Posted by: Rebecca | April 5, 2012

Coming down

After the excitement of yesterday’s skydive, not much is going to come close to enjoyment today. So rather than go and see more trees in the rainforest, I’ve decided to take a day out and just potter around Port Douglas. In fact, this works quite well, as it also gives me chance to lie on the beach and experience the ‘sunshine state’ of North Queensland for what it’s best known; 30 degree sunshine, clear blue waters and not a Bondi Backpacker in sight!

Four mile beach

This turns out not to be the most pristine beach in Queensland. If you’re after white sand, rippling ‘Ursula Andres’ type shallows and the chance to dip in and out of the water, this isn’t it, I’m afraid. At this time of year the jellyfish are out in abundance, and the ‘stingers’ just love the warm shallow waters of the North Queensland coast. This means that if you want to swim, you can only do so in the ‘stinger nets’. These are white booms which protrude out into the bay, about 10m x 10m in which everyone is bunched together. Sure, you can tempt fate and swim outside, but you’re only advised to do so if you’re wearing a stinger suit (a delightful lycra hooded, gloved, suit, which makes the wearer look like a tellytubby!) Not surprisingly, be it vanity, sanity or just fear, everyone sticks inside the nets.

Hoffsville

Personally, I’m not bothered about swimming here – I’ve swum in Sydney, Melbourne and am planning to dive the reef tomorrow, so I’m going to stay on the beach and just relax. Good decision – I’ve spotted the Lifeguard hut! On Bondi and Manly, these were brick/stone buildings, with concrete steps and runways, pretty sturdy. Clearly they were built to house a larger team and equipment. But here at Port Douglas, the small wooden hut bears closer resemblance to a mini version of the Hoff’s residence in Baywatch! Built on stilts, painted in bright colours, with floatation devices hanging from the rafters and surfboards stuck vertically in the ground in front! So where do I want to cop a squat? It’d be rude to wander away from the safety of the stinger nets and potential entertainment of Hoffsville , wouldn’t it? So I pitch a few metres down and opt to sunbathe on my front first. (Clearly, this is to top up the non-existent tan on my back; nothing to do with the ability to monitor Hoffsville for activity). I can hear voices inside and, with one eye open and a complete lack of subtlety, I occasionally catch a glimpse of coloured vests moving around, but it’s only when Bruce decides it was time to reel in the stinger nets as the sun drops, that I catch a good view… Unfortunately, Bruce is more Castlemaine XXXX than Toohey’s New. Nevertheless, the job these guys do is a great one and, I’m sure, in his day Bruce would have been a good catch for some lucky Sheila.

Chillaxing

Whilst four miles long, the stretch of sane here is relatively narrow, with a line of trees hiding the road from view. This means that, after about 3.30pm the beach is in the shade! I’ve never seen a shaded beach before; on the beaches I’ve been to before, the sun is high and there’s heaps of space, so this actually feels pretty strange. But it does meant I can still chill out down here into late afternoon, now the sun’s not quite so scorching, most people have left but the bugs and biters aren’t yet out to play.

So I’m sitting here on the sand, listening to the waves ripple, and trying to relax. I look through the photos on my phone and the last ones are obviously from yesterday’s jump. Just looking back through the few I have on here, is like reliving the experience over and over again. Every time I look at them, I smile. I’m still buzzing!

Tomorrow is another reef dive, only this time it’s underwater. Will that be as good as yesterday? Who knows. In some ways I don’t think it can be? But everyone I know who’s done it says it’s amazing. So let’s see. In the meantime, relaaaaaaaaxxxxxxx…

ttfn /Boxy xx 

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