Any of you who know me personally will know that I’m about as comfortable submerged in water as a hairdryer. That being said, snorkelling is sometimes tolerable, dependant on the situation and how long the novelty factor lasts before I start panicing. On this occasion, we decided to hire some gear (including some very fetching stinger suits) and head off on foot to the best reef spot on Magnetic Island. As it’s situated in the Coral Sea it’s not too surprising that there would be lots to explore in the water but unfortunately for me, you have to actually go in the water to see it. Having said that, Florence Bay was as beautiful and colourful above the water as below and, much to my delight, the reef was vastly more populated than the beach. One good reason for this could be the three mile walk, up hill, in 40C (100F) heat you must undertake to get to it. I know that walks to the beach are always downhill, it’s just physics really but I assure you this walk managed to be uphill, BOTH ways. I have to admit, I did have pretty high expectations by the time I reached the beach, mostly in the form of “this damn well better be worth the walk!” and it certainly was.
With the beach to ourselves we donned our head-to-toe lycra jelly sting protection and gradually worked our way along the reef. We saw some beautiful living corals, a parrot fish and more sea cucumbers than you can shake a snorkel at. Rich even saw a ray of some kind but due to it most likely being the stingy (I killed Steve Irwin) kind, he swam away from it as fast as, well, a small man with flippers on. I decided that I love all sea creatures great and small but ideally I’d like to view them in a glass-bottomed boat. Also, wearing flippers is a rally good workout for the lower legs. I learned that the day after.
After about 3 hours it became increasingly apparent that we only had a dribble of warm water to drink and hadn’t bought any snacks – we were well and truly flippered out. SO, we packed up and set off on the longest, hottest walk back ever… or so we thought. Just when I thought I was going to die of snack withdrawal symptoms, some Aussie guys pulled up and offered us a lift back to the hostel. I almost bit their arm off and jumped in the back of their convertible tiny junk pile/4 wheel drive thing before they could change their minds. I have never been more grateful of a lift in my life. Wherever you are nice lift givers, I will never forget you. All in all, a great day at the beach!
Also, a very possible wedding location? What do you guys think? Who’s up for it??