Maz was going to Stradbroke Island with some friends on the eleven o’clock ferry. This seemed far too late, so Bronwen and I decided to go on an earlier ferry. Plus, they were going in a car and on Maz’s motorbike so would have to take the slow car ferry, and we’d be catching the bus which meets the fast Stradbroke Flyer. However, I have a serious medical condition where I always think there’s more time than there really is, so by the time Bronwen and I had finished buying my iced coffee at Woolworths, we only just had enough time to rush to the 10:55 ferry—barely five minutes before Maz’s far too late ferry—and there wasn’t any parking left in the close car parks.
Our flyer was much faster than the car ferry, so we arrived on Stradbroke Island far sooner than the others. However, the bus (which was running late—for reasons which will soon be obvious) costs $4.70, and all eight hundred people who got on had to buy a ticket, received their foolish amount of change, and wait for the machine to print out the ticket—which they presumably immediately threw out or ate or something as it is of no use whatsoever. This took a really, really long time. On the bright side, we had a seat to sit in, unlike all the other people who had to stand.
We still managed to get to “The Shed” before Maz got to his campsite, but only just.
After opening up “The Shed” and doing the bare minimum to make it liveable, Bronwen and I walked down to Bob’s Shop, where after a short wait we met Maz and his friends, and bought chips. Bronwen and I had cleverly brought tomato and BBQ sauce—in fact, it was the only food we brought.
After lunch we walked back to “The Shed” with Maz to find a piece of wood, then walked to the Cylinder beach campground where Maz and Co were camping so Maz could use the piece of wood to persuade his tent pegs to go through the rocks they were camped upon. After this the braver part of the group decided to go for a swim, while Bronwen, Maz and I went for a walk along the beach. It then began to rain. This wasn’t the ideal start to a camping trip, but at least we all got to go for a swim—a standing-up one, in our case.
After standing around and bemoaning the rain for a while it stopped raining so we went for a walk back to “The Shed” to get my camera gear, and then went for a walk along the beach to find the others attempting to drown themselves while taking photos of the water. George had a neutral-density 16 filter, which makes everything very dark, so I borrowed it and took a few long-exposures of the water, and then it was actually dark, so I took some more without it, and then it was dinner time, and we all walked to the pub.
I had some kind of very expensive vegetarian pasta and Bronwen had a very expensive Mediterranean pizza. They were both quite yummy, however. Some people drank beer and there was a joke about everything being watered-down (which persisted all weekend) and head-torches, and generally lots of laughter all round.
As Bob’s shop shuts at nine, and dessert at the pub cost far too much, we all walked to Bob’s shop just before it shut and bought ice creams.
Some of the more crazy people were planning to get up at four o’clock to get to the gorge walk before sunrise, so I had set my alarm and bought myself an emergency iced coffee from Bob’s shop last night, and was all ready for the pain and horribleness when I got an SMS from George saying the sky was too clear for photography so no one was going. I managed to get back to sleep almost instantly, and slept in until the sun was actually up and normal people were awake.
The campers had to be out of their camp by ten o’clock, so had packed up their tents as soon as they got up. Bronwen and I wandered down a while later and we all went for a swim. It turns out the water is really cold, and the waves weren’t very good, so it wasn’t the world’s best swim—but no one was eaten by a shark, so it wasn’t the world’s worst swim either.
I continued to make jokes about everything being watered down.
After our morning swim we walked along the beaches to Point Lookout and had an extremely expensive breakfast/lunch from the chip shop there. Bronwen and I shared half a mortgage’s worth of potato wedges, and I had a small-new-car’s worth of vanilla milkshake. After lunch we bought Italian ice cream, then walked back along the beaches to where the camper’s car was parked near their campsite, and lay in the grass for a while pretending we’d not eaten too much.
Once we’d recovered and the sun had stopped being so ferocious we tried swimming again—but the laws of physics weren’t really applicable here, so it was somehow even colder and we didn’t stay in for long. After our abortive attempt at swimming, we dried off, and Bronwen and I headed off along the beach back to “The Shed” to pack for our return, while the rest drove (and rode) to their ferry.
We packed up “The Shed” and waited for the bus, only to find that it was entirely full. Despite clearly already being illegally overloaded, the bus driver yelled at everyone to squeeze up more and let us—and the other five people waiting—on. Considering the next bus wasn’t for an hour, this was quite fortunate. The people at the next stop weren’t so fortunate though—they were told to wait an hour, missing their return ferry in the process. A few people got off a few stops later, and a few more squeezed on, and to my surprise not only did I not injure anyone with my tripod, but the bus didn’t fall over going around any of the corners.
The Stradbroke Flyer delivered us safely to Cleveland, where I found my car hadn’t been stolen, so we drove to West End for a curry dinner and to have a look at the Beggar’s Banquet—the end of the opening day of the West End Festival.
After dinner we drove home, washed all the salty things, sorted through some photos, and went to bed.