Sunday, February 12, 2012

Australian Adventur: Log 5

Still in a shiver, I’ve watched the sun come up, unable to sleep in the cold damp humid camper. The rest stop we laid up in was quite a nice large park with a pond in the middle. Several different kinds of birds scoured the ground in search of their early morning breakfast while a thick eerie fog hung in the humid air. Enough is enough, I’m getting up and going to have myself a bird bath over in the washrooms, grab my towel and go for a walk in the early morning fog as the others sleep. Walking past the pond full of vegetation and wildlife, my mind can’t help but realize that I’m now getting into crock country, and my senses are on high alert, even though I know there is little danger. A quick splash, wash and dry and I’m a new man heading back to the camper.

The rest of the crew are now rolling out of bed, getting ready for a long days travel towards Townsville, 1200 kilometres away. As we hit the road, the fog lifts and the blazing sun beats down, temperature shooting north of 30-degrees and it isn’t even 8 in the morning. While the rest of the crew are basking in the heat, my Nordic blood is reacting in a much different manner. The refreshed cleanliness of my morning wash turns into a mid-morning mess of sweat and burning skin. I figured a day spent in the car wouldn’t require slapping on the sun block for at least a couple more hours, oh how wrong I was.

As is becoming a morning ritual, we find a McDonalds in Bundaburg for a bit of breakfast and short jaunt of Facebook and blog updating. Then it’s back on the road heading north, where more heat and humidity lies in wait. Now with sunscreen on, it doesn’t seem to matter, with the sun beating down at an angle; my left arm is a slave to the unrelenting rays. Stuck in my seat, the Nissan just keeps getting hotter and hotter, and word of stopping on a beach a ways up the coast is a refreshing sound as I sweat away, only the hot breeze coming through the window keeping me sane.

As we work our way north, the scenery change is magnificent. The lush tropical hills of Surfers Paradise fads into the wide open expanses of savannah, wide open flat country with large trees sparsely spread throughout, with low pointed mountains far off in the distance, it’s a mixture of the African savannah and coastal mountains of Asia. By 2 pm, I’m working my third litre of water, and it occurs to me that I haven’t gone to the washroom yet.

Soon, we come across sand dunes, and just beyond the beach, and we pull over for a much needed dip, four men peeling themselves out of the hot stinky Nissan. The ocean never looked so good, it’s just a shame it’s so far away. We hit at the height of low tide, and the long shallow beach stretched on for kilometres, a refreshing dip a frustratingly harsh hike away. So, a quick moment to unwind on the beach, and we are back into the stink box for another 8-hours.

By the time it was my turn to drive, darkness had fallen, and reaching Townsville today was just not going to happen. As fatigue took its toll, I searched for a rest stop to spend the night. However, it would take another hour before we would find anything, and in our desperation, a truck stop would have to do. However, the Nissan began to run rough pulling into the stop, stalling several times when jumping on the clutch, a new challenge is likely ahead.

I wake up in another sweaty mess, just wanting to get out of bed, very little sleep as big diesel rigs pass by all night. However, a glorious sunrise gives some beauty to an otherwise uninspiring truck stop. Back on the road, it only takes us a couple hours to reach Townsville, a nice tropical city on the ocean that wraps around a large plateau. It’s a beautiful city, and we find a caravan park right on the ocean. Ah, we’ll get that ocean swim after all. “Nope, there’s stingers in the water there, the closest swimming area is down the coast,” utters the attendant at the park. Damn.

We set up, and do final checks on all the equipment and electronics giving Glen and Marks issues, while the truck is giving me and Craig stress as well. The humidity here is ridiculous and the temp is well over 30, how far I have no idea, and I don’t want to know, however, it all hit me in an instant, lifting a load into the roof rack. All of a sudden my head goes light, and my heart begins to race. I know exactly what going on and stumble over to the tap to douse my head and body with water, which doesn’t make me any wetter than my already sweat drenched cloths and take in as much water as I my stomach can handle. My energy level plummets as heat overtakes my body. “I’m out,” I comment as I stumble over to the shade of a tree. The heat finally got me, I’d been battling it since I landed two weeks ago, and now I lay exhausted and useless against a tree, as mosquitos attack every inch of my body; a camel back tube constantly hanging from my mouth.

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