Thursday, December 29, 2005

Trip Recap

One of the pictures I posted of what I thought were kangaroos were really wallabies. The difference is height, and the wallabies are more square in their hind-quarters. I saw some wild kangaroos on the way to Fraser Island. The tour bus took a detour on the mainland through where they knew we would see them.

I saw one more wild koala between Brisbane and Surfer's Paradise. I pulled off at a sign that said "Koala Care Center" I think, and went inside to see the ones in captivity and the issues about koalas in the wild and how they're in danger. Another thing that most people don't realize - I didn't- is that koalas pass a certain bacteria onto their offspring that is good for digesting eucalyptus leaves, but only the leaves that are in that particular grove of trees. So they cannot be relocated, and their habitat is being decimated by development.

I was searching the trees in the surrounding acreage (hectarage?) for wild koalas, and finally spotted one along side the roadway. He was pretty high up, and my camera's batteries were dead, so no proof. He was more brown in color than the other ones I'd seen. After driving by the koala I decided to park and walk the paths to look for more. There was a Japanese family in the center I talked with a little bit, and they asked me if I had seen any. I said I had and lead them to it.

The only bright spot to being robbed (see an earlier post from the 26th) was that it enabled me, indirectly, to be in the presence of Jack Johnson. (If you don't know who he is, look on the cover of Men's Journal this month on the shelves.) I had just gotten off my 6am flight from Brisbane to Sydney, arranged that early to give me time to go downtown to the consulate for a temporary replacement passport and catch my 3:30 pm flight back to the states, so it was a domestic flight on Virgin Blue, and in their inflight magazine had an article on Jack...mostly about how laid back he is. I was walking towards the baggage claim and there he was on the left, with his wife and little blonde son. He's so recognizable. I stopped and was just like, oh my God. I got really nervous, but another guy went up to him and shook his hand so I asked his wife if they were on holiday, they said they'd just gotten there. I told her the surf had been flat but I got some good waves in Byron Bay, she said that's where they were headed and imagine how hard it was to leave Hawaii where the waves had been huge.

I went to him and introduced myself, shook his hand and told him I really appreciated his support for the Surfrider Foundation. He asked me where I was from and I said originally California but lately Washington. He asked me if I was involved in it and I said yes, and recalled that he'd done a show at the Gorge. I wished them all a Merry Christmas and happy New Year and was so nervous I completely forgot that I had a digital camera in my bag. He's so laid back and friendly he probably would have been okay with it, but I was feeling like a total gawker and didn't want to harrass the guy on his vacation. He is, though, as laid-back as they say, and as good looking as the pictures. Although I own "Brushfire Fairtales" I'm honestly a little tired of it; it's not one of those albums you can listen to, put it away, take it out months later and it seems new again. It's more like, oh this again.

The last really touristy thing I did was go to the aforementioned rock pools, in Currumbin Valley. The surf was gone and it had cooled off. The drive was beautiful, as green as up here in Washington in the summer, but palm trees and tropical birds. the pool wasn't really big but deep enough for 30' jumps and dives which I only played specator at. I took a 5' jump into the brownish/greenish water and did a canon-ball that slapped me pretty hard. The best part was sitting at a little spillway where a higher pool emptied into this one, and it was like getting a back massage.

Back on Dec 23rd I decided to try the internet at the Coolum library, which was booked solid but sometimes people don't use their whole hour, to check emails quick and let someone know what I'd been through that morning. I'd booked an hour in Maroochyadore library but didn't feel like driving down there. (The library had free internet access you could reserve in one hour blocks, four hours per week maximum. Coolum only had two computers in their library. The internet cafes were $10/hour and the machines were not up to date) I had to wait awhile and so I picked up a copy of Surfer Magazine. Earlier that day I'd heard in the news that California had been hit with five meter waves, killing someone in San Diego. Here I am in waist high mush I spent 15 hours on a plane for, and Cali's getting it all, 2 hours flight from Washington. In the magazine, I saw the editor, the brother of a gal I used to compete with in bodyboarding, had written his editorial about Flame, a photographer from Orange County where I grew up. He had died in his 40s. I had seen him around when I lived in Cali, probably spoke to him on occasion. I think he was one of the first photographers to be serious about shooting bodyboarders. I read further in the magazine about him and his death, some kind of brain tumor or cancer. He had lived in Laguna Beach and left a family behind. His nickname was flame because of his red, red hair.

Australia is a long way to travel when looking for waves, and there aren't any, or, very few. Three days of decent waves in a three week period is not what one would call a successful surf trip. I made the best of it with the tours and such, but any of you who know me very well, sight-seeing isn't really my thing. I'll post more photos on another site and provide a link once that is done. I best be getting to bed now. 7 am tomorrow is going to feel like 2 am. Crikey.


Blogger The Doll said...

I Can Outsurf Jack!!!!!

11:21 AM  
Blogger ambient lighting said...

maybe that's why he writes music now...

7:13 PM  

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