AGNES WATER, AUSTRALIA- Just a quick update this evening- I hope you all enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday, and are just as eager as I am to find out just how much money Grant won after the Seahawks crushed the Broncos. Last time we spoke I was staying at Dingo’s in Rainbow Beach preparing for our adventure on Fraser Island, which proved to be quite the experience. We were assigned a tour guide, Alex, who drove the lead 4x4. The rest of the crew followed in three tail vehicles, with all of us taking turns driving…fortunately, at least one of the Jeeps was an automatic, giving the Ugly American his first opportunity to drive on sand, which is comparable to driving on black ice for an extended period of time. Fraser Island is massive- the western face of the island abuts the Pacific, and 75-Mile Beach runs all along it. This gives you the chance to drive for extended periods on the beach (max speed limit 80 km/h, approx. 50mph) while seeing few other people or signs of civilization, though every now and then you’d spot a dingo at the side of the road. Crikey!
Fraser was a great trip, but it was a little too organized for my taste and at times felt like a class trip with particularly hands-off Australian teachers. I was expecting something remote and wild, kind of like the Channel Islands (shout out Cali crew!), picking a spot on the beach to build a tent and sleeping under the stars, but instead, we slept in tents in an established campsite in a dingo-proof area. Yes, there are electric fences to keep them out. So while I did have a great time, it’s certainly given me a better idea of how I want this trip to progress in the next few months, and that entails staying far away from the vouchered travel scene and organized tours.
That brings me to today. It seems like most of you are no strangers to extreme weather over the past few weeks, and I’m joining the club, albeit in a somewhat different climatic zone. I arrived in the small town of Agnes Water 6 days ago, planning to stay for 2 nights before heading north to Airlie Beach. However on the day we were supposed to leave, an announcement was made that the Greyhound Bus had cancelled all northbound service for four days due to Cyclone Dylan, which was poised to strike any day. Hm. I had been told by a few people that traveling north during the rainy season was a bad idea, but this was the first time I had plans actually disrupted because of the weather. Lucky for us, the Dylan didn’t actually strike the coast where I was staying, but we did have four straight days of torrential rain and wind, which has been a rarity on my trip thus far. Alas, sometimes one is able to find love in a hopeless place and for me a few rainy days watching films was just what the doctor ordered.
Tonight I’ll be catching the overnight bus to Airlie Beach. Hans, Chris, Lauren and I will spend the morning buying food and other supplies before we hop on the 4pm ferry to Long Island—no, not that Long Island, this Long Island, and spend the next two weeks working at the Palm Bay Hideaway, cut off from the rest of the world for all intents and purposes. I can’t wait.