Thursday 24th March – Panicking
I drove into the city to pick up Bronwen, and then we went to Woolworths because it’s going to be shut tomorrow and we must panic lest we all perish.
Despite our Woolworths being fairly normal, we kept hearing reports of empty shelves and shopping chaos, so we decided it might be safer to leave the mainland while we still could.
Friday 25th March – Stradbroke Island
I slept in, before getting ready for Stradbroke Island. As usual, despite looking it up first for a change, we arrived at Cleveland just in time to miss the ferry—and being Easter, parking was but a distant memory. There were cars parked in front of other cars parked up on lawns, double parked in all the car parks and nary a spare spot to be seen.
Fortunately I’ve done this before, so drove to a nearby secret park where I was surprised to find there was still some available lawn where I could park my car. I’ve no idea if it’s allowed—but there’s no signs saying not to, and there’s a lot of other cars there. I was ready to give up by this stage as it was already past the time the ferry was supposed to have left, but Bronwen was annoyingly optimistic and made me run through the park (which was quite hard with a backpack, camera bag and tripod) and as we got to the Gold Cats ferry terminal the staff held the ferry and yelled at us to keep running. It was slightly embarrassing as the whole ferry watched us run while the staff goaded us on, but it was quite time-efficient.
The ferry didn’t sink or hit any icebergs and the bus was waiting for us once we got to the island. In fact, having done this before, we waited on the correct side of the ferry, unlike everyone else, and were first off the ferry and first onto the bus. The drive to Point Lookout may have been quicker than all the people filing onto the bus and paying the annoyingly priced $4.70 fare which means no one can ever pay the correct change, and we didn’t hit any other cars or kangaroos.
We hopped out at Bob’s Shop and walked up to “The Shed”, which we were happy to find was still there and Bronwen had brought the key and it was the right key—though once inside we had to call Bronwen’s mum to find out where all the other keys were.
We plugged in the power and water, I turned on the wrong gas bottle, and we had some pasta salad for lunch before popping down to Bob’s Shop to buy milk, ice cream, cream, cheese, baked beans, and iced coffee—all the essentials of life, apart from hot water, which didn’t work until Bronwen turned on the correct gas bottle.
Now all set up, Bronwen and I went for a wander along the beach. It was quite low tide so with only a little water-hopping we managed to get to the cave at the end of Frenchman’s Beach. Bronwen entered the mystical low-tide cave and emerged, alive, with a pet—a small crab called Alf—who was very ungrateful and ran away. Bronwen was heartbroken until she found another pet—a small shell-thing called Ernest. He was a friendly shell-thing and waved at us, but eventually we had to put him back on his rock. It was a sad moment, but I’m sure we’ll see him there again tomorrow.
I also learnt that I can take photos with my phone by saying “smile”, “cheese”, “capture”, or “shoot”.
We had vegetarian hot dogs, cheesy macaroni and baked beans for dinner, followed by tea and some cheesecake and chocolate ice cream for inner strength and whiter, brighter teeth and bones.
Optus seems to be congested, or perhaps just hates me, and is making it difficult to use the internet.
Saturday 26th March – The First Toe
Despite the gloomy forecast, it was another day of perfect, slightly globally warmed, weather.
After a lazy morning eating porridge Bronwen and I went for a walk along the beach so Bronwen could lose her shorts. We walked what Bronwen calls “North” (historically known as West) along Deadmans, Cylinder, Home, and into the start of Flinders beaches, popping in to visit Ernest (who wasn’t home—we think he might have a secret lady friend) and sneaking into Adder Rock campground for Bronwen to test the toilets and prepare her shorts for losing (she was carrying them wrapped in my towel so had to unwrap them first). We turned back a little way into Flinders beach, once Bronwen had managed to lose her shorts.
The walk back was very dehydrating. Bronwen dropped my shirt and discovered she’d lost her shorts. She also realised she hadn’t injured herself all weekend and decided she had better run and kick a tree root and hurt her big toe. Fortunately, while running around looking for tree roots she came across her lost shorts, who had been lazing about on the rocks before Flinders beach.
I continued walking slowly towards the water fountain at Cylinder beach, expecting Bronwen to catch up, but because she’d been so successful at finding a tree root to kick she had stopped running and decided to continue at a celebratory hobble instead. I waited at the water fountain until Bronwen got back to “The Shed” and called me. I was understandably very angry that she’d not stopped at the water fountain to get me as planned, so I walked back to “The Shed” and had her make me vegetarian hot dogs and leftover baked beans as punishment, then went to sleep.
We woke to find it was four o’clock, and time to go for another walk. We walked to Deadmans, then Frenchmans, had another look at the mystical low tide cave, decided not to go for a swim, and walked back to “The Shed”. We got my camera and tripod, and walked to the chip shop where we waited for many, many hours while many, many women who were either slightly retarded or slightly drunk tried to order food. On the bright side, they thought it was very funny. One paid entirely in two dollar coins. One asked what The Works Burger had on it, and when the entirely nonplussed (this was about the nineteenth annoying thing they’d done by this time) server told them The Works Burger had everything on it, she wanted them listed out, then asked what The Beef Burger (which was 50¢ cheaper) had on it. An hour or two later she’d worked out the difference was egg, and decided to go with the eggless option—which she then, after reading the rest of her order off her phone and making on-the-spot decisions amidst much mirth from the rest of her gang, asked for egg on.
