October 2003

3 October - On the way to the Percy Islands

First I will tell you what happened today.

Last night my mom and dad woke me up at 10:00 pm and told me not to open my windows, even after it had stopped raining, because ... there was a ball python on the boat. We were at anchor so it had to be a snake that can swim. I got really hot in my room with the windows closed. I moved into the main cabin to sleep on the seats but I didn't like it there either because every time I looked up I was the snake on the window. After a while I went to my parents bedroom and slept there. In the middle of the night my mom woke up Tristan who was also really hot, and suggested him to sleep in the guest bedroom. In the morning my dad went to sleep in Tristan's room. Early in the morning my dad checked, didn't see the snake and said: "Hopefully he's gone." But while we were putting in the baton in the sail, my mom saw the python there. So we raised the sail and Tristan an I got to see the bottom part of the snake on the window (my mom had told us to go inside because she was afraid he was going to bite us and we would fall dead in a second, ha). Now my dad used the boat hook to get the snake overboard. It finally swam away. So now you've heard the story of the ball python.

Two days ago, we caught our first fish. This is how we caught it. First I had seen a flock of birds behind the boat a while ago, and then mama said: "Hey Nicoline, look at that flock of birds right in front of us now.” I knew that a flock of birds on the ocean means that there is a school of little fishes, which means that there are big fish around also. This send me running to the fishing pole. As soon as I picked up the pole, boom, I knew we had a fish on the line. It was a yummy mackerel tuna. We made sushi as soon as the fish was ready. Even though all the fishing books only give it a 2 star rating, I thought it was really good. We also saw a whole bunch of flying fish. I hoped that we would see a Mahi-mahi/Dolphin fish jump out of the water after the flying fish.

We also had a head (toilet) accident. Tristan was pumping the wrong way and a whole bunch of poo went all over the head. He spend a whole hour cleaning up. I finished it up for him because he got pretty nauseous. And then mama did the final cleaning up. I hope we never have a head accident again.

4 October

It's the day after Tristan's birthday and we are on our way to the Percy Islands. On the way Tristan and I were playing a game called “who can stand up the longest time without falling”. I was the winner at 7 min and 35 seconds. Then we did a jumping contest and I also won that. When we got to the Percies we went to the beach, swam and then planned to make a bonfire, but since we didn't know if we could make a bonfire, we decided not to. The water wasn't that clear, but at low tide you could see a lot more things. There were a whole bunch of rocks with colorful coral. While we were on the beach, Tristan and I ran along a steep sand cliff and we had a lot of fun falling off then climbing back up. The cliff was about 1 meter high. We had a delicious dinner of spaghetti marinara with sausages. Then we went to sleep. In the morning we started for Digby Island. On the way to Digby we painted pictures of a sailboat. We trying to paint in different styles. I painted a Post-Impressionist version and a Cubic one. When we got there we had tea and bikkies (biscuits). Then we had dinner and went to sleep. The next day we headed to Mackay. The second day after we got the rental car in Mackay I got a "Finding Nemo" computer game. Tristan is saving his money so he can buy "Halo".

7 October - Beaching the boat

Here is what I loved to do while we were there (there is at the place where we dried the boat out on a sand bank during low tide, it was an hour motoring for the boat for papa and Tristan, momma and I drove there with the car)

  • jumping from a sand cliff onto a bank, and seeing who jumped the furthest
  • paddling around on the surf boards
  • being pulled on the body boards in a little creek, by my brother
  • playing baseball in the water
  • designing a "vorball" stadium
    (if you don't know what "vorball" is then listen up. Vorball is basically baseball but as a ball you use a vortex and you use a shovel as a bat. Unlike baseball there are no balls, you have 6 strikes and 2 outs)
  • wading in the water and touching Tobies (boxy fishes)

10 October - Hiking

Yesterday we went on a hike to two waterfalls. I have to say that the second waterfall was the best. On the way we stopped at the first waterfall and jumped around on the rocks and waded a little in the water. The rocks were really, really big.

When we got to the second waterfall I went all the way in the water, because I already had my bikini on. The water was so cold that if you would stay in the water too long you would become an ice cube. On the way back we basically ran the whole way back to the car because we were running out of daylight. We stopped at Illawong Sanctuary on the way home to see what they were all about. We're going there now.

13 October - Illawong Sanctuary

Today we finally got to go to a Fauna Reserve. We haven't gone to a single one this year. Here is a list of what we did.

  • We fed the kangaroos and wallabies. They gathered at the entrance as soon as we got there because they hadn't been fed yet by visitors. There were also vicious emus who would try to eat all the food out of your hand and when they succeeded it really hurt.
  • We saw a bird called Jody. She was raised near a place where there was a fire siren. Every time there was a fire the siren would go off. She learned how to copy the siren, and now every time visitors come she makes the sound. It is really loud and annoying.
  • There were crocodiles . The guide had a name for every croc. Here are the names: Bill, Julie and Stacie were the Fresh Water Crocodiles. Angelo and Sophie the Salt Water ones. We saw Sophie eat, and Angelo later on. Sophie jumped up and guzzled it down. Angelo was a little lazy, he also seemed really fat, and the guide just threw a piece of meat into the pond and he just grabbed it. Did you know that a full grown croc only needs to eat 50 kg a year? That's about one of me a year.
  • After that we saw koalas. Koalas are not actually cuddly animals. They have really sharp teeth and they will use them. If you handle koalas too much, they will only live to be about 6 years. They only have 5 minutes of extra energy per day to spend. If they get handled they use up more than that. The people here don't handle their koalas. The oldest one here is 13 years old.
  • Then we saw a whole bunch of Blue Winged Kookaburras. They are the only bird that can fly up vertically into the air. The guide made them stand on a rock and then fly up to get some food. We also met a Whistling Kite called Bob Hawk (who was a senator sometime ago in Australia). In the same birdcage lived the fattest Lace Monitor I've ever seen. He was a fat as a large dinner plate with lots of food on top.
  • The next thing we saw was a Dingo who actually let people pet him. The tour guide, who's also the owner of the Sanctuary, build a nice shed with a door for him. The tour guide wanted to be able to close the door with the dingo in the shed so the wombats, who live right next to the Dingo, can eat some green grass. Wombats always eat all the grass in their enclosure. But the Dingo seemed to read his mind and does not go in the shed as long as the owner is there. Even if the Dingo is hungry he will not go inside.
  • The last thing we saw was this Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat named Monica Lewinsky. She was really shy. One of here favorite foods is corn.

