Monday, February 20, 2012

Beaches, Islands, Reefs and Rainforests!

Last blog, I had just concluded a week of adventures, and this past week that ensued certainly continued the fun and hectic-ness! From Brisbane I bussed to Rainbow Beach- super cool place. You trek up to what's called Carlo Sandblow, where you can see (not quite a rainbow, but hey) different colored sands, made so from the minerals in the soil during different periods of it's history.  Best thing was walking along and kicking up different colors of sand where your foot had been!!

How cool is that? Diff colored sands at Rainbow Beach

Carlo Sandblow, Rainbow Beach
Then it was off to Fraser Island-- this is the world’s largest Sand Island. Crazzzy because it has a rainforest on it!!! It really was such a unique experience to be “hiking” in a rainforest but with barefeet and in soft sand!!   I decided to spend the dough and join a 3day/2night tour here as it’s been realllllly recommended... and Im passing that reco on!  Absolutely worth it!!!  It’s a 4wheel drive only island (access by ferry), so I joined a tag-along tour... meaning we (32 of us) drove ourselves!!! I am finally going to admit that Im a sucky driver :).  A million of you have said it to me, and this just confirmed it!  Especially in a 4wheel drive w/ 7 other people trusting me!  I’m just not comfy behind the wheel!  I was quite confident going into it (as with most things) but me and the driver seat just didn’t belong together :). Im so happy I have no car (and no keys to lose)!  I think I killed it more than anyone else on the trip... whoopsy!  

Yyyyaaa 4 wheel drive on 75 Mile Beach!!
The beach part was much easier than the rainforest part ;)
SO many amazing things on this island-- first of all coolest lakes ever.  We went to three.. a blue one, a brown one, and a green one.  The first, Lake MacKenzie, was a perfectly clear/ blue perched lake. Perched means its above the water table, and over time sand and vegetation have compacted making a bowl.  It is completely made of rainwater, not inlets or outlets.  They say it's one of the most photographed lakes in the world.  It was -- totally beautiful and crazy clear... not so good for snorkeling, but perfect for some underwater photo fun:).

How picturesque: our 4wheel family.
3 French, 3 English, a Swissman and me :) 

Pyramid time :) 
Next was Lake Allom, a perfectly brown lake.  It's also a perched lake, but colored with all of the oils from the surrounding trees.  I loved this lake cuz there was no shore anywhere.  Once we swam to the middle, the entire circle as you looked around was just big ol' trees and grassy water plants.  They promised no crocs, but still my heart was beating a little faster ;)   

Lake Allom entry parade :) 

They said no crocs!!! Ha :) 
 The last day we went to Lake Wabby, a perfectly green lake with lots of catfish and turtles. Unlike the others this one is at the water table level and known as a barrage lake. One where evolving sand dunes have blocked off a water supply, and eventually the sand will keep moving and fill this lake. Bummer,  because it being set on the edge of a steep sand dune makes it completely perfect for sprinting down and jumping in! yeeeeehawwww

Lake Wabby!  Don't mind if I do...
How about a group roll into it? Yes please! 

We also climbed up a cliff called indian head (a natural headland that protrudes into the water like a peninsula and ends the 75 Mile Beach), saw a neat shipwreck (the S.S. Maheno, ashore since 1935), and lounged in natural tubs called the champagne pools!!  
A plank at the ship- get it? ... Im so clever :) 
Champagne Pools! 
Can you see me out there? Soaking up the sun at Indian Head :) 

My favorite (and our awesome-blond-afro-guide Geoff''s too) was a rainwater creek streaming out to the ocean.  Both mornings we woke up, and then went there to really wake up, by floating down cold ass Eli Creek.

Eli Creek and good morning headstands :) 

More crocodiles! hhhahah. I love this.
Both nights we camped, cooked for ourselves, played games (my famous ‘Assume the position’ game remains a crowd fav!), had some goon (box wine!), and did the dishes in the ocean (this is actually quite fun and super entertaining!).  We were sweaty, dirty, fly bitten, sandy... but I was quite impressed with the whole group to be honest.  I was a bit skeptical to join... lots of these tours can be tons of youngin’s with party focus, but we were on-the-whole pretty great!  Camping has a way of bringing out both the best and worst in people.  If fact, as a side note,  I recommend camping early on when starting to like someone... you can really find out about their character when there's no coffee, hot water, tv or toilets! 

It was an early to bed, early to rise type weekend for me, I'm no doubt an early bird.  Three mornings I found myself up first, out admiring the beautiful beach, and both nights wandering out to gaze at the full moon and insanely starry night.  Thru the sky, I was “talking” to you amazing people back home... so if I was in your dreams last week maybe my vibes reached across the moon and stars to you!!!!   

Goooood morning!!

