October 2003

3 October

These past two days have been a wildlife and toilet-cleaning experience for me. The first, and most disgusting thing was that I had pumped the toilet wrong, resulting in a spontaneous poop explosion in the toilet. I spent a good hour cleaning it, and luckily didn't get sick. The second and most delicious thing was a fish! We caught a 2 foot long Mackerel Tuna. It was very yummy as sushi with cucumber and avocado! It was a little fishy, but very Tuna-like. We also saw around 20 flying fish. Unfortunately, we didn't catch any of these. The sail was the roughest overnight ever, and on top of that, Otto decided he needed a break.

Once we were anchored we had time to celebrate my birthday so I got a whole lot of "Happy Birthday", and they let me spend a good 3 hours on the computer. I made my birthday brownies by myself, and my birthday surprise was that a snake had climbed on the boat. Momma wake me up to close my hatches, she forgot it had just rained, so they were closed anyway. The snake was a three foot long Ball Python. I was a bit nervous of the snake, but so was everybody else, because even though it looked like a constrictor, this is Australia, and you never know. The next morning, everybody was in the wrong beds. I was in the single, Nikki was with momma and papa was in my bed. Almost everybody took a walk around the boat to take a look to see if our little visitor was still there. Nobody saw it. That doesn't mean that it was gone. The snake was probably thinking “Cool, I always wanted to sail and go other places, I think I'll hitch a ride on this one.” When we raised the sail our little unexpected visitor dropped out. After several skirmishes with the boat hook, the snake decided that it wasn't worth fighting anymore,and swam away.

I still am very careful of how I pump toilets....

7 October - Percy Islands, Digby, and Mackay

We didn't do that much at the Percies. The best thing we did was slip down steep sand banks. Nikki and I would run really close to the edge, and then purposely fall of the edge and into sand at the bottom. We also were planning on having a bonfire, but we never got around to doing it. The next morning we left for Digby Island. We got there late in the afternoon. We didn't do much, but we did meet some people with an extremely fast dinghy. Ahhhhh the jealousy! The next day was a five hour sail to Makay and a four hour DVD movie on the way there. Once we got there we had a look around the marina area, played with the vortex, and had dinner ate the yacht club. Finally a dinner out! We got an enormous dessert because the chef mixed up the orders. The next day we rented a car and checked one of the four local skate parks.

8 October - Mackay

The highlight of Mackay was beaching the boat. We beached ES at a river where at low tide people sometimes play cricket on on the riverbed. Nikki and I did something of the sort. It was a game we made up, called Vorball. It is base ball with a shovel as a bat and a vortex as a ball. We also jumped of a bank and into the water, and later on, into sand. We also incorporated tricks into the the jumps, and this resulted in some gnarly wipeouts. After a couple of these we decided we had enough and played in a recently discovered mud patch. We covered each other in mud and then opted for some wrestling. Once we were sick of mud we played with the boogie boards. We would run and jump on to them, but Nikki or I would always pull the board away at the last second, always resulting in a laugh from the offender. The best wipeout was when I had put the board up on the slope too far and Nikki landed on the nose and went head over heels onto the the water. After dinner, Nikki and I went walking in the water with flashlights and saw a humongous Mud Crab. When papa and I had to leave to motor back to the marina, I just barely made it back without falling asleep. It was 10 and I was sooo tired, I just collapsed when we got to the marina. I wish I could have gone with momma in the car.

10 October - Finch Hatton Gorge and the search for Halo

A few days ago I was whipped into a computer game finding frenzy by a misprint in a magazine that Halo was out for PC. This was followed by several shops where I asked if they had it and the answer was no. We finally got to a good gaming store and the said it wasn't out until the 16. O well, I guess I'll have to wait. We just recently went on a hike to Finch Hatton Gorge. It is a very short hike, only 5 km at the longest. The trail leads to two waterfalls, one with excellent rock walking potential, the other with an excellent swimming hole. Sounds cool doesn't it? The water, however, really is cold. It is like 5 degrees Celsius and you lips go blue as soon as you get in. It proved really refreshing. Today we are going to Illawong Sanctuary. I hope its good. We heard you could feed and hold Koalas.

