If you have ever been camping you will understand the anxiety that a new camper might experience when laying on the hard ground with the only thing between them and nature is the hot and stuffy sleeping bag. Without fail I fell fast asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow (well the coat that I brought in replacement for a pillow). But in two hours my heart about jumped out of my chest and exploded when I heard a noise in my tent. Mind jumbled, I thought I was getting broken into at my dorm and went to reach for the light, which I quickly remembered that A) i was at camp and B) my only light source was my flashlight on my iPhone. Rationalizing with myself that it was the wind, the fear would still be at it’s peak when a gust of wind would smack my tent. It didn’t help that our tour guide tells us before bed to “not worry” but this island holds 3 of the top 8 deadliest snakes in the world. That was settling. Also, there was a large “Garden Python” that decided to sleep in our kitchen, so the anxiety levels were at a record high when trying to fall back asleep. But I eventually did and got to remember the day on a high note.
Other than the almost sleepless night, I had an amazing time at Moreton Island National Park. We started the day bright and early and headed to the harbor outside of Brisbane. In our monster truck of a vehicle, we glided over the sand with ease. Not even 10 minutes of hitting the soft sand we were strapping on our snorkel gear and wiggling into our wetsuits to head to the ship-wreck portion of the island. According to our guide these ships were purposefully shrunk because it was a lot cheaper to sink an old ship than move rocks. This led to years later the beautiful fish and coral in the middle of the ocean that my group and I got to experience.
Later on in the day we headed to a huge sand dune. This is where I got to experience my personal favorite part of the trip: sand boarding. Sand boarding is kind of like what people in the North call “sledding” except you slide down on sand headfirst and the only thing between you and breaking your neck is a 3 meter sheet of flat wood. Kind of like something you would use to make a shelf in your room. All the strength you have goes towards keeping that piece of wood straight and your legs up. I did topple a little bit but that made it that much more exciting. Afterwards, I was literally covered from head to toe in sand. Then, it started raining which resulted in being pelted in the leg with sand and rain but the thrill of going down a huge sand mountain was worth it. Also because of the rain when the sand clung to us for most of the rest of the night.
The next day we hiked up a mountain, the tallest coastal sand mountain in the world, and took pretty pictures. If that wasn’t exciting enough, afterwords we headed to a huge lake and finally experienced some fresh water. Let me tell you, salt water in your hair overnight is a girl’s worst nightmare. It took ages to put a brush through my hair the next day! But for being on an exclusive island for a night was totally worth it. Finally, we went to the another mountain to experience the light house that was stationed at the top. Once at the top of the mountain we searched for wildlife below and were lucky enough to see turtles swimming along in the water.
The people on the trip definitely made it worth while though. The group consisted of 16 people: 5 Americans, 2 French women, 2 German women, 6 Canadians and a man from Finland. Our tour guide was from Italy and just happened to be the weather forecaster for the local news! But above all, it was an amazing trip and meeting new people is always a plus.
Fraser Island is next week and in one month I will be heading to Whitsunday’s to dive in the Great Barrier Reef! Couldn’t get much better than this