Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Australia, North Stradbroke Island, 31/5/14

After Mosquito Death Island, the four of us headed to North Stradbroke Island for two days of adventuring. We set out to explore Brown Lake on Friday. Garth and I had been there before, but Sam and Espie hadn't. It was a 7km walk there and back, so we left a full day.

The walk was nice, and for the most part it curled in amongst trees and bushland. There had been a fire recently, hopefully an intentional one because the blackened ground went right up next to the houses which would have been terrifying for the residents if it had been running wild. Grass and ferns were starting to grow back and the bush was full of contrasting colours. The trees were really black, the regrowth was really green and a lot of the foliage was really red due to the whole autumn situation. There were some lovely views as well, so the 7km flew by.

The lake was just as I remembered it, minus all the people that go along with QLD weekends in summer. It was a weekday in winter and we were all alone. The lake is a sacred aboriginal site, and technically only women are supposed to bathe there. But Garth hates sexism more than being culturally insensitive, so in we went. Plus it's not really a rule, more an interesting fact about the place.

It's a special place, according to the sign on the beach. It never used to be a lake - the whole island is sand, and on top of the sand are many, many layers of leaves from the Eucalyptus trees surrounding it. Eventually they got thick enough to form a base to stop water seeping through and the lake was formed. That's also why the water is brown, but it looks more like red when the light shines through it. As the water gets deeper you can clearly see a gradient of colour - it's yellow, orange, red, brown then black. I love swimming in the red bits, because the light refractions sparkle all along the bottom and your skin appears to be a different colour.

It's also very full of eucalyptus oil from the leaves (which continually fall in from the trees around it). So when you come out of the water your skin and hair are ridiculously soft and silky. Just in time too, as my dirty hair was beginning to drive me crazy.

We had a picnic lunch and played around for a while on the swings. I was disappointed in the lack of goannas, who were chasing small children in force the last time I visited. It must be the wrong time of year. There were plenty of kookaburras to keep us entertained though.

Garth found a kangaroo on the way home, which my silly little kiwi was very excited about. He loves kangaroos! The tide had gone out hardcore in our absence, which meant carrying the dinghy a very long way. Although to be fair, I mostly just look pictures of crabs while the boys carried it.

We even spent a day swimming, which we haven't done in a long time. The water was finally warm enough! The boys stuck up the spinnaker pole and had a blast finding new ways to launch themselves into the water. You can swing out over the water, but you have to let go before the pole hits the side stays. Fun! I floated around on the spare life buoy for ages, holding onto a rope so the current didn't sweep me away and trying not to think about sharks. Now we've got our feet wet again we'll have to go swimming much more often!

We had a blast with Espie, playing board games and being social. He even helped install the wifi for our chartplotter! We were sad to see him go but he had to go do normal people things, like work and washing. We're headed to Moreton Island next, which we expect to be mostly sand dunes.

Xxx Monique

(I should mention I've stolen some of these pictures from Michael Espie).

I did NOT want to go in head first!

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