4 – Magnetic Island

Another early departure at 7:30 on the hostel shuttle bus to town. Got dropped off next to the greyhound bus stop. Our driver for the day was a mellow fellow named Steve. Long gray/white hair neatly tied back with bushy trimmed beard. He patiently explained to many people that one had to have the ticket booked previously as it was a full bus. Eventually got it all sorted and we were all aboard. He then had another talk bout the bus, stops, and procedures. Seat belts are required by law. Like to wear them anyway out of respect for laws. Not the laws of man but the laws of physics. Objects traveling at high rates of speed tend to continue at that speed until stopped. Simply put, would much rather endure a stop while restrained by straps designed for that purpose then one after an unintended free-fall with all the associated dynamic loads onto an undefined surface. Huh? A mouthful that.

The ride was good. Not spectacular in the scenery department. Got time to do a little journal. Made a stop for lunch. Arrived early afternoon. Got the ticket for the ferry to “Maggie Island” as Magnetic Island is known. A quick twenty minute sea voyage and we were there. Loaded up on a local bus which was also taking kids home from school. Driver said they had no money box today so it was a free ride. Already liking this place. Kind of laid back island vibe despite the tourist nature of it. A roundabout way delivering kids home from school gave us a little taste of the island.

Arriving at the hostel was a pleasant surprise. It was located right on the beach. Large swimming pool. Big bar area. Lots of happy people. Many tables in the shade. Checking in the girl apologized that I was the only person staying in my 6 bed dorm. Aw…too bad…guess just have to deal with it…Score! Not trying to be anti-social but one does enjoy one’s privacy after sharing sleeping quarters with others for so many weeks.

The Base Hostel – Magnitic Island…right on the beach.

The pool was lined with international beauties. I think I have shoelaces which have more material in them than they use for some of these swim suits. Butt cheeks used to somewhat concealed in my day. Not complaining…just saying. Buff guys were pumping weights in the courtyard. A trendie scene.

Went for a swim as the sun was just about down. Have to watch for the