Dan and Justy Down Under


January 17, 2005
Dan or Justy

It's a passe joke that everything in Australia is trying to kill you, but consider ...

I got sandals yesterday and within an hour was bitten by something VERY painful on my foot. No swelling or unusual aftereffects, but still. Our first stop on Straddie (N. Stradbroke Isl) was Amity Point, to catch the sunset. We parked right in front of a sign warning of Blue-ringed Octopus in the water. We turned our heads to see many silhouetted young folks leaping off a pier.

Relocated for the night to Lookout Point (for the Dawn, you see :) and finally got a real Pacific beach. HUGE breaks and a primeaval cove worthy of any pirate movie. Walked down into the cove at night barefoot and found a couple large spiders on the stairs. They stood their ground.

Went native for the morning: barefoot. Walked several miles on the beach. Lots of jelly parts washed up. After a while it was no harder to walk around than the sidewalk in Manhattan, albeit with greater consequences for a mistake.

There's lots of good diving on this point, but alas, none for us. Tuesday's the day and Tuesday they're off. Oh well. In anycase, they answered the big question incorrectly:

(The Rufus King is a US Destroyer sunk in WWII, just off-shore)

Us: "What condition is the Rufus King in?
Them: "Don know. We don't really go there."

The day was schizophrenic. The first half was unrelentingly sunny and swelteringly hot. I got my usual burn that will mutate into a tan. Justy just got browner. I will spend the next several days slathered in various moisturizing agents.

Then the tropical storm arrived. We hiked a scenic trail along a bluff overlooking the Pacific. The wind was terrific. Easily enough to bowl me over if I should become unbalanced (no jokes please!) Rain was minimal and irregular. The wind and the fury of the sea was awe-inspiring. The Pacific is truly ill-named.

"Joey, we're doin' it!". It's been almost a week now and we're sticking to our plan! Cooking and eating from the car is not difficult, but does require some planning. Grocery stores close in the afternoons, and the cooler is just big enough to fit the essentials plus one nights dinner. That is preferable, as with fresh meat we also ensure smaller chances of poisoning ourselves through stupidity. Did I mention the ice must be replenished every 12-20 hours?

This great country, being barbie freaks, have tons of butcher shops with pre-seasoned meat like kebabs, chicken filets, pork chops and even steak. Each park has a public grill and a hot-top stove to cook on. Though I've not used the barbies yet, I'm sure its only a matter of time.

It's hot like the dickens. I don't know how hot the dickens is, but Im sure it comes close to this swelter. Constant sweat, hot head, and without drink complete system shut down. Dan has finally relented to wife's nagging and is dousing in sun block (a little late). Its almost too hot to take pictures! (now you know I'm serious!). Dan has threatened that when we travel north, the heat will get worse.

I can't wait!

Weather update: Just 2 days ago we heard that a cyclone was headed for the land, but last minute it swerved away. Yesterday afternoon the heat finally broke, with a vengence. Though the rain was light, the driving wind behind it made our walk along the gorge very interesting. Dan has little fear, and more mass than me, so he got close to most edges. I on the other hand stayed back behind the DANGER: DO NOT WALK THERE, DUMBASS! signs.

Itinerary Highlights
January 20: Winery Tour
21-23: Moreton Bay Diving
25: Australia Zoo
26-30: Lady Elliot Island
February 13: Diving the Yongala
15-17: Cape Tribulation + Daintree Rain Forest
17-20: Atherton Tablelands
22-28: Coral Sea Diving Liveaboard
March 11-13: OzTek Dive Conference: Sydney
14: Fly to New Zealand
20: Poor Knights Islands Diving
31: Mt. Cook
April 2-4: Queenstown
TBD: To Be Dreamed

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