Fraser Island

33 Days in the Wilderness Day 17

We are up early again for our drive around the island.  At breakfast we find out that the kitchen bins are adjacent to the laundry facilities and Maureen had not one, but two dingoes for company.

We queue for the four wheel drive coach which cost 250,000 Australian dollars.  Another stringy dingo saunters along the road as we wait.  He totally ignores the humans.

We are taken on a woodland walk around a stream.  There are water snakes swimming in the stream and huge spiders and webs in the vegetation.  We get back on the coach and it stops so we can view the Maheno which is wrecked on the beach.  It’s huge rusting bulk is unsafe but there are always those who will jump aboard to pose for a photograph.

Kevin is our tour guide and driver but he keeps forgetting what he is saying, mid-sentence and mid-word.

We hear Geoffrey had been taken off the island by helicopter last night and is in hospital very ill.

We travel inland to Lake McKenzie.  The lake is of silica sand and the water stays in the lake because of the fallen vegetation which provides a catchment layer for the rainwater.  I wish I had brought a plastic container as the silica is the same sand that jewellers use to clean jewellery.  Most of the ladies are to be seen down on their knees cleaning their rings and bracelets for free.

Kevin has told us not to put on sun tan lotion if we want to swim as they don’t want the lake polluted.  The setting is picture post card but the reality is that the lake shelves rapidly within ten feet of the edge.

I can’t believe that today we are actually shown a rusty wreck that the Australians are proud of.  It must be polluting the sea and the sand.  Kevin has also walked us deep into the forest and shown us a King Fern which he gloomily reports is no longer reproducing because of global warming.  I want to let him know that these ferns are growing just fine in West Cork but don’t want to spoil his enjoyment of being miserable. Who am I to spoil his fun.

We are taken on another walk to view the seven different coloured shifting sands but are not allowed near as we might pollute the area!

It starts to rain heavily again as we return to the coach.  Kevin morosely tells us on the return journey that all of the beautiful sandy beaches that we can see are unsafe. One side of Fraser Island is notorious for rip tides and the other side is full of sharks.

We buy hot Ross buns in the shop and I get some butter from the restaurant.

We next meet up with Brenda for our evening meal.  It is self-service in the restaurant and as our fellow guests are mainly Far Eastern, there is very little European food.  I ask one of the chefs if are there any potatoes amongst all the dishes. He says, “No Madam, but would Madam like some French fries.?”

Madam would and he delivers a huge platter to our table.  Some of the Americans at the next table acknowledge our existence but their eyes are fixed on the fries and we make a grandiose gesture of sharing our spoils with them.

There are two large chest freezer compartments on one side of the self-service section.  Brenda is a chocoholic and finds four different types of chocolate ice cream.  She returns for seconds then thirds.

As we turn in for the night we get the news that Geoffrey has viral pneumonia.

33 Days in the Wilderness Day 16

We washed and dried our clothes until midnight last night.  The clothes had got soaked through being taken on the boat to Hamilton Island.  We are up at 5.45 am to finish drying the clothes.

Maureen phones Julie and the great news is that her mother is moving into sheltered housing near them both.

We think we have lost some of our clothes but we have been living out of the suitcases for so long everything is in chaos and mixed up.

I put laced-up leather shoes on today in an attempt to lessen the swelling of my feet.  I reason if I get the shoes on first thing in the morning when my feet are at my best the shoes won’t allow any further swelling.

We stop at Miriamvale which is quite a small town for morning break.

We stop at Childers post office and buy lots of prepaid wildlife postcards.  We find a great discount store, but have little time as we were last to get served in the cafe for lunch and then the girl forgot our order.

Geoffrey is very bad,  I am worried as his breathing is deteriorating rapidly.  They should have given him antibiotics at his last visit to the doctor, as well as the steroids.  He finds it difficult to walk from the bus to the ferry and Brenda is more or less helping him step by step.  I take one of her bags from her.  The Americans look at us as if we are crazy.  I want to explain to them that he is sick.  Can’t they open their eyes and see.

I ask about fishing trips as we walk to the ferry for Fraser Island, but all trips are arranged from Harvey Bay.  Three fishermen hear me talking and ask if I want to join them but they are going out for three days and they all look as if they need a wash, so I politely decline their offer.

The crossing out to Fraser Island is a bit rough although the weather looks great.

A coach picks us up and as we travel to Kingfisher Bay resort, we are warned about the dangers on Fraser Island.

We mustn’t bathe in the sea.  It is full of sharks.  We must use the swimming pools only.  We must not feed the dingoes.  They are to be treated as the wild animals they are.  The coach driver tells us the story of the young girl who camped on 75 mile beach and fed a dingo with the scraps from her campfire meal.  When she bent to wash her plate in the sea the dingo attacked her.  She had 127 stitches in her bottom and her derrière made front page news and headlines on television.

Kingfisher Bay resort is mainly glass and wood with timber walkways between the tiers of bedrooms.

On arrival at the resort we are taken into a large room and again warned about the dangers of the wild animals.  Humans are visitors on the island. It belongs to the wildlife and we are asked to respect the wildlife.

I change my shoes and my feet, although swollen, they are better than they have been since the start of the trip.

There are three swimming pools and a Jacuzzi.  Brenda, Maureen and I eat together and whilst Maureen goes off to do more washing, Brenda and I go for a swim.  It is now about 10pm and we swim by the lights of the restaurant overlooking the pool.  The water and air temperature are very pleasant and we happily swim around the leaf-shaped pool until we notice a dingo sniffing around the adjacent Jacuzzi.  We cast sideways glances at him as we have been warned he could attack if we stare directly at him.   He does not look like any dingo we have seen in picture books or in zoos.  He is larger than we supposed.  Not as big as an Alsatian but bigger than a Labrador. He has a reddish coloured coat but he is thin and gangly like a sprouting teenage lad and we can see every rib on his cage.  He walks confidently around the umbrellas and tables set on the boardwalk in front of the restaurant and then disappears into the shrubs and darkness.

Some Cockney kids join us in the pool and we make a quick exit as they dive bomb us from the ledge of the Jacuzzi.

Maureen blusters into our room shortly after I return.

”I couldn’t stay in that laundry room any longer,” she says.  “There were a lot of strange noises coming from outside and I was scared in case it was a dingo.”

258 miles