More Lazy Hazy Days

Lady Musgrave Island Sept 25-Oct 8, 2010

Travelling in different countries and experiencing new landscapes is great for sharpening your perceptions of what defines home – that which ought to be familiar. Except that this time, home looked so different. What happened to to the big brown land down under? The lyrics of the GangGajang song from the 80’s…..

“Out on the patio we’d sit,
And the humidity we’d breathe,
We’d watch the lightning crack over canefields
Laugh and think that this is Australia.”
was going through my head as we drove from Sydney to the town of 1770, north of Bundaberg, for our boat trip out to Lady Musgrave Island. As we drove inland NSW we saw ‘happy’ cows grazing on emerald green grass rather than sheltering often under parched trees surrounded by yellowing dusty and denuded land that we saw last time we drove the New England Highway. Rain and apparently lots of it has fallen in the past few months and it continues to fall. The words of the song were ever so true as we headed north through the cane-fields country of Queensland. We were going for a totally indulgent ten days of camping on a Barrier Reef Island after 13 weeks travelling the wilderness areas of Yukon, Alaska, BC and Western United States. It seemed a bit greedy but it is not so frequent that we get a chance to spend time with old friends and their families. And what a place to get over jet lag and to assimilate all that we have been through, before the routine of our everyday lives returns. We spent our time on the island sleeping lots – despite the thousands of birds that the island is home to – eating great food, snorkelling, diving, island walking, running a little and paddling a kayak out to Fairfax Island. Various shades of blue were dazzling especially out on Fairfax Reef and combined with magic sunrise and sunset over the ocean – made for stunning and constantly changing light displays. We saw lots of mating turtles and a few passing whales who spend winter calving in the warm tropical waters before returning south. There was evidence of huge amount of coral destruction which we learnt was from a storm that hit the island in early 2008. Further destruction – by cyclone Hamish – followed in 2009. But there is life returning and lots of areas remain that escaped being completely smashed up.
Before too long it was time to leave this magic paradise and face the return to work, a pile of mail to sift through, bills to pay and looming tax returns.