Monday, August 25, 2003

Jo & Marg's drive

Well after a final night in my old bed at my parents house I was up bright and early and ready for what was expected to be a very long 5 days of driving! SA gave us some perfect weather during that morning which was fantastic. We were making great time and spirits were high. Mum and I amused ourselves by laughing at the names of places and creeks which we drove past (for the record our favourite place was Boinka in Victoria). It's amazing how something so simple can be so amusing when you really have nothing else to do...

After a long day of driving we eventually found ourselves in a very cold Hay! The plan was to find a hotel, go for a walk, have tea and then crash for another long day of driving on Monday. Sounds good in theory but it was so cold that we didn't end up walking very far. Hmmm how should one keep warm in a situation like this? Well the trick is to turn on electric blankets, put pjs in the bed, turn the heater on and wait. Then go and have tea, come back to a super hot shower and mega warm pjs. Crawl into bed and you don't even feel the cold. I unfortunately didn't get a very good sleep that night thanks to some strange woman abusing the hotel owners in the middle of the night and the constant pitter patter of something on the roof. We got up bright and early to have breakfast at the bakery whose signs promised to be open from 5am but apparently decided that wasn't a good idea. Instead we jumped in the car and decided to eat later in the morning.

The fog on Monday morning was like nothing I'd ever seen before. We decided that we couldn't aford to wait for the fog to clear as it could be hours and we didn't have the luxury of waiting for that. So we jumped in the car and headed in the wrong direction at 7.30am. Luckily we didn't go too far before realising we'd gone backwards so turned Bella (for those of you who don't know me that well - Bella is my car) around and tried again. It was a pretty scary trip that morning as visibility was down to about 10m in some places. You certainly couldn't see the side of the road so I couldn't tell you a thing about the area. (From what I've heard I didn't really miss much though...) Being the extremely intelligent girl that I am I completely forgot that Bella had fog lights until well after the fog had cleared - not the most helpful of things to forget in those conditions. We had lost a lot of time thanks to that little "pressie" from those in charge of the weather so what was already going to be a long day just got even longer... We had set a couple of rules when starting out, one of which was to not drive at night but this rule had to be broken. I ended up doing a very long drive thanks to a maniac of a truck driver whom we couldn't afford to get behind so by the time we stopped for the night at Gunnedah I was absolutely exhausted. We couldn't even be bothered sitting down for a meal so grabbed takeaway and collapsed for the night.

On Tuesday morning we woke up to a little fog and a very very icy Bella. In fact we put things on the roof while trying to pack her and they were just skating across the top. Was going to stop for a game of ice hockey on top of the car but decided we really should get going! Today was going to be a slightly shorter day but with a big reward at the end of it - we were going to stay with my friend Georgina at Mt Tambourine! I hadn't seen George for quite some time so was really excited at the thought of catching up with her! Several roadworks slowed the trip down that day which was incredibly frustrating but there really wasn't much that could be done about it. There was some fantastic scenery through Queensland which kept us alert through the day. Now getting to George's house was without a doubt the worst part of the trip and the only point at which Mum and I could quite possibly have got into a major fight as we were so scared. However, we made it up the windy, narrow road after pulling over several times for the local traffic to fly past me. Our surrounds were absolutely stunning but as I was driving and terrified I didn't enjoy them nearly as much as I should have. However, we made it there in one piece and were met with open arms. We had a wonderful home cooked meal, fantastic rainforest views and good conversation. It was sad to say goodbye the next morning but there were many promises for visits in the near future...

