at each time and then swap the milking teats over. 

Having watched Tracey stock up on cheese products (mostly halloumi), we headed off to our next stop of KI Spirits. Walking past the 80 litre copper pot which is still used to hand make their entire premium range, we sampled several different gins, spirits and liqueurs. Tracey treated herself to a coffee whilst I bought a drink of the ‘Old Tom Gin’. It was incredible and clearly I have expensive taste. It is the award winning drink of Oz and cost a small fortune per bottle – however, it slid down my throat like liquid gold! It didn’t need any form of chaser and I would have been quite happy drinking it as a digestif most evenings!Last stop on our quick tour of the island was the pelicans. These massive birds have become accustomed to a daily feeding frenzy from a local man, who regularly gets into trouble for feeding the wildlife. Not entirely sure how we felt about it, we were delighted to hear that these birds are often present at this site an hour before the feeding time begins. As we made our way to a small, wooden amphitheatre set above the rocks that lined the harbour there were half-a-dozen of the birds perched on the rocks, along with a similar number of silver gulls. We watched the birds fly around and land nearby, waving their voraciously snapping beaks as they premed their feathers and waited for an easy meal.  Driving back towards the ferry, we kept our eyes open for any last sighting of kangaroos before catching the ferry. We filled up with fuel, having a slightly bizarre moment when the pump wouldn’t let us fill up the tank anymore but the gauge said the tank was only half full. A quick call to Hertz to explain the issue and we were reassured that sometimes the gauge takes a while to move. Sounded slightly fishy, we weren’t in a position to argue as we couldn’t put in any more fuel from the only petrol station in town and the office was closed. Had a pub meal as our last night together as a threesome on this holiday – I, unfortunately, had major food envy of Jaynes beef schnitzel but she gave me some in exchange for my salt & pepper squid so it all worked out (she is so good to me!).Catching the ferry across the bay, we boarded the Sealink bus to take us back to Adelaide. The bus driver seemed to double up as the local postman as he stopped several times along he route to check the post boxes for letters and putting them in the bus (or we had just witnessed some very unstealthy post thief!). One of the passengers had a very loud and irritating laugh so Jayne and I fell asleep to block him out. Tracey took this opportunity to take unflattering photos of the two of us as we snored gently in the seats behind her. Arrived in Adelaide and made our way to the YHA. Clearly during the two weeks together, we still haven’t realised that Tracey can’t walk as quickly as we can… Sorry Tracey for walking too fast and that you had to remind us for the umpteen time! Fortunately, we were able to make our beds without worrying about waking anyone up, as all our roommates where out and we quickly fell into bed and passed out. 

Saturday 27th August 2016

Adelaide – day 323/13

The night bus rumbled on through the wee hours with our skilled bus driver carefully traversing the road and dodging kangaroos, yes that’s right, two of them, finally, on the road, nearly being killed. Not what I was hoping for.

There were a few small stops to drop off and pick up passengers but mostly a quiet journey with little to report…..until Port Augusta.

We got in around 2am for the drivers fatigue management stop that would include fuelling the bus. Now that we were all awake we ventured into the roadhouse for flavoured milks and chocolate. I observed the guy who was working the roadhouse, he was a slow man, perhaps he’d had more than his fair share of the food or was just a lazy lazy man because I’ve never seen anyone work so slow for money in my life. It was painful! I felt like jumping the counter and taking over.

Around 2.45am we all jumped back on the bus and got settled for the next 3.75hrs into Adelaide. We were all trying to get some shut eye when it occurred to me that I was cold, really cold, in fact reezing. To add to this was the unceremonious stench of foul body odour as some of our fellow passengers had clearly forgotten what deodorant was invented for. Add to that the full 45 minute break that some passengers spent chain smoking and it felt like the smell was basically slapping us in the face repeatedly screaming “NO SLEEP FOR YOU” over and over again. It was like some kind of prisoner torture or behind the scenes at Guantanamo Bay.