11 October - Illawong Sanctuary

Yesterday we went to Illawong Sanctuary. It is a small sanctuary about 30 minutes from Mackay. The park is small, but it has a lot of animals with interesting stories behind them. It is run by a husband and wife team and the staff number is 1. The owner is very funny and he is nice. The park is arranged like a walk-through, with the first thing being a large field with Chickens, Kangaroos, Emus, and Wallabies. Upon entry you get a bag of food which is immediately devoured by hungry roos, wallabies, and Emus. The Emus are quite a pest, because they try to steal the food out of your hand without permission.

The next section is a large birdhouse with an extremely annoying cockatoo. She grew up near a fire siren. We also saw a baby bird. It was a kind of parrot. It was just starting to get its feathers. The next spot was the crocs. The sanctuary has two salties, and three freshies. The main difference between them, besides from their size, is that freshies run away from water noises, and salties are triggered by water noises. We got to see the salties' nest and, later on, their babies. The koalas were extremely odd, one came in-season while we were looking at it. You can tell when they are in season because they start to twitch. Before we knew that koalas do this when they are in season, we told the owner/guide that she seemed to have the hick-ups. We had to laugh really hard. The next bird cage was awesome. We saw Blue-winged Kookaburras fly straight up to a piece of meat! The Blue-winged Kookaburras also were really good at catching pieces of food that were thrown up in the air. Blue-winged Kookaburras are one of the few birds that can fly straight up. We also saw a dingo. The owner built the dingo a house so that the wombats next door could graze on the dingoes grass. The dingo practically read the owners mind, and won't get near the shed while the owner is around. Once the owner is by the exit, the dingo will go in and eat. The wombats were so cute, the girl was called Monica Lewinski and the boy was Vincent van Gogh. The owner told an entertaining story about their relationship.

The last thing we did before we left was jump on the trampolines that the owner had. This is an extremely cool place and I would like to go again. Our guide was the owner, at first we had him all to ourselves. He knew a lot about all his animals and treated them like they were smart animals and could understand him. He gave all the animals names and he claims that they respond to him more than 50% of the time, which means that they seem to respond to their names and this commands.

Things I found out during this trip:

  1. Male salt water crocs don't eat their young, despite common belief. They seem to be as or more protective of their young as the female.
  2. Full grown male and female saltwater crocodiles only need to eat about 50 kg of meat per year (that's about one Nikki per year). Even though the females are about half the size of males they eat the same amount because they need more energy for female reproductive functions
  3. It looks like female koalas have the hick-ups when they first come into season (ready to start mating).
  4. Blue-winged Kookaburras are one of the few birds that fly straight up with the nose pointed straight up into the sky.
  5. Female wombats in captivity usually die early (around 6 years at a zoo). This is because the males eat all the food and leave non for the females.
  6. Dingos are smart, mind-reading creatures. German Sheppards are out-lawed in Australia because they mate with dingos creating smart savages (German Sheppards have to be trained to be good pets). Dingos DNA is strangest: even if a Dingo is only a quarter dingo, it will still look like a Dingo instead of a German Sheppard.
  7. Peacocks and Emus compete for the smallest brain.

16 October - Brampton Island

Brampton Island was a replica of GKI, only not as good. It had the same twisted coastline and the same amount of good coral. We were there for three days in which I saw a giant clam whose lips changed color, depending on the sun's angle, and the largest Parrot Fish I have ever seen. He must have been 2 ˝ feet long! We also went on a hike. It wasn't bad, only 4 K's long, but I was wearing wet sandals! This started a chain reaction which ended up giving me blisters on top of the scars of old blisters!

