Day 20: Fraser Island
At about 4:30am, the skies opened up and rain poured down in buckets. Despite the hammering down on the tarp above, and the wind whipping at the tent flaps, we stayed dry. It was a bit of a struggle in the morning hunting for all our wet items that were hanging on the clothes line that were now strewn across the campsite. The rain held off for a bit while everyone crept out from their tents for breakfast. Stumpy is a proper Aussie through and through, and his phrases are no exception. While some of us were cleaning up breakfast, the rest of the hungover group was slumped over the picnic tables. Stumpy insisted they quit “standing around like a bottle of stale piss at a wedding” and help out.
Emma was our designated driver this morning since she could drink due to antibiotics she was taking for a fish bite (they say everything in Australia tries to kill you….). Emma was a bit nervous to drive, but asked me to be her copilot and we got through it. She did a great job navigating the sand up until a wave came up quickly and we headed right for it. We lost control of the steering and the water washed over the windshield and gushed through the open windows. For a solid three seconds, we all thought we were headed underwater. As soon as the windshield cleared and we realized we were alive, the entire car burst out laughing hysterically. We waited for Stumpy to get on the radio and scold us for our water adventure but no one noticed.
During a brief pause in the rain, we stopped at the Champagne Pools. This is a swimming spot where the waves wash over volcanic rocks and bubble into little pools. The ocean waves were pretty aggressive and we could see the rain coming down in patches over the ocean. At the hike to Indian Head lookout, the rain started to pelt us and drench our soaked rain jackets.
The view was incredible of the beaches in both directions, but going back to the campsite and warming our hands over water kettles was even better. It was all we could do to stay warm as we ate wraps for lunch under the kitchen shelter. I half-jokingly decided to experiment by putting goon in hot tea. The mix of spices and sweet wine actually tasted like a warm spiked cider, and some of the group followed my example.
The next activity on the itinerary was to float down the Eli Creek on inner tubes (water wheels is what our German called it accidentally). Normally, I would be opposed to the idea of jumping into cold water while the rain came down, but on Fraser Island you don’t get a second chance to experience things. We all stripped down to our bathing suits and ran and jumped up and down to get warm. Byron and I hopped on the tube and floated along the fresh water stream, trying to avoid touching the water when possible. We were all a bit giddy from the adrenaline of freezing water and decided to go again and again before sprinting to the Land Cruiser for shelter.
The car looked like we had created our own beach inside with sand layering the ground at least an inch thick. We pulled up to the rusty Maheno shipwreck, which is beached in the sandy shore. Half the group stayed in the cars to avoid the rain, but all our group ran out and played inside the hulking metal frame and the waves washed over the decaying deck. The boat didn’t have any crew on board when it was lost since it was being towed by a Japanese ship. No bodies or pirate stories for this wreck.
Back at camp, everyone was so cold and sick of the rain that we all were ready for some strong drinks together to brighten the mood. It was our group’s turn to cook, so we all lent a hand when we could. Luckily, we had a chef in our car, so he basically carried our team while we supervised (see photo below–that’s some top notch supervising)
We played more card games from each country. Thijs had a good one where you go in a circle saying card numbers in order and if the card you say is the one you put down, everyone slaps.
Our English girl Gabby brought out her special deck of cards with male strippers on each card, which made the games that much more entertaining (except our German chef did not appreciate these much). The night carried on like this with a group sing-a-long to Country Roads led by Byron, me rapping Colt 45 & Two Zig Zags with a British girl, and our Dutch friend revealing his cheeky impulsive alien tattoo. I’d say we redeemed the evening despite the rain.
May 7, 2018
Breakfast: Toast, peanut butter, cereal
Lunch: Ham wrap
Dinner: Spaghetti at the campsite