Wednesday, February 27, 2013

North Stradbroke Island

By Annabelle Mona

Greetings Friends! 

The group just returned from a lovely, rather rain-filled excursion to North Stradbroke Island; or as the locals have affectionately nick-named it, Straddie.  On Monday morning we packed our bags for a two-day venture across Moreton Bay. Our fearless leader and GED coordinator, Nat drove the bus from Brisbane to the vehicle ferry. It was raining as we drove further north so I took it as a sign that the rain was here to stay. We met a group of Aussie school children on our forty-five minute trip on the Big Red Cat (the ferry) that later challenged us to a spoon-wearing competition. When we got to the island the beachy, tropical beauty blew me away. Even in the rain, the landscape and setting looked like anybody’s dream vacation. Interestingly, Straddie is not just a tourist destination. We drove by the grade school that accommodates the local children of the island. There is also a fair amount of caravan parks where people can live on the island simply and cheaply.

It was about a thirty-minute drive to our resort hotel where we put our bags down and headed down the road another couple minutes to the local bowling club where we took our meals. In Australia they have outdoor bowling lawn clubs instead of golf clubs like we have in the states. After lunch we had our only formal lecture indoors on the island. The island has a depositional coastline where sediments are pushed by waves and prevailing winds to form the coastline. There are many islands in the area that are formed this way such as Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.

Enjoying the environment despite the rain
Photo courtesy of Kyla Covey 
We enjoyed the pool at our hotel for the rest of the day and enjoyed dinner and dessert from our local bowls club. The next day we woke up early to get outfitted for booties. These fashionable black booties allowed us to walk around the mangroves without stepping on sharp rocks and crustaceans.  We found a mob of hermit crabs, one of which became my pet for a while and was named Hermie.
Along our mangrove walk
Photo courtesy of Kyla Covey
After learning about the nature of the mangrove ecosystem, we bussed over to a giant sand dune that we climbed. The view from the top was grand, almost like we were survivors of a plane crash that rendered us the only living humans for miles. Except for the telephone wires. The climb to the top was grueling but running down was a huge adrenaline rush, almost as if I could fly.
The climb to the top was grueling but running down was a huge adrenaline rush, almost as if I could fly.
Photo courtesy of Kyla Covey
After everybody got a chance to fly down the dune we bussed over to a perched lake for lunch and a swim. A perched lake is a lake that sits above the water table. We had sandwiches provided by our trusty bowls club. The lake is brown as a result of chemical reactions between the soil and water that gradually precipitate organic and inorganic matter into the soil profile. The precipitated matter eventually forms a layer that prevents water from percolating back down to the water table.
It looks like tea, but maybe don't drink it.
Photo courtesy of Kyla Covey
After a day in the rain and in the lake and mangroves Lucy and I decided to take advantage of the sauna provided by our hotel. We spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between the sauna and the pool. All in all it was a very wet but beautiful day. I will miss Straddie but I think we will get our fill of beautiful island adventures when we go to Heron and Fraser islands. I was glad to get back to my lovely host family in Auchenflower.

No comments:

Post a Comment