Magnetic Island

Arrived on Magnetic Island (so named by Captain Cook when his compass went a little wonky near it) last night, to be confronted with the disappointing realisation that I would not be able to make it to the Barrier Reef after all. I apologise for the title of my blog entry from Sunday which is now misleading. It transpires that there are only a couple of companies running daytrips to the Reef from these parts, one of which had a trip today which was already overbooked (next one Saturday); the other had no trip until Thursday, by which time I will be back in Sydney.

The girl on reception at my resort seemed quite enthused that I was staying in one of their apartments which backed on to an area of bush/jungle. The Aussies seem to call any area containing more than one tree ‘the bush’. I would, she said, be able to entertain rock wallabies and other Australian wildlife delights on my terrace, of an evening. However, the only wildlife I have seen so far have been the lizard and spider (probably just a baby tarantula or something equally harmless) in my bathroom. And the lizards constantly scooting across the paths which join up the different buildings in the resort. These paths are very narrow, with dense ‘bush’ on either side. Walking through them after darkness falls (and it falls quickly, 0-to-total darkness in about 25 minutes shortly after 7pm) gives one the overwhelming feeling that a giant lizard/snake/spider à la Lord of the Rings is about to emerge and take one hostage. Realistically, it probably doesn’t give anyone else such feelings – I AM a little jumpy when it comes to insects and such like. Drying myself after a shower last night, with my eyes firmly fixed on the lizard on the wall, I let out a strangled yelp and almost did a somersault when I caught, out of the corner of my eye, something large and black swinging towards my leg. Reassuringly it was only the hairdryer, swinging on a hook underneath the sink unit.

There’s a slightly strange feeling about this place. I understand it’s technically the wet season up here in Queensland, and so I guess this is probably off-season tourist-wise. Not that it’s been wet since I’ve arrived – been hot and sunny (and humid). There are people here alright, although the place certainly isn’t jam-packed, and most of them seem to be sitting around looking relatively bored.

Perhaps that is why these companies are only running trips one or two days per week out to the Reef, rather than daily, as I expected. Or perhaps the number of trips they can run out there is restricted for conservation reasons, I’m not sure. It all comes across as a bit contradictory – after missing out on the Reef trip due to it being too popular, I phoned up a place that runs sailing/snorkelling day trips around the island – searching for something to do in lieu of going out to the Reef. They need four people to make it worthwhile, and I was only the third person – so will have to phone back tonight to see if it’s on. I phoned a place that organises snorkelling tours early this morning, and they weren’t running a tour today, but kindly supplied me with my own tall blonde Dutch girl. For snorkelling guide purposes only, I should add. So I snorkelled a bit around the edge of Geoffrey Bay, taking in the colourful fish, coral, and a bit of a wreck in the bay. My Dutch guide pointed out a fast-moving ray at one point, but without my glasses or contacts in I’m afraid I saw nothing. However, this has provided me with a good strategy for avoiding the lizards on my path. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that. Until I squash one with my size 12s, I suppose, but they’re a bit too fleet of foot for that to happen.

I confess I’ve been feeling pretty despondent today. I had my heart set on getting out to the Reef, which is why I’m here on the island at all, and that’s not been possible. I should have booked on a trip via the internet prior to coming up here, but I was trying not to be too anal about it all, booking everything in advance, which can work against you if you arrive somewhere and find you’ve booked on a naff trip and there are other much better ones around. However, I haven’t really had enough time to do it the way I did – arriving Monday late afternoon and leaving early Thursday morning. My solo traveller despondency has kicked in strongly today – being on an idyllic island with golden beaches, palm trees and warm blue-green ocean to swim in doesn’t seem so great on your own. Cities are more fun, somehow.

However, tomorrow is a new day. If the sailing trip doesn’t come off, I’m going to hire a ‘Moke’ – a little 4-seater buggy – and go cruising for chicks. Maybe go kayaking and jet-skiing as well. And who knows, maybe England will win the Twenty20 match against Australia tonight. Frankly, there’s probably more chance of me bonding with Australian wildlife.

PS Posted this sitting outside the locked reception area (it closes at 7pm) which contains the internet access and wireless network. Thankfully wireless networks transcend doors and locks 🙂

15 thoughts on “Magnetic Island”

  1. Oh Andrew… not that your lonesome despondency is amusing… but the fact that you used the phrase “cruising for chicks” and also the fact that you could mistake a hairdryer for a spider (they’re not that big here – besides, it’s the smaller ones that are more dangerous) – had me quite amused.

  2. PS Gloating comments? Come on .. I hadn’t even mentioned how you said the other night “Sydney is such a beautiful city Diana! But *akward pause* not as beautiful as you, of course!”
    Obviously that’s nothing to gloat over… rather it’s something to be concerned about.

  3. Quinn in paddle boat cruising for chicks. That’s quite the mental image… go Quinn go.

    If it’s any consolation, I am in Heathrow T3 and it’s totaly empty and wife is asleep, thus I am bored. Haven’t quite reached lonesome despondency but I could start down that track and meet you there if something interesting doesn’t happen soon.

  4. cruising for chicks! – Still laughing at that one!

    and what a lovely thing to say to the beautiful Diana, If I were her I would be gloating about that 😉

  5. What about the blonde Dutch girl you went snorkelling with? Anything further to report on her?
    Jones – I seem to remember that boredom kicks in for you after about 28 seconds of inactivity & so cannot really be compared to that of the rest of us.

    And what was Diana’s response to your compliment? Stunned silence, or something reciprocal, perhaps comparing you favourably to Belfast? I think we need to know.

  6. this blog has many facets.

    consider some examples:

    1) Anorak: a geek-esque fascination with cricket

    2) Foodie: a number of witty discourses on eating in various parts of the world. including Robbo’s house.

    3) Travel Report: as much sarcasm and pathos as a man on the road can muster

    and now, rather concerning-ly:

    4) Romance Report. The Dutch, The Aussie – are the full five-continent a going to be represented come the return of the Quinn?

    No matter what you say – the outcome will remain a mystery. Unlike the Cricket.

  7. Hope you have (had?) a pleasant return journey. You’ll notice that we’ve laid on some traditional British weather to cheer you up upon your arrival.

  8. eiya.
    there’s no concluding blog to entertain me as I take a break from the sun and surf to check my email up here in Queensland?

  9. had the blog been abandonded in a fit of peak – or is our hero (you’ve got hero status now, Mr Quinn) caught in the upsetting world of *normal* life.

    Normal being over-rated…

  10. I know you’re original intention was a blog for your Australia visit but can you reasure us all that you’re going to keep this blogging lark up. Your public demands more!

    looking forward to your first post-australia post.

  11. Let’s see if we can provoke a response.
    DISCLAIMER: Domestic violence and violence toward children is not a laughing matter.

    SYDNEY(AP) – A seven-year-old boy was at the center of a Parramatta,
    NSW courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who
    should have custody of him.

    The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge
    initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law
    and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree

    The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him
    more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When
    the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy
    cried out that they also beat him.

    After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning
    that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the
    judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who
    should have custody of him.

    After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child
    welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the English
    Cricket Team, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating

    … Ignoring yesterday’s ODI result…

  12. Good to see another joke on the blog, Diana. I didn’t get much of a response to any of mine (usual story). Perhaps you will fare better.
    Anyway – Andrew, I think we need at least some kind of concluding entry summing up your Australian odyssey. Your blog is rapidly becoming a chat room (I believe that’s the expression). And there’s also the opportunity for “Only here for the skiing” in a couple of weeks…

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