We didn't leave until later in the morning on Wednesday as the rest of our trip was to be a relaxing one. The trip down the mountain was via a different road and much easier than the trip up had been the night before. Luckily we'd been alerted to the rule of "hitting a motorway doing full speed or you'll cause an accident" or we could have been in trouble. I made sure that once I was on the motorway I sat in a middle lane so I wouldn't have to worry about what was coming and who had right of way! (I'd had enough dramas on the road by that stage!) We headed to Noosa for lunch and on arrival we just wandered around, grabbed food and sat on the beach to eat it before having a quick look at the real estate agent to be amazed by all the properties available there. I don't believe I'll ever be able to afford any of them but it was nice to dream... Just after we left Noosa the rain came and settled in for the rest of the day. Our final destination for the day was Hervey Bay. We had planned to wander around for awhile before going out for dinner and then settling in for the night but yet again the weather had other plans for us and we were forced to stay inside due to heavy rain! Off to the RSL for a lovely meal and then crashed to get a decent sleep before the final day of driving!

Thursday morning arrived and I was keen to get going but as we hadn't seen any of Hervey Bay we went for a quick walk to the beach before heading off. The day was relatively uneventful and my excitement grew the closer we got to Rocky. My poor Mother must have been ready to hit me with all the babbling I was doing that day! Then again she's had plenty of years to get used to it! Finally we arrived in Rocky, said "Hi" to all the bulls as we drove past them (for those of you who haven't been here before, Rocky is the beef capital of Australia and therefore has statues of different types of bulls around the city; businesses also tend to have big cows on them too...) and then hit the road to Yeppoon. I got to show Mum her first glimpse of Yeppoon which is breathtaking and that was pretty exciting for me. A quick stop at the real estate agent to pick up some house keys and we were on our way to view the "treehouse". In my excitement I completely missed the turn into Meilland Street but quickly corrected my error (after reviewing a map as I was so disoriented) and the journey was finally over!

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Matt's Trip to Girt Island

After weeks of inactivity, I finally decided to get involved with the local Yeppoon Scout Group. After speaking with the Group Leader, we decided that it would be best for the group if I helped as a Assistant Scout Leader. It's not quite the role I had in mind when approaching the group but I was happy to accept the challenge, especially since I've never actually working in the scout section before as a regular leader.

The first couple of meetings I've been too have been great. The Scout Troop has about 14 youth members and one leader, Doug. It appears to be a relatively young-aged Troop but the kids are great, though a little noisy at times. Nothing I haven't been able to handle on previous activities with Scouts.

The first night we worked on leadership and listening skills. I got to know some of the kids pretty well and found out that several of them were planning to head down to Adelaide for the Jamboree next year. The following week we concentrated on pioneering which was interesting for me because I really haven't done much construction work since I left Scouts. We built a couple of small towers with some limited success!

I was also invited to attend a going up ceremony for two Scouts on their way to Venturers. This was to be held on Girt Island near Keppel Sands. With this information in hand I presumed that we'd be going there on some sort of boat. How wrong I was! The plan was to walk to the island and back while the tide was low! Luckily we have really big tides in the area, apparently 4m between high and low so I was told.

I arrived at the small town of Keppel Sands ready for the trip across. I was told by the Venturer Leader, Alan that Keppel Sands is famous in that some point in history a bunch of South Sea Islanders were dropped off near by and used for labour in the Sugar Mills near by.

The walk to the island was pretty uneventful, except that most of the way I couldn't actually see where the sandbar that we were following was. Luckily Alan knew what he was doing and we ended up on the island without even getting our knees wet. We then spent some time exploring the island and tormenting the local crabs.

We eventually made our way to the top of the island for the going up ceremony. The two Venturers renewed their promise and Alan and I made a few quick speeches on the importance of going up to Venturers and the new avenues that it opens up to them. We then spent another 1/2 hour exploring the island

On the way back we discovered that the tide was coming in a little faster than we expected. Before long we were above our knees in water and still had a way to go before reaching dry land! Luckily for us the shallow sand bar was closer than we thought and we made it back without getting too wet!

Over all it was a great day with the guys and I had a good chance to speak with the Venturers, Leaders and even a couple of parents while walking along the beach. Got some great photo's too. Check them out in the Scout section of the photo album.