It seems that this blog is now a Jo and Wayne collaboration, but it’s back to me (Jo) this week.
Palm Cove / Green Island
We ended our stay in Palm Cove by finally doing a reef cruise. We were waiting on the wind to stop and finally on Tuesday it did. The day was so perfect that the charter company decided to redo their advertising package and sent a chopper to take pictures of the Island and the boat etc, so we were thankful that we waited around. The boat trip was pretty uneventful over to Green Island. Usually Sarah is sea-sick but she managed to keep her 1 weetbix down (poor kid was starving, but that’s all we allowed to her have, just in case). Frankie as usual was running around the boat in “frankie fashion” which means screaming and squealing and generally just not sitting still. We were supposed to dock at Green Island at 10am, but because the chopper was taking pictures, we had to hang around a little which means we didn’t actually get off the boat until after 10.30am. This was a problem because we had booked a Semi Submarine tour at 11.30 and we needed to snorkel before then and then be back at the boat for the tour which went for 30 mins and then back to the boat for the lunch we paid for. Had we known that Green Island itself catered for tourists and their starving stomachs, we probably wouldn’t have included the lunch on the boat as part of our package. It made the first pay of the day a little rushed and stressed..
We all had our snorkel gear and flippers and headed for the part of the beach that was for ‘serious snorkelers’ ie : NO lifeguards ! The water was beautiful and clear and walking along the boardwalk you could clearly see the fish and the turtles. Once we got down to the beach the planning begins. Obviously one of us has to stay with Frankie, Sarah was unsure if she wanted to snorkel, Olivia was keen as mustard to get her little legs swimming away and I was a little indifferent. It was at this time that the realisation of Wayne NOT being able to “hold my arm under water and gently guide me through the reeds til we got to the good stuff” that I became very nervous. Still I thought ‘I can do this’. It was decided that I would go with Lulu and Wayne would do it after lunch, in the meantime he would sit with Sarah and Frankie and build sand castles. I lasted about 50 mtrs.. I got as far as the edge of the sandbank and where the reeds meet (a few fish in-between) and then I kind of froze. Well ok, I froze. I just couldn’t get past the reeds to get to the coral. I’ve done it before, when we were in Exmouth and Coral Bay and I thought I did good. The difference was that Wayne was with me and I feel safe with him. Oh well, it wasn’t to be at this point in time. I made my way back to Wayne and we swapped parenting duties ! Liv wasn’t bothered either way, her daddy takes her on big adventures and she loves it. I stayed with our 2 little girls and played in the water. It was still fun 🙂
We then hurried back to the boat where we did our semi submarine tour. That was fantastic. We were all very squished and it becomes very clear that we are under water within about 10 secs upon entering the vessel, but seeing the coral and the masses of fish soon makes you forget. I’m so glad we did this, mainly because Sarah was worried that she wouldn’t SEE the Great Barrier Reef if she didn’t snorkel. We had told her that there were many ways to see the Reef and this was the best way. Once again Wayne took a million pics and I think out of all of us, he loved this the most..
After the tour, we went back to the boat again for our ‘buffet of succulent dishes’ that we paid for as part of our tour package. Let’s just say I wish we hadn’t already paid $100 for it, I would have preferred to grab a sandwich on the Island. Lots of sweaty, wet and sandy people standing in line waiting to pick their food.. it was worse than a Sizzler Salad Bar.. At least at Sizzlers you are DRY and wearing clothing !
After lunch we decided to check out the Island and we were really surprised that there was a resort. It seems that we aren’t researching or asking the right questions about the places we are visiting. Wayne kept saying ‘If I had known this, I would have booked us a couple of nights’. (We shall see about this.. heading to Airlie Beach soon, the gateway to the Whitsunday.. the proof will be determined very soon). We walked around a bit, had an ice-cream and then went to the patrolled beach which was perfect. I snorkelled a little bit here but by this time I had a huge headache (and no pain relief) and the mask was hurting my head, so I hired a deck lounge chair and umbrella and the kids played in the beach, Wayne and Liv snorkelled again. Pretty soon it was time to head back to the boat and make the long journey home (long because I had a bad headache by this time and spent the hour and 15 mins with my head in my hands) Poor Wayne and had to look after Frankie by himself and by this time she was over-tired cranky and a little crraazzzzy. Finally got back to the van around 6pm.
Impressions of Green Island ? Lovely, but in Wayne’s words ‘Rotto is heaps better’… We also thought that Exmouth (Ningaloo Reef in WA) is pretty spectacular and that we are lucky to live in a State where the oceans and reefs are amazing..Great Barrier Reef is of course huge and we have so far only seen 1 small part of it. I’m sure when you get closer to the outer reefs it becomes even more colourful and spectacular, but we’ll have to see how we manage that with Frankie. Green Island was perfect because we could walk around, lie on the beach, hang out on the boat etc.. we had a few family friendly options !