I hope to go there again.

16 October - Brampton Island

Three days ago we went to Brampton Island. I have to say that it was rather boring. All we did that was fun was swim, snorkel and jump off the boat. We also went on a hike to the top of Brampton Island. There were look-outs. One of the two had a great feel of height because it was so steep. At the other one you saw a bit more of the main land and you could see great snorkeling spots. Too bad the wind was coming from the wrong direction to anchor at these great spots.

Despite the fact that the coral by the jetty (which is were we anchored) wasn't good, the fish and the giant clams were awesome. I saw:

  • a huge coral trout
  • the largest parrot fish I ever say
  • a whole bunch of giant clams
  • a good variety of other fish
  • the pillar to hold up the pier was eroding
  • a great variety of coral (although most of it was dead)
Before we left to go back to Mackay we went for a swim. Then we had a smooth ride back.

I don't really need to go back to Brampton Island.

21 October - Mackay Reef Marina

For these last few days we did a bunch of stuff. Here is what we did.

We dropped mamma off at the Mackay airport to visit a friend in Noosa. While she was gone we went to Cape Hillsborough, we went for a sail with a neighbour, and we went to Stoney Creek Retreat to ride horses.

What I particularly liked about horse riding trip was that we got to herd cows. My horse's name was Sally. She was a pure while horse. She was really nice. My brother rode a horse called Nozzy. The horse was actually the tour guide's horse. Everybody on the ranch says she is really nice but that she kicks everything. My dad also rode a white horse, but it had spots of black. While I was trotting, I did a canter for a couple of second. It felt really good because you're not hitting the ground as much as when you are trotting. It feels like you're flying.

24 October

Yesterday, we picked up mama from the airport and on the way back we told her all about what we did. We stopped at a second hand bookstore. I couldn't find the book I was looking for, but we did buy some others. Then we did a little shopping trip and had dinner.

Today we did a lot of homework and we went swimming at the beach in Mackay. The water is so warm. Tomorrow we're going further north to go to islands.

25 October - Goldsmith Island

Today our plans are simple: we will go on land, explore and snorkel. The fish we saw were spectacular. I saw:

  • a blue spotted sting rag
  • 4 sting rays
  • a giant parrot fish
  • a giant bat fish
We only saw rays in the beginning, where there was sand. The rest was all rocks. The coral was not very pretty, but we did see some neon purple coral.

We anchored here for 2 nights and 3 days. The wind was blowing real hard and the dagger boards were bonking even when they were pulled up a bit. Tomorrow we are going to Shaw of Thomas Island. I hope where ever we end up going has a good snorkeling spot. Hopefully it will.

I love snorkeling!

31 October - Whitsunday Islands, Turtle Bay

Some very exciting things happened. We snorkeled and played and played Cricket. We did see a whole bunch of turtles, that is why they call it Turtle Bay. One of the days we went to the beach and played Cricket. We had met these Australian people who had chartered a boat here. They were really nice. We all had a chat and wanted to come to the beach with them to play Cricket. It is a bit like baseball, but you run back and forth as many times as possible between two sticks. The stick in front of you is where the “bowler” stands. Behind you are three sticks with a stick on top of it, it is called the “wicket”. The bowler tries to knock the stick on top of it off, but the batter tries to stop that by hitting the ball with the bat, he is standing in front of the wicket. When you hit the ball, you run back and forth as many times as possible until someone from the opposing team hits the wicket with the ball and knocks the stick off. It sounds easy, but it isn't, especially not when you have to run in soft sand. That night it was raining, so it was hot and I slept outside in the cockpit. We had the bimini on, of course.

The next day we left for Airlie Beach. We got there on October 30th. The first things we did was explore a bit and then we had lunch on the boat. In the evening we went into town for dinner. We ended up eating at Hog's Breath Cafe. It was yummy. On the way back we stopped at the park by the Lagoon. It was fun.

Writing exercise:

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY FISHING

You should try fishing because some fishes are delicious to eat, especially so when you've caught them yourself. Besides from that, it is fun to go fishing. It feels spectacular to catch a fish. When you first feel pulling and jerking on the line you do not know for sure if you have a fish on it for real, or if it is just a fish biting on it and it might get away. You won't know it for sure until you reel it in. While you're reeling it in, you do feel excited because you might have actually caught a fish. It might even be a shark. You just can't know. Then comes the moment, the moment of truth. If you see a fish on the line, and if it is your first time catching a fish, you get a great tingling sensation. Once you cut it up, and you're eating it you have such great feelings of happiness and championship. You tried to catch your own fish, and, voila, it happened.