We anchored at several places, the best place we anchored was about twenty meters from a jetty with some of the coolest coral growing on the posts. We were planning to jump off of the jetty, but we never got around to it. We saw the tram (a miniature train running from the resort on Brampton to the jetty) take a load of people to the jetty, but only half of them got on the rental boat there. The other half just walked around and looked at the jetty. I bet they paid 20 dollars to "walk on the magnificent Pier". What a rip-off. The next day Nikki and I went for a quick swim and then we left for the Marina. We had to get back to the dock with one engine which proved rather difficult.

Tristan's book list & Recommendations

1+=Poor 2+=OK 3+=Good 4+=Excellent

  • The Thief Lord -Cornelia Funke ++++
  • Julie of the Wolves -Jean Craighead George +++
  • Water Sky -Jean Craighead George +++
  • The Power of One -Bryce Courtenay ++++
  • The Last Book in the Universe -Rodman Philbrick +++
  • Mud Crab Boogie -Robert G. Barrett ++++
    (Warning-Adult scenes and language)
  • Goodoo Goodooo -Robert G. Barrett ++++
    (Warning-Adult scenes and Language)
  • Sign of the Beaver -Elizabeth George Spear +++
  • Ghosts of Tsavo -Philip Caputo +++
    (Warning-not for the timid, its about the man-eating lions of the plains of Tsavo in Africa)
  • Freak the Mighy -Rodman Philbrick +++

      These are my opinions, they might not be yours.

      20 October - Swimming in the Marina

      I wish I could swim in the marina. We did when pappa was with us alone. AAAAARGH. Oh well, I might as well tell you about what we did. Our favorite thing to do was to find a nice large stone and see how far we could walk out, not swim out. To find this out, we walked as far out as we could until we had to come up for air. We would the jump up, with the stone in our hand, and if we couldn't make it back up, we would drop the stone and swim the rest of the way up. I am trying to convince momma to let us swim here, but she still won't listen to me. Even with this list of animals I've seen: 2 Turtles, 1 baby turtle, 2 eagle rays, 1 two meter long shovel nosed ray, 1 squid, 2 Toadfish, and 400 fish. I don't get it. The other cool thing is the tide difference. It is about six meters. That means from high tide, the water travels six meters down. So that means If the water is 8 meters deep at high tide, it is two meters deep at low tide. Cool eh?

      21 October - Stoney Creek Cottage & Horseback Riding

      A few days ago Nikki, my dad, and I went horseback riding while momma was in Noosa with some friends. We had to call about 2 places till we found a good ranch to go to. The ranch had about twenty horses. I got a nice brown horse. She was the tour guide's horse. Everybody at the ranch says that she's the nicest horse, if only she didn't bite and kick everything. Nikki got the smallest, whitest horse I have ever seen. The guide told us to get used to turning and gave us a little field to ride around on. I got the hang of it pretty quickly. After a while just riding around in this little area, the tour began.

      The tour was the coolest thing ever. After a while we got to give trotting a shot. Getting to a trot is easy, it's not breaking your back that's hard. I didn't get good at this so quickly this time. From then on I kept on trying to get good at it. The coolest part was herding the cows. We had to move cows from one pasture that was dirt, to another that was all tall grass. All we had to do was walk behind the cows, and the cows would just go straight. To turn them all, you had to do was stand in their way with your horse pointing in the direction you wanted to go. Once the cows got to the other pasture, the tour guide's assistant took us back to the ranch so we could go. On the way back we got to trot again and Nikki and I both got into a canter. It's is so much smoother. Once we got back, we said goodbye to our horses, paid, and left. I wish I could do this again. It was so fun.

      23 October - Goldsmith Island

      Yesterday we went snorkeling at Goldsmith Island, where we were anchored for the time being. Goldsmith Island is near the Whitsunday Islands, but at least 50 nm south. It was awesome. We saw a Blue-Spotted Stingray, the ray that has the largest chance of killing you. Luckily, they are very timid. My favorite thing was seeing some rays feed. The were rather large, and we could get really close. We also saw a mother and father fish, who were protecting a school of little offspring. They would swim out to you and look at you, as if they were trying to figure out if you'd do any harm. Another thing I saw was a Many-Spotted Sweetlip. Our fish book says that it is one of most delicious fish you can eat. I have eaten them before, and I can tell you the book is right. (Aussies seem to really like names with the word spotted in them.) The water was nice, the only downfall being that it is starting to become Box Jellyfish season, so we have to wear panty-hose and rash guards all the time. Boy, am I glad we don't know anyone here! The gear is a pain to put on, and it feels very weird. Today we have just arrived at Shaw Island, where the snorkeling looks very good.