Bring on 6.30am! I’ve never been so happy to pull into a bus station in my life! The bus driver announced our arrival and apologised about the air conditioning which had been stuck on since we left Port Augusta. Now go back and read the last paragraph. That’s 3.75hrs with the aircon on, whilst on a night bus, that smelt like death when it was only 4 degrees Celsius outside. We were all shattered.

We regrouped to make the hard decisions on what to do until 3.45 pm when we had to be back at the bus station again for our transfer to the Kangaroo Island Ferry. We got our bearings and realised that the Adelaide YHA where we were staying on Saturday was literally around the corner. We decided to throw ourselves on there mercy preying that the 20 something, beany wearing, guitar playing, finding himself young man wouldn’t be a dick and let us use their facilities as we were freezing and desperate. Luckily said young man was clever, gracious and generous and clearly knew by looking at us that if he said no that one of us would jump the counter, the other would clearly injure him whilst the last of us would break his guitar. That’s how cold we were, we were on the edge, it was the perfect storm, all three of us had synced, our moods were black and deadly like a ninja.

After using every drop of hot water we could to recover, we pushed the boundaries more and managed to get our bags stored and a security card that let us use everything until we left that afternoon.

We headed off to Rundle Mall and headed straight to Mc Donald’s. The only place that could get us all back on track. We wandered through the mall where I bought my obligatory “Big Issue” and then proceeded to buy the biggest hard cover book on floristry that I could carry, it was 40% off, what a bargain. Of course it weighed a tonne and I then had to lug it around all day….We managed to find a bus stop for the free solar powered tourist bus that goes around Adelaide, great idea, solar powered, amazing, should be more of them….then the announcement came through, change buses to the one in front, this bus needs to go back and charge up, I guess that’s the equivalent of running out of fuel. Tourist bus fail!So, we were off again on one the high polluting diesel bus and off on a loop of the city and the northern suburbs when I remembered to tell the girls that Adelaide is called the city of churches, hence why there are so many churches.After getting our bearings we headed off to walk along the Adelaide river to the zoo, where we saw a lot of ducks, bird life and a pelican. There were of course the Lycra mafia with there bell ringing and unflattering rear views, just because people in the Tour de France wear Lycra , doesn’t mean everybody should. We decided not to go to the zoo as I think we only wanted to see the pandas and couldn’t really be bothered doing anything to energetic as we were definitely the walking dead.

We strolled through the botanical gardens and generally just enjoyed the sunshine. We saw a sign for a wine appreciation centre in the botanical gardens and thought why not? Well it turned out to be as elusive as the red kangaroos in the outback.We wandered through Adelaides Central Market which is the biggest farmers market in Australia and marvelled at the produce, cakes and meat. We couldn’t really buy much as we only had a few days before heading back to Melbourne. A quick trip to Coles and we walked back to the YHA. A quick late lunch, some productive time for the girls as they booked their Tasmania leg of the tour and it was time to gather our bags and head back to the bus station.Unlike the overnight bus this was a lovely transfer that took us from Adelaide to Jervis Bay 1.5 hrs south to get to the ferry terminal. The countryside was beautiful and I thoroughly fell in love with it. Rolling hills, cows, sheep, vineyards, olive groves and kangaroos, hundreds of them, no not the elusive red kangaroos, the ever reliable, proves our kangaroos are the best, eastern grey kangaroos!! I chatted with some ladies on the bus who worked for Sealink the tourist company that run the ferries and for tours on the island. Lindy and Sarah spent the entire 45 minute ferry ride to Kangaroo island telling us all the good spots to go and marked them on a map. We docked by 7pm and walked the 100 metres to the YHA. Well that was nice and easy! We checked in, made dinner and drank wine and chatted with Cedric who was an older guy who has bought land and is going to build a house himself and Amanda, an over the top Canadian girl who was pretty full on and swore more than me of which I thought not possible! We all chatted a while during which Amanda proceeded to constantly hold my arm which was a little weird as I didn’t know her! I don’t mind a little in appropriate touching but I’d prefer it from Brad Pitt. We hit the sack, excited by the fact that there were thick mattresses on the beds. We hiked up the heater in the room as it was cold and tucked ourselves in for the night after a couple of sleep deprived days. I think the litre of wine and exhaustion worked well together as I don’t think I moved until my alarm went off the next morning.