Eventually, to our surprise, we managed to order our chips and two potato scallops, which we took down to the beach in time to catch the moonrise. However, while the chips were delicious, my plans of taking amazing moonrise photos were thwarted by water vapour, which had unionised and organised itself into hostile clouds and almost entirely obscured the moon, so after pointing my camera at various blurry pitch black things for a while Bronwen decided she’d felt a rain drop and we gave in to the unionised water vapour thugs and walked back to “The Shed”.
We’d learnt from last night that mosquitos sneak in and bite us when we’re sleeping, so this time we lit a mosquito coil and had a lovely night’s sleep right up until it ran out and the mosquitos arrived again. Fortunately, the pain and agony awoke me and I lit another piece of mosquito coil and had a terrific sleep-in.
Sunday 27th March – Rain
I awoke to find it was raining and awful so I went back to bed. Bronwen awoke to find it was beautiful and there was a lovely pitter-patter on the tin roof, all the trees were being rejuvenated, and everything was moist and lush. She then kept trying to make me get up.
Eventually I was forced, against my will, to get up and eat some vanilla creamed rice for breakfast, then, a while later, to finish off the pasta salad with some leftover chips, baked beans and vegetarian hot dogs. It then became three o’clock so we ventured out into the damp outdoors to see if we could catch any colds.
We walked down to Deadmans beach then along to Frenchmans beach. I took lots of photos of small things with my phone and we spent a while wandering around rock pools. My phone seems to be depressingly good at taking photos. Compared to my SLR, it’s heaps lighter, has better battery life, can order pizza, has a Sony sensor, inbuilt stabilisation, is voice activated, and automatically over-saturates everything so photos come out fantastically and no post processing is ever needed. Plus, the specs of the photos sound funny: f/2.2 5mm 1/269s ISO 40.
Having failed to catch any colds or justify why I carry several kilograms of archaic camera equipment all over the world when my phone is better, we decided to go for a swim. Bronwen almost instantly went blue and began shivering—excellent signs that a cold was nearby—but try as I might my constant battle against the sideways current kept me warm and the colds at bay. There were quite a few surfers out where the sharks live, but not really much in the way of waves (or sharks) in where we were swimming—and the rainy weather had kept yesterday’s crowds away, so we were mostly swimming with teenagers on body boards.
We stayed swimming until it began to rain again and get dark, then walked back to “The Shed”, where a lovely hot shower all but killed any chance we had of catching colds.
We had breakfast again for dinner, Bronwen read her Kindle, and then—just as it began to rain again—we drank an infusion of honey and lemon and went to bed, just like in Romeo and Juliet.
Monday 28th March – The Other Toe
I got up at 5 AM. It felt terrible so I woke Bronwen and we walked up to Whale Rock at Point Lookout to watch the sunrise. Obviously, after going to this much effort, the sunrise was entirely unspectacular—though perhaps not quite as unspectacular as the moonrise we went to see on Saturday, which is surprising as we made less effort to see that.
After ruining the day by getting up before it was ready, and then squatting on a rock for so long my legs stopped working (while Bronwen comfortably read her backlit Kindle) we walked back to “The Shed” for a breakfast of cheesecake, and then went back to bed for a short while. However, our little snooze failed to make any useful difference in fixing our terrible mistake of getting up before the day was ready so we gave up on fixing it and walked down to Frenchmans Beach to go for a swim instead. It felt quite late in the day, but was actually still quite early.
Bronwen’s injured toe was getting quite a lot better by now—she could walk like a normal person and everything—so she decided she had better injure the other one. Not someone to waste any time (unless she’s playing cards on her phone, reading her Kindle, or watching TV—in which case she can waste quite a lot of time) she immediately found a rock and kicked it, quite successfully injuring her other big toe. Some of the insides came out and everything! To celebrate, we walked back to “The Shed”, where we put some antiseptic that expired in 2008 on it for the placebo effect and wrapped the toe in bandaids to try to keep the insides in and the outsides out—though this proved to be mostly placebo also. Then, proud of having successfully injured both big toes in only one long weekend, we walked back down to the beach and went for a swim, which of course promptly removed the bandaids and let the insides out and the outsides in.
Deciding that swimming was for losers who can’t kick things, we instead found some rock pools and played in them, taking photographs of little seafolk and their gardens underwater, before becoming hungry and walking back to “The Shed” for a lunch of chips, canned spaghetti and vegetarian sausages.
After lunch time suddenly sped up, so we packed up “The Shed” and went for a walk along the beach to Flinders Beach. Just after we got to Flinders Beach time suddenly sped up again and it jumped straight to 4:30—which was significantly and also horrifically too late. We rushed back to “The Shed”—which was made slightly more fun than normal by parts of Bronwen’s insides leaking out of her toe and her sandal re-breaking (it’s broken at least five times so far but Bronwen keeps finding new kinds of glue which will certainly fix it) so she had to wear only one sandal. I nearly died from exertion. Then we rushed to the bus, carrying all our gear, and nearly dying again. Last time we caught the bus from Point Lookout to the ferry it was so full we had to squeeze in up the front and they refused to let a lot of people in who presumably then died or were eaten by sharks, so I was quite surprised when it arrived not full and I got a seat. This was fortunate as it was unlikely I’d have survived if I’d had to have stood and being entirely covered in sweat, parts of Bronwen’s toe, carrying a sharp tripod and sticky from sunscreen made me an unideal bus-cuddle partner for those who had to stand later.
The bus took us to the Gold Cat, which didn’t sink and took us to the mainland where we walked through the very dark dog park without being mugged to my car, which—surprisingly—was not only still there, not broken into—but didn’t even have a parking ticket. It even started, so we drove home without having any accidents, did some washing, ate two minute noodles, and went to sleep.