Friday, September 4, 2009

August of our Lives

Our theme for August seemed to be centered on jumping (or swinging/sliding) into freshwater swimming holes in the tropical north Queensland area. This area has 2 seasons -- wet and dry. We are visiting during the dry season, but are reaping the benefits of the plethora of rivers, creeks, and streams carved during the wet season. The water is not warm. In fact, it is quite cold, but I have gained an appreciation for cold-water swimming. It feels so refreshing to jump into freezing cold water and then warm yourself in the sun or with a towel. The air temperatures are starting to rise so much that I've even started to *enjoy* a cold shower. The grand finale of our waterfall tour was swimming in the pool at the bottom of Wallaman Falls, an 800 foot single-drop waterfall with a 60-foot deep pool. From the edge of the pool, the waterfall looked like a mist but when we swam near it, the wind and water resembled the worst rain storm you've ever experienced. We certainly couldn't get close to the "center" of the falls.

We spent the end of July saying, "Damn, we need to get farther north". It was cold and rainy and the days were very short. We got north pretty quickly and encountered perfect day and night time temperatures. In fact, we didn't see a drop of rain for a month!

We've spent the last few (very hot) days of August saying, "Damn, we need to get south!". An issue we have with the tropical north is that there are so many biting bugs. You can't see the bugs until they bite you, and still, you have to look really closely to distinguish them from the small freckles on your skin. It's very unsatisfying to kill these biters after they have had their way with you. Scott more than I, is very allergic to the "biters". We call them "biters" but the Aussies call them "midgies". They can get through the finest mesh screen so on a hot night, with a fine mesh screen between the less hot air and our bed, we're easy prey. In fact, today, I couldn't find a square inch of skin on Scott's body that didn't have a bug bite. We are starting to be much more liberal with the bug spray, DEET be damned.

One of the many great things about traveling in a van without much of a plan is that any plan can change overnight. Until August our back-of-the-envelope plan had been to drive north from Sydney, then head west across the northern section of the country (the outback), then head south along the entire west coast, then head back east in order to get to Sydney all within 3 months (due to visa requirements). This turned out to be way more than we could swallow after we did some mileage and gas calculations. We were talkin' an extra 7000 miles during 3 months that we could easily just put off until we came back from our visa "leave". Not to mention, that gas currently costs $5 per gallon. So... we are thoroughly exploring the east coast for the next 2 months and then we will head south then west during the summer months -- Tasmania hear we come!

Speaking of visas... We had originally thought we could get a 1-year tourist visa when we applied in May, 2009. Unfortunately we were only granted a 6 month visa, so we have to exit the country by Nov. 4th. I've purchase tickets to the south island of New Zealand for a quick 1-week "exit" so that we can come back to OZ to finish our adventuring in 2009/2010. The requirements are such that we can come back into the country on a short tourist visa that will allow us to stay up to 3 months at a time over a 12-month period.

1 comment:

Danno said...

Okay, that makes me feel a little better (about the bugs). From your pictures you'd think it was all just, fun, adrenaline, and sunshine in swimming suits! Makes me want to say F-it! Why does anyone sit in a cube all day?! Awesome.