Thursday 25th August 2016

Townsville & Travelling – day 307

I hadn’t noticed any of our roommates coming back at various stages during the night but woke when the large gentleman decided that, since he was awake at 6am, he would say good morning and chat to each and every other person in the room as they got up, regardless of other people sleeping… You could tell that everyone was getting more uncomfortable as he got louder and louder, as their answers went from being sparse to non-existent! With everyone out of the room by 7am, we decided to cut our losses and got up too. We both showered and dressed before heading outside to have more breakfast of champions (fruit toast with cashew nut spread). Went back to the room to pack up our bags before checking out and catching the local island bus to the ferry terminal. An easy 30 minute journey back to the mainland where we decided to head to the nearby aquarium and turtle hospital before catching our bus to Cairns later that day. We had planned to leave our bags at the ferry terminal but the $8 locker fee seemed incredibly excessive, especially since we’ve never paid more than half that amount (even in the major cities) and you could only open the locker once. Decided to just carry our bags around the aquarium so walked the short distance to Reef HQ. After buying our tickets, which they gave to us at concession price, they even offered to store our bags for free! Locking our bags in what I imagine is the schools cupboard, we were free to explore the largest coral reef display in the world. 

A staggering 2.5 million litres of water flow through the coral-reef tank, which is home to 140 coral and 120 fish species. They have separated out the ‘predator’ fish as they want to preserve the marine life and reduce the amount of of coral being eaten. They have also separated the male and female zebra sharks to reduce the amount of breeding although the female shark has started laying eggs by cloning herself (parentogenesis), one of the first times it has ever been seen in captivity. We had arrived just in time for the dive talk which took place in their theatre. A segregated room with seating that had a view window of the predator tank with one of the aquarists kitted out in a full face mask with built in microphone so he could talk to the visitors whilst swimming around. It was a really interesting talk where he swam around to point out the fish he was talking about, answered questions from the crowd and, at one point, hugged ‘Cuddles’ (the tawny nurse shark) to encourage him to swim past the window. 

After the talk, we spent time just wandering around the displays. Reef HQ isn’t huge but they have managed to achieve quite a lot in such a small space. Being a weekday, there was a large amount of school children racing around in groups, some better behaved than others, all being led around by the aquarium volunteers – kind of made me nostalgic for my old teaching job but not for taking classes on school trips! 
We managed to get tickets to visit the turtle hospital so, after a brief talk about what they do and a plug for some money, we were being led out the back to see the two turtles that they currently have in the hospital that are allowed ‘visitors’. The first one (a green turtle) was admitted after being found malnourished and severely underweight whilst the second one (a green and loggerhead hybrid) was found to have two fishing hooks suck in its mouth, causing it infections and difficulties in eating. The second one was obviously fascinating to everyone as no one (not even the marine scientists) knew that cross-species could reproduce. Having seen the facility and learnt that both of these turtles will be returned to the ocean once the weather warms up a bit, we headed back inside to grab our bags and head to the supermarket to get some lunch. 

Clearly further down The Strand than we had anticipated, even the palm trees that provided the shade couldn’t keep the heat away. Deciding that it was pointless to both go looking for the supermarket with our big bag, I left Jayne with our stuff to head slowly back to the ferry/coach terminal whilst I continued on looking for Coles. Must have walked a good kilometre further on before finding it, buying some food and then making my way back along the promenade, which is interspersed with parks, pools, cafes, playground and sculptures all alongside the marina and golden sand beaches. 

Meeting Jayne back at the transport hub, we sat on the grass and had some sandwiches before catching our bus to Cairns. The most exciting thing about our six-hour coach journey was the rest stop where there was a giant crab (not sure if it is a big thing or not) and our first ‘beware of crocodiles’ sign!!

