Four our day in Arilie beach we didn’t get off to a great start. By late morning the tropical rain we had anticipated started to fall. We were prepared for this and had already put up the raincover and tarpaulin the day before, but what we didn’t anticipate was how much it would pool towars the middle. Everyone else, but me, were out and about on the campsite at bathrooms or kitchen. I was sitting nice and dry under the awning where it started to pool, but did I notice? No, I was completely engrossed with my final 10 pages of my book. Suddenly one of the poles gave in and jolted forward to compensate for the massive weight above. A loud sound of a rip followed and then the whole roof came thundering down a few seconds before stopping just before the ground. The roof was so filled to the brink it had created a massive cup in the middle. The whole tent looked like it would collapse any second. I look up in fright from all the commotion and saw what had happened. All I then had time for was to shout “SHIT” before pushing with all my might the water off the sides. I then ran to the communal kitchen where the others were having breakfast and told them what had happened and to come quick. The damage was done, but the boys managed to redesign the awning set up so it hopefully wouldn’t happen again while we were out. Everyone a little mad at me for ruining the awning, I decided in town to do my own thing for a while in fear of the others (Haha they love me really).
In main town of Airlie Beach I walked around by myself and found a café serving breakfast as I actually missed breakfast because of the tent incident. I had a lovely fry up and drank chai latte whilst I read some random fashion magazine laid out by the café. I then pottered around a market and admired the harbour, packed with the fanciest yachts you could imagine. Airlie beach is considered the port for luxury and budget sailing tours and trips to the reef and the Whitsundays. I would have loved to go on a day trip (and did consider it the day before), sailing around beautiful blue waters around pretty tropical islands, but decided not to book anything as it was a fair amount of money and I wasn’t prepared to part with that when I knew the weather was going to be stormy. It would have been Fraser Island tour all over again! A reason to return to Australia one day and to go to whitsundays, that’s for sure, because it looked like the most beautiful experience.
I met up with the gang again around lunchtime and we walked around some more. We learned about the most common deadly stingers along the coast and understood the importance of these lagoons that would become a regular sight in most North-Queensland towns onwards. Swimming in the sea in North-Queensland is just not done around that time of year, during “stinger season”, but obviously Australians and tourists still need a way to cool down so lagoons become a necessity!
In the evening we had delicious fajitas made by Shawnee, who was such a trooper considering the hilarious incident that happened in the kitchen. An elderly camperhad had a little too much to drink and was being VERY chatty to everyone, particularly to those around the stoves that had to stay put with their food and couldn’t escape (including Shawnee). Shawnee handled him so gracefully standing there over her hob of chicken and pepper, despite how rude he was being. Then something happened that no-one quite knew how to process. With no warning whatsoever, and no follow up afterwards (I think he thought he was getting away with it, despite doing it right infront of her face), the drunk man poored gravy over our chicken. Shawnee came over to us and told the news and our jaws dropped. “What? He put gravy where? In our..? What!? Hahaha.” It was so random all we could do was laugh. I think he thought he was helping, or maybe he was just sabotaging our meal so we would get off the hob and he could finally make his food. Either way, the dinner thankfully wasn’t ruined, it was just a bit more “juicy” than originally anticipated! After dinner we went to bed, still laughing a bit from the whole incident.
The next morning I got up early and went birdlife spotting. After such a big drive the other day we had covered a lot of ground, and the wildlife had changed dramatically since the last time I had time to look around. At Dululu we had been woken by a beautiful group of black cockatoos flying around from tree to tree above us, but in Airlie Beach a whole new rainbow of birds were to be seen in the morning. I got some good shots of the blue faced honey-eaters having a morning wash in the trees, and a family of shy bush stone curlews hiding behind caravans. In a eucalyptus tree further along a large group of rainbow lorikeets were chattering away, going back and forth feeding their chicks in the nests hanging high above the ground. The birdlife continued onwards on route to Townsville, where we saw our first emus and brolgas in the wild in the fields beside the road.