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First Day on Magnetic Island with Some Familiar Faces and a Hike in the Rain
Sunday 3rd April 2011 – Magnetic Island, Australia
I hadn’t formed much of a relationship with Townsville in my short time here, and especially not with the hostel or the people in it, so a change of scenery was in order, and I couldn’t think of a better place than Magnetic Island. It was a short ferry ride away, but I hoped it would be everything that Townsville is not. Time would tell.
I had to wake early this morning to catch the Ferry, and having already checked out the previous night, I had no reason to wake the receptionist girl, which was fine by me. There is only so much useless information one person can take. This was a good feeling this morning, to be leaving this place with the chance of a good few days ahead of me. I couldn’t wait.
The walk to the ferry port was long and tiresome again, but once on my way I could relax a little. The weather was grey and miserable already, and I just hoped it would pass by and leave glorious sunshine behind. The ferry arrived on Magnetic Island and I grabbed my belongings, ready for the short bus journey to my hostel, but still the clouds gathered and it wasn’t long before the rain fell.
The bus dropped me off at Bungalow Bay Backpackers and I instantly recognised the Italian Girls that I met in Cairns, as well as a couple from the hostel in Noosa that I had met previously. It was great to catch up again with everyone and to learn a little about Magnetic Island (Maggie), although I was displeased to learn about the weather, be it continual rain. Oh well, I would just have to make the most of it.
The Italian girls were leaving today, so I decided to go with them to the ferry to see them off. First I had to drop my bags in my room, and I noticed everybody else was still in bed, so I put my bags down and left again. The smell was enough to stop me lingering in the room too long.
I went with the girls to the ferry port and we stopped for a coffee before saying our goodbyes. I will miss these girls, as they are the most friendly and most fun girls I think I have ever met. They got on the ferry and disappeared from sight. I took the bus back to the hostel, had my lunch and opted to make the most of my time here on the island, rain or shine. I put on my wet weather gear and set out for a hike around the island, and to the tourist spots.
First on the list was Horseshoe Bay, a beach situated down the road from where the hostel is. In the rain it looked bleak and un-welcoming, but I can imagine the view to be somewhat spectacular when the sun is shining and the people are out enjoying themselves. Today there was only myself on the beach looking extremely harassed by the relentless rain and the sea breeze.
At this point I was already soaked through, and I couldn’t possibly get any wetter, so I thought I might as well try some of the hiking tracks on the island. In particular, I wanted to hike to the forts, but it was a fair distance to walk. The wet, muddy ground made walking difficult, and parts of the track had eroded to the point that it was near impossible to pass. I found ways around this though and it didn’t stop me from continuing onwards.
The forts were very interesting and I would have liked very much to see them in the dry, but in some ways it added to the atmosphere. I could imagine being here on such a rainy day, looking out over the hills with clouds engulfing much of the terrain, ready to fight at any moment. I can’t imagine what must have gone through the minds of the guys situated on this hill by these gun turrets. A walk into the empty shells of the now-disused bunkers was a little spooky. I often wonder what these walls could tell me if they could talk, the stories that would unfold. The only life in these small rooms now was the plant life and a small group of bats huddled together on the ceiling. As I walked around the room, the group of bats changed in shape to keep a close eye on me. I had a little fun with this and moved around the room at speed, moving in different directions and watching the reaction from the bats. I soon got bored and left them in peace.
As I approached the main road having seen the forts and surrounding areas, I noticed a lot of emergency vehicles on the road up ahead. The nearer I got, the easier it was to see what was going on. it appears two cars had collided head on and were now in the process of being dismantled to help the passengers inside. It looked horrific and I moved on to be out of the way. I hate to see things like this.
I walked onto Arcadia and found the secret waterfall in among the trees. As I negotiated the muddy walkway down to the water’s edge I noticed a pair of shoes and a T-shirt on a rock. As I looked about I couldn’t see anybody around. The waterfall cascaded over the rocks below forming many pools of fresh water, so I expect the owner of these garments is further down the river somewhere, I hoped so anyway. It was the perfect day to not be in the water so I couldn’t imagine why anybody would be swimming today. I dipped my toe in for a second and had to remove it instantly for the freezing temperature.
The day was getting on by this point and I had been out most of the day in the rain. I made the decision to make my way back to the hostel now and to try and see more at a later date. I approached the bus stop after much walking and had to laugh as I saw the bus I needed pull away. The next bus was in 50 minutes. I now had to decide whether to sit for 50 minutes in the wind and rain, or whether to cut my losses and walk back. I decided on the latter having spent most of the day walking anyway.
It was a little frightening walking along the side of the road, especially given the accident I saw earlier. I wondered if it was in fact legal to be doing so, but carried on nonetheless. When I eventually got back to the hostel I was happy to see I had taken just 40 minutes, and so saved time and money on not taking the bus.
Back at the hostel I was happy for a warm shower and dry clothes, and was looking forward to dinner having received a nose full of interesting smells from the kitchen area. I met up with a few familiar faces for dinner and had a lovely meal, followed by fun and laughter into the early hours. It was a good night.
As I came to bed I could see shapes on all of the beds in the room, so I had to be quiet. I spent the next 20 minutes or so being as quiet as I could, brushing my teeth in the bathroom and sorting out my bedclothes. I finally lay in bed having achieved ninja-style quietness, when 30 minutes later the door swung open and in came two guys who preceded to have a full blown conversation in the room with the lights all switched on. This went on for 30 minutes and when I looked round to make a point that I was trying to sleep, I could see no other person in the room other than the two guys, only bags on beds. I couldn’t believe what an idiot I had been, trying to be quiet when there was nobody else in the room.
When the lights finally went out, in walked two Irish girls, obviously quite drunk. On came the lights and on went another conversation between all the people in the room. All I could hear was “Stacey said this”, or “Adam is well fit!” I could have screamed as the time was nearly 3:30 in the morning and I was lying in bed listening to 4 drunk people telling each other how drunk they were. Eventually I dropped off regardless.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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