Arriving in Cairns, we walked to our hostel and checked in only to find out that it was Australian Census night and, because we were in Australia, we would have to fill out the 56 question document (just what we wanted to do after a long coach journey!!). Chucking our stuff in the room, we came back down to reception to fill it in, listening to the poor staff being inundated with questions from foreign tourists who didn’t understand the English on the form and the manager gently reminding (repeatedly) the group of lads clearly heading out on an all night bender to complete their forms. All completed and sealed in the envelope, we headed straight to bed – both of us in a top bunk again, which we both hate! Ah… First world problems.

Tuesday 9th August 2016

Travelling & Magnetic Island – Day 305

A very disturbed nights sleep with noisy roommates, or maybe it was just one noisy roommate on several different occasions!! We were woken up around 2am by some one who had forgotten his room key and Jayne was sure she heard someone trying to ‘cook crack’ in the bathroom with the sound of spoons clicking together around 3.30am (I am so naive… I have no idea what that really means!!). Anyway, we woke up with our alarms and got up showered and dressed before heading downstairs for breakfast. We had found cashew nut spread in Woolworths yesterday and we had it with some hot crumpets and pears – it is divine!! There are no words to describe how amazing it is but I could simply devour the entire pot using just my fingers!Went back upstairs to pack up our bags with all our freshly laundered (and dry!) clothes before walking down through the marina to the coach terminal. A really dull five hour coach journey with our highlight being the stop at the service station where we saw a woman being confronted for shoplifting (she refused to let them search her), a gorgeously cute golden Labrador puppy who, judging by the size of his paws, is going to become one huge beast soon and our ice creams.Arriving in Townsville, we had just under an hour to wait for our ferry to Magnetic Island. We used the super fast internet in the ferry terminal to upload some of the photos to blogs that we have neglected to do over the past few days, hoping to make it easier to upload everything once we get them written… Oops – we have been too busy having fun (and too lazy to sit down and write them!!). The SeaLink ferry to Magnetic Island was easy and efficient with the turn around for loading and unloading passengers being surprisingly quick. Before long, we were powering through the surrounding bright turquoise seas towards the coastal rocky and mountainous national park. Arriving at the ferry terminal in Nelly Bay, we jumped straight on a local bus (whose timetable revolves around the ferries) to take us to our YHA accommodation – the Bungalow Bay Koala Village. It only took about 15 minutes to drive in and out and all around the streets of the island to get us to Horseshoe Bay, dropping us right outside the door of the ‘resort’. We checked in, dropped our bags in the cabin and headed to the beach. Popped into the local convenience store to get some fruit bread for tomorrow’s breakfast and spotted some marine stingers and poisonous snakes in jars on the shop counter. Apparently they’re just for show, Jayne freaked out even more when we saw a sign on the beach identifying the six different types of stinging jellyfish in the area and the netted swimming area in the bay…Walked along the beach to the end, perching ourselves on a set of rocks to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see it clearly but we did get to see the sky and clouds changing colour as the sun dipped lower behind them.Back at the ‘resort’, we quickly checked emails before heading towards the campers kitchen. En route, we got distracted by a possum in a tree – our first wild possum in Australia! Had to drag ourselves away from the little bundle of cuteness so Jayne could start cooking dinner. However, this YHA doesn’t provide any cutlery or crockery… Slightly surreal moment looking around the kitchen (and then double checking) to find that here was nothing there to use to eat our food. Fortunately, we have our ‘SeatoSummit’ collapsible bowls and sporks so I headed off to the room to retrieve these as Jayne got busy cooking pasta. It only has an outdoor eating area so we had dinner with a multitude of wildlife – wallabies, possums and insects. One extra large cricket decided Jayne’s back was the perfect place to rest…Headed back to the room and, since we are both in top bunks tonight, we couldn’t snuggle up to watch some TV or a film. So, with the large gentleman fully clothed in his high vis safety gear snoring loudly in his bunk to the giggles of the girls opposite him, I climbed into my bunk to read some of my book as Jayne got into hers to watch a film that I didn’t want to watch. 

Sunday 7th August 2016