Not a great time was had in Innisfail, in fact we spent most of it in hospital with Olivia. We arrived in town about 2pm and after setting up the van headed into town to get some groceries. After being in Woolworth’s for about 10 mins Olivia was complaining of a tummy ache. I didn’t think any of it as someone always seems to have a tummy ache but after about 5 mins I turn around to find her on the floor in agony and Wayne on the phone to the hospital. It happened so quickly and within about 15 mins we were in emergency. Turns out she had a serious case of constipation and if you’ve had it as an Adult you know how painful it can be. It was horrible and heartbreaking seeing her in so much pain. The Dr’s were unsure what to do for her at first, so x-rays were taken, 2 sets of bloods, a horrible procedure that you can imagine and finally some morphine and a drip to help ease her pain. I don’t think I’ve heard her scream or cry that loud or for that long before.. After about 3 hours she started to settle down a little and after about 5 hours we were able to go home.
The next day we decided to stay put in the caravan park and just lay low so she could recover. We were given some child friendly laxatives for her to take and were told they were ‘fast acting’ so we wanted to stay close to the bathrooms. However, nothing was fast acting and she remained a little sore for most of the day. It’s also hard on the family when we just sit around and do nothing, everyone gets on everyone’s nerves, Frankie becomes restless etc.. thankfully the park where we stayed had a pool so we were able to lie around in that for a while.
The next day the plan was to go and see Josephine Falls and then pack up and head towards to Townsville. Olivia still felt a little sore though as she still hadn’t managed to go to the bathroom, so Sarah, Frankie and Wayne went to the falls. About 30 mins after they left, Olivia and I walked over to the bathrooms to clean our teeth etc. I was walking back to the van to tidy up when I heard her screaming and I ran back to find her on the floor again. Quickly went up to reception to call a cab so they could take us to hospital, but the caravan owner was very sweet and quickly drove us in instead. This time the nurses spent more time with her, and gave her heat packs, a concoction of ‘who knows what’ but something that would surely make her pass a motion soon.. After about 2 hours she needed to use the bathroom and we finally had success !!! Wayne had rushed back from the falls in the meantime (with a pillow pet as a present) and as I followed Liv out of the bathrooms we were doing high fives behind her back.. who would have thought POO could be so exhilarating ? We were sent home with medication and lots of promises to drink more water, eat more pears and a herbal laxative now and again. .
In Wayne’s words : Josephine Falls is about 20kms North from Innisfail. It was a short walk to the falls and it was beautiful. Surrounded by rainforest.
We decided to only stay 1 night in Townsville instead of the 3 that we had originally planned. After our impromptu stay at Palm Cove for 5 days we needed to cut back on some days through this part of QLD. Wayne convinced us to do a FREE camp this night so we found a pleasant spot that had WATER and TOILETS. There was also a park and it backed onto an oval. It was pretty nice I admit, for an overnighter. Olivia was feeling better, although still a little crampy but we felt comfortable that she would be able to sleep well etc. We set up and then went into Townsville to check it out. Another water park along the foreshore seemed to be the place to start. Similar to Cairns Water Park and it was PACKED, being a Saturday afternoon ! The girls all got wet had a play and then we walked along the boardwalk for a bit. After a coffee stop we all got back in the car and drove around. Townsville is a lot bigger than what I had thought and the houses that are dotted all around the mountain were beautiful. We drove up to the lookout, which was about 3km long and very windy and hilly. Lots of women and men exercising along here. Wayne’s answer to my questions of ‘WHY are there so many beautiful women in Townsville running’. ARMY Jo, they either work for the Army, training for the Army or need to get a promotion in the Army…mmm really Wayno ? Couldn’t they just be addicted to exercise itself ? Just because we aren’t.. NO way Jo.. ARMY ! (I love this man).
The view was once again lovely.. We’ve seen so many views from various lookouts now.. but still breathtaking..
Goodbye Townsville and hello Airlie Beach..or so we thought. We were about 30 kms from Airlie when we noticed a Fire in the distance. A few people had pulled off the side of the road and we thought we’d better put our two-way radio on. Found out quite quickly that the roads were closed, so we beaded back into Bowen instead. We were planning on just driving into Bowen one day from Airlie as Wayne has a family friend that lives there, but we ended up staying 1 night. The whole town of Bowen had no power for a few hours, so it was a like a ghost town. We set up the van once again and by this time it was late in the afternoon. The big news about BOWEN of course is that the Baz Luhrmann’ film AUSTRALIA was filmed here. It’s amazing to think that they transformed this town to look like Darwin. There is a cleared field I guess you could call it, across from the Jetty and this is where the stockyards and the township in the movie were filmed. Everything was made only for the movie and pulled down after filming. Bowen itself looks like a really pretty town and if we had more time we may have stayed another night. Wayne’s friend lives just out of Bowen towards Airlie so we headed there for a visit and a cuppa. They live on 2 and a half acres and it’s so different to where we live in Perth. Very quiet, serene and peaceful. .
So that’s about it for this past week.. Still enjoying it, we have become more relaxed in some instances and more anxious in others (mainly my disgust with public toilets – I HATE THEM).. I’ll get over it.. maybe..
Take care everyone, until next week