Good night! 
From Fraser, it was back to Rainbow for the night, where I did a free capoeira lesson. Whoa... if you want sweet legs look into that! I then took the overnight bus to Airlie Beach. Tyson's dad lives up there, so he went up to visit and doubled once again as an awesome tour guide.  We were pretty chill and went to a coral beach. I spent over an hour snorkeling in one foot of water cuz the rocks were sooooo cool! Could’ve been called rainbow rock beach-- soooo colorful!!  The bummer of this was my "waterproof " camera proved to not be so waterproof back at Fraser, otherwise you'd get to see some pics of rocks :) Don't be too bummed! Here I also got to eat my first kangaroo! Tyson’s dad, Gazza, made it for us!! YUM! It’s quite delish actually.  

Realized I could use my iPhone a bit late, but did get 
a few shots of bluer than blue Airlie!
Just spent the one night in Airlie, then took the overnight Greyhound to Cairns.. my bus arrived at 6am and by 9 I was on my way out to the outer Reef!!!!!   Let me just say, that the Great Barrier Reef is not one of the seven natural wonders of the world for no reason!! I got to do two dives, 41 and 49 mins-- and they were AWESOME!!!!!  The coral really was just breathtaking... and the amount and diversity and size of the fish was wheewww!!! I saw 6 sharks (white tip and grey reef sharks), got up close and personal with a big ol’ sea turtle eating some seaweed, and loooooooovvveedd when we actually got to go thru a coral tunnel!  My dive master was pretty flirty.... but in this case I was eating it up cuz it got me special treatment and he showed me allllll sorts of good stuff- like sticky coral, coral that changes color, and coral that changes from soft to hard! :) I also got an underwater waltz..  haha;) 

Meet Wally... he's technically a Humphead Maori Wrasse... but I think more like a puppy...
he obediently went wherever the photo guide led him! Strange but cool!

A giant clam!

Thru a coral tunnel!!! My one-time use Kodak camera= not so good :( 

Whewww, I feel like I've just been on an insane 2 month vacation.  Technically, I guess I have been. ha.  I mean it in the way that I didn't intend to be here so long, or to do so much "tourist-ing" but this place realllllly is amazing. Originally I was going to try and hit another country in between here and India (leaving the 27th) but I decided not to rush it and am enjoying a nice and relaxing cap to an action packed last few weeks...months really :)  Im currently staying with another wonderful connection, up here in Cow Bay, 2 hours north of Cairns. We're actually inside the Daintree rainforest, where city services are not allowed. Solar, gas, and septic it is!  This really is a great compromise if you want both the forest and the oceans!  I'm here with Tina, who runs a holiday home,  and her mom Jenny.  Tina and I work for about 4 hours each day, right now adding a roof to one of the huts. Tina is afraid of heights so she's quite happy I'm not :)   We have been going to different swimming holes each afternoon to cool off... she promises no crocs in there but I def still feel nervous!  Besides that, there is lots of napping in the hammock, reading, writing, and movies :). I walked (only 15 mins!) down to the beach the other day to read....  I really can’t get over how the rainforest just stops and you’re at the ocean! So neat. Exceptttt you can’t swim in it :(  There are crocodile and jellyfish signs allll over.  Yup, even in the ocean. Dang saltwater crocs!  Oh and the cassowaries... THAT has been cool.  We took a sight seeing tour and drove up to Cape Tribulation... and three times had to stop cuz of big ol’ cassowary’s in the road! HA! (it's a big flightless bird that looks like an ostrich). It def rains a TON here- I suppose rainforest is an apt name :).  Like Miami actually, super humid and hot and the next thing you know it's downpouring!  Pretty good reason to stay in and watch movies and read.  I finished "The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo" (over 500 pages) in two days. :)

I’m perfectly content to slow the pace waaaaay down and just relax my last week!  I'm, in a way, mentally preparing for the actual trip to start.  I say it that way just because being here in Australia really is so much like America in terms of culture, language, styles, etc.  I do feel like this time so far has been this huge vacation, and I've been a total tourist.  I'm beyond grateful for all my experiences so far, and especially my serendipitous time at the ashram... seems like somehow it was a preparation for me!  Very soon, and most of the rest of my time away, I'll be among quiiiiite different cultures and lifestyles, and I am reeeealllly looking forward to it.  So yes, it's chill out time in Australia for one more week.... except for tomorrow... next time you hear from me I could possibly be a World Record Holder! Cairns is attempting to beat the ZUMBA record for most people doing a zumba class together ... Tina and I can't resist :) 


  1. That group roll picture is awesome-- Im sure the guy behind you was loving his view..hahaha!!! Miss you sister! Im so glad you are having an amazing you!!!

  2. Wow love the pics Becky looks awesome!


  3. Becky Jo-You're amazing! Believe it or not, you inspire me. I love you!
    -Dana Wana
    P.S. Not so sure about eating Kangaroo though:/

    1. awwww thanks Dana Wana!!!!! Love you too!!!
      ...and for SURE try it! It's super lean meat, no fat to cut off--- yummy!!!!

  4. Well, I've had a blast in Aussie land with you! Like you, I am wonderfully anxious to head out into the unknown/unfamilar. The Kangaroo dinner gave me the creeps. Lets not do that ever again.

    1. Kangaroo was nothing Tracy.... the stranger tastings are soon to come!!! hahah! xoxo