16 August 2009

August 20, 2009

So, I know that I have vanished for a while, but I am back with a whole new set of stories. This weekend, a group of sixteen students went on a trip to Fraser Island, which is one of the o-em-gee! things you have to see during a stay in Australia. As you have probably reasoned out, I was one of the lucky 16, and got a guided tour, lodging, and food for under 300 bucks, which is a pretty decent deal. The other 15 students were all either German or Swiss-German, which got a bit bothersome at times, because while everyone was fluent in English, there was really no reason to not speak German. I, however, know a small amount of Latin and a laughable amount of Spanish, so I usually was left to my own devices, but it gave me time to take lots of pictures.

A little background on Fraser Island: it is the largest sand island in the world (a full three times the size of the second largest), and belongs to the international heritage thingy, which basically means that it is so one of the kind, all the other places in the world have to be like, ‘whoa, Fraser Island, props.’ In addition, Fraser Island has arguably the freshest water in the world, which was absolutely delicious. Much better than anything bottled. There are also no actual roads on the island, just sandy paths cars fit on, so when we were driving inland, we had to be careful not to smack our heads on the ceiling of the truck. While most Australians (especially here on the coast) have seen Fraser Island tons of times and are, thus, totally unamused by it, I thought it was one of the prettiest places I have ever been, only matched by Sedona.

Our tour guide was rather enthusiastic and knowledgeable (even if he did seem to have an issue with determaining appropriate levels of personal space and stole my hat once), and so we got the chance to learn a lot. For instance, he showed us how to spot pipies, which are basically muscles, crack them open, and eat them. Even though I’ve never much cared for muscles, I figured I wouldn’t get the chance to catch and eat them on the world’s largest sand island ever again, so capture, crack, and slurp I went. Super salty from the ocean and sandy from the…well…sand, it was about as gross as I thought it would be, but a new and interesting experience, for sure.

We saw a decent amount of animals, including whales, sharks, dingoes, turtles, manta rays, and eagles. We also saw a dead turtle and a big whale carcass, which was very sad, but (secretly) super cool. My roommate, Anna, and neighbor, Kat, saw and nearly stepped on a snake, too.

I climbed these rocks barefoot and wearing a sundress, which made me feel a little like a dirty hippy, but mostly just happy. The view was spectacular. That’s where we saw whales and sharks.

We also went on a walk through a subtropical rainforest, which was even better than Malaney, which I did at the start of my study abroad. The creek that we walked around was so clear, it just looked like a more distorted path (side note: The first time I saw the creek, I thought that I was hallucinating from not being properly hydrated. Turns out I’m just paranoid, not insane). We saw massive pine cones, which only grow on Fraser Island, and lots of other neat plants.

I got a big splinter here, but it was okay, because these rocks were made out of rusting sand, so the cool outweighed the ouch.

We also saw a ship-wrecked, pre-WWI former cruiser, which has been decaying for over 30 years. The ship was fated to become Japanese scrap metal (so, bullets), and while they were towing it to Japan, a cyclone caught them, and the link snapped. They called for help, but since the engines had already been removed from the ship, there was nothing to be done, and it just crashed on the beach.

Possibly my favorite place we visited, though, was Lake Berabim, which was a huge fresh water lake that we swam in. The water was absolutely clear and stunning. Standing shoulder deep I could see my feet, that’s how clear it was. The sand was white, the sun was warm, and the afternoon was perfect.

So, this post has been more scattered than usual, but the only amusing anecdote I really have from the story involves underage teens dressed in foliage and the shady acquisition of a poker chip, so I feel like it might be a to-be-told-upon-appropriate-occasion sort of story. Thus, that’s all for me for now.

Remember to check out my photobucket for all the other pictures I’ve been taking, and that I’m always down to set up a skype date (although I have been known to miss them when I’m not careful and set them up for too early in the morning).



One comment

  1. Your pics are gorgeous. And I’m on Skype whenever I’m on my computer pretty much. dublin2oxford.

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