The Germans had cash and a camera stolen from inside their tent while they were sleeping. I didn’t figure thieves would be so ballsy. It gave me pause to think about the gear I’ve been carrying with me. They cancelled their plans to go to the island.
Billy, Jen and I all wanted to get out to see the Great Barrier Reef. I had decided that I was going to head out to Magnetic Island. It was a stop for all of the trips to the reef, and the Bungalow Bay hostel there had been recommended to me by a fellow traveler. That would leave Billy and Jen with the car in case they wanted to head up or down the coast to get to the reef. We planned to meet at the Townsville airport on the 10th.
The day was sunny, with a bit of wind, and the ferry to the island was headed right into it. I stood out on deck facing the bow and let the noise of the wind drown out everything else. It was good not to have to worry about the relationship dynamic of my traveling companions for a change.
The bus to the hostel traversed a narrow road perched on a stone cliff which slowly climbed up and over the island to the north side. The hostel property consisted of several small bungalows, a campground, and the hostel buildings which included the office, a bar, and a restaurant. These were all connected by a covered deck. A small salt water pool nearby under a giant Eucalyptus, with plenty of hammocks around completed the scene… sounds rough doesn’t it? I’d stay there again unless I find something much cheaper.
I booked a day of diving at the reef for Thursday by phone, and settled down to a dinner of curried pumkin and salad. I met a guy from Boston who was taking some time off from life in the US and we talked about the shame that comes with traveling as an american (especially these days).
After a hotel-organized activity of “Coconut Bowling” was over I met an english woman named Michelle. We talked about traveling, and the fact that the vast majority of people that we see are in pairs. It’s definitely an obvious pattern. Despite traveling with Billy and Jen, I often felt like I was traveling alone, so I could sympathize. I tend to be someone that will try to drink in all of an experience, rather than hurry through it, so I will often stop and notice the little things, or pause to appreciate what’s going on around me. Billy and Jen don’t seem to do that, and seem focused on the end of the journey, rather than the journey itself, so I was often left to do things on my own. I have caught myself talking about stuff when I come across something really interesting because there usually isn’t anyone around to show it to. Sometimes I just have to say stuff like “Wow! Isn’t this just great?” or “Hey! Check that out! Way cool!” or other dumb stuff like that. Occasionally being able to talk about it at the end of the day with someone who shares my peculiar enthusiasm for Life, would also be a bonus.
Anyway, I had no illusions about her interest in me. It would just be nice to have new company on a hike. She didn’t seem the type to rush through a hike, so I figured we’d get along fine. We agreed to meet early in the morning and go for a hike to the top of the island.