      28 October - Arlie beach, and Whitsunday Island

      Four days ago, We set anchor at Turtle Bay on Whitsunday Island. It's name makes sense as we saw 3 turtles. The snorkeling wasn't as good as you'd expect, mostly just rocks covered with dead coral, or weeds. There was a huge piece of brain coral that was still alive. It was at least 3 meters long and a meter wide. It was bright yellow and was surrounded by the prettiest fishes. The next day, we dropped momma off at the main beach and papa, nikki, and I went snorkeling. We went to what was supposed to be good snorkeling. It wasn't. The coral here is not as good as I thought it would be because the Whitsunday Islands are close to the mainland. The run-off from rivers and creeks brings lots of nutrients which algae like and which kills the coral. The best thing we saw was a crab about a decimeter across. We also found a cliff to jump off. The next day we went to the beach with some people we met earlier. They brought their Cricket set. I was the best batter, because I batted like a baseball player would. I got about twenty points in one turn when the average was about four. After that we went swimming. Nikki and I went snorkeling in the mangroves, where I found the stick for the spear. The coolest thing I saw was a huge ray when I was testing out my wooden spear (that I made by sharpening the end of a stick and splicing it in half, at the tip. It gave me a two pronged spear. I wasn't planning to kill anything, just do some target practice). The ray really scared me because it just suddenly appeared. He was a meter and a half long, from the tip of the tail to the nose, and he was about a meter across. He looked very old and was covered with some sort of algae. He looked up at me with these big, wondrous eyes. I was the only one who saw him. Once I got to the beach, I noticed a storm coming through. I immediately told momma and everybody evacuated the beach. It was quite a site, three dingy all leaving at the same time in a hurried pace. We left just in time. The winds turned south in about a second and the anchorage got very choppy. Our dingy is not suited for going straight into waves, and we had about 50 pounds of stuff, along with us, in the dingy. The result? A good three inches of water!

      The next morning we left for Abel Point Marina. Once we got there we decided to take a walk, as well as check in. It was all a good idea, the only mistake was that we went bare foot. The Aussies seem to have an affection for paths that trap heat. It seems the people here are no different. We half ran, half jumped all the way there and back. Everybody, save papa, had sore feet afterwards. After lunch and some time on the computer (for me), we took a little walk. This time we walked all the way to town and saw the lagoon. The lagoon is a pool right by the beach that is used to substitute for the beach during stinger season. Stinger season is the time between October and May in which box jelly fish are found along the shore of Queensland. Box jelly fish stings are very painful and children have a 50% change of dying from a sting. After playing on the playgrounds near the park, we went into town and explored. We found a nice bookstore and spent about an hour there. For dinner we went to the Hogs Breath Cafe. I had the most delicious hamburger, that I complete devoured, because I barely had anything the whole day. I hope we can go to the lagoon today.

      Writing exercise:

      Why You Should Go Sailing

      Sailing is a nice way to get in touch with nature and clear your mind. It provides an exciting option to polluting the earth with motor boats. The chances are even greater for spotting wildlife because there are no engines to disturb the wildlife. It can also be very exhilarating, as well as very fun. It depends on the type of boat. If you prefer excitement over speed, then a monohull is the boat for you. If you prefer speed over excitement, then a cat is for you. If you prefer a mix, than a trimaran is the boat for you. Each of these styles present a different type of sailing for a different type of person, but they all are, essentially, the same. They all present the same, wind in the face experience. Sailing is a great experience and everybody should try it.

      Tristan Out. Ghhhhhk