Daily Archives: November 18, 2007

BACKING UP!!! What we’ve missed: Kroombit

Please read down after this to get fully caught up with my Magnetic Island scuba travels. I’m backing up for a sec to tell you about Kroombit before I forget!

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It seems fitting that I ended up at a cattle station with a bunch of Virginians. There aren’t many Americans down here in Oz, but somehow I fell in with the calvary in the outback.

The Oz Experience of Kroombit sounds like something out of a country western flick: Muster goats on the range, then rope a goat, then shoot clay pigeons, then eat a big hearty meal of steak and potatoes! I was actually excited (though less so after finding out the horseback riding was $40), and by golly, it was everything it was actually cracked up to be!

We left Hervey Bay at 7 a.m. and made our way inland, over the Great Dividing Range and into the serious desert of Australia. Beaches and green pastures faded to orange-dust colored fields, tall bluish-green plateaus lingering ever closer. Already, it just felt different. The dividing town, if you will, between my “southern” and “northern” legs.

Bus days are always long, continuous stretches with a few breaks thrown in for the toilet and the supermarket, but we pulled into the cattle station at around 2:30 p.m. — reasonable, at least. Those doing the horseriding went off to herd goats while the rest of us crossed what was possibly the muddiest field I’ve ever been on in my life to throw some boomerangs. A month has made no difference -— still can’t throw the damn thing. Instead I tried to catch one for a free drink later, but failed at that task as well. Oh well.

Here’s where I say we all got cleaned up and refreshed…

Ah, no.

Muddy and disgusting, we trudged back over the field to a just-about-broken-down 4X4 to drive over to the shooting. Now, I’ve shot a pistol before at a shooting range in L.A. (thanks j!), but I’ve never even held a shotgun. It was, you know, “southern.” Ick. But seriously, it’s just something I’ve never done, nor thought I had any real desire to do. But at this cattle station, I could not wait to pick up that gun.

After a few demonstrations by Steve, the English guy who came to the cattle station two months ago and never left, I picked up the gun. “Pull!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. A bright orange clay disk flew out of the contraption beside me into the air, and I followed in my sights. “Bang!” aaaaand a miss. “Pull!” again. “Bang!” Then something unexpected: “Crack!” I looked up in disbelief at the shattered pigeon falling down to earth. Ridiculous. In the end I got 2 out of 5. And yes, I felt like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.

Post-artillery I successfully lassoed a goat from 3 ft. away, learned to crack a whip and rode a mechanical bull for 14 and 22 seconds respectively. And that video my friends, will have to be posted ASAP J

Other than that, dinner was tasty, beer was cold and the drinking games were top notch.

We left the next morning at 7 a.m. for Airlie Beach, back from the mountains to the beach and the Whitsundays…

It was 9 hours. We watched Team America and Joe Dirt. I wanted to kill myself.

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Jolene

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Rockin’ Canadian Jolene. Why do Canadians always seem to be crazy? I don’t know, but for some reason they are nutters. Just look at that smirk. It took me a full three days to remember Jolene’s name, which is awful, but we hung out pretty continuously for the first few days in Magnetic. Did the mokes together, fed some wallabies, hung out at the bar at night. My favorite thing about her is her vintage style — I was seriously jealous of the old collared, striped golf shirt she had stolen from her grandmother.

Aaron

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On the left. Aaron. Aaron is the shy guy who always seems to be there when you turn around. La la la la la, talking to people, then all of the sudden, “Oh, Aaron, I didn’t see you there!” You know the guy.

He’s a sweet guy from England, who always seems to be arrrrroundddddd. I’ll prob see him all the way up to Cairns!

Trigger and “the Welsh girls”

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I think I mentioned Trigger earlier as my second Oz driver from Sydney to Byron, but here he is again. Soon he’ll be teaching horseriding out in Montana! I told him when he comes to NYC we’d show him a good time, so we better!

I keep seeing “the Welsh girls” as well; ever since Kroombit. The one not pictured here is a Welsh actress, and is actually kind of famous there. Kewl!

Karla

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My American bud! I met Karla in Kroombit, and managed to run into each other again here. She was my lovely driver for Moke day, and we’re hoping to do Thanksgiving together next Thursday in Cairns. I seriously hope we do! I need an American bud for the holiday, otherwise I’ll be super-depressed. She’s from Virginia, wears her Virginia Tech shirt everywhere, and talks with a slow, southern drawl. She’s a belle J

Doreen

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Ohhhh Doreen. Doreen is the sweetest little Dutchie, and by the end of our time together (she left yesterday) I felt like her protector. She hooked up with Dave (above) the first night I got to Magnetic, but, being a guy, he decided he was “over it” and ignored her the rest of the time. She even extended her time here because she asked him if he wanted to chill for a bit longer and he, of course, said yes. Turns out “yes” meant “I’m going to say yes now, then ignore you and flirt with other girls for the next two days.” He’s a nice guy, but I gave him a piece of my mind. His excuse, “But I’m traaaaaaaaveling.” Pshhht. Men. Oh yeah, and the next night she hooked up with another English guy named Sy on the beach. I met him in Hervey Bay and keep seeing him up the coast, and while he’s nice enough, he’s just uhhhh, well, I wouldn’t go there. As soon as Adam told me they went down to the beach, I grabbed Ramon the Kiwi and we ran after her. No luck, but the next morning she said, “That was YOU!” I said, “Yesssss, I tried to save you!” She said, “Oh. Yeah, I kind of regret it.” Um, duh. Oh Doreen!

The English lads — Dave, um and John

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Really bad I can’t remember the middle guy’s name, because we chatted a ton for the first three days in Magnetic Island. Oops! That’s the thing with traveling; you meet tons of people and you cannot, for the life of you, remember any of their names. I’m getting better, but it’s still difficult when you meet a big group of people.
These boys were my buds the first few nights in Magnetic Island. We’d drink goon (that’s box wine, again) in the rooms even though it’s not allowed and play lots of drinking games. We also played never have I ever, which I can confirm is a ton of fun with a bunch of people you’ve never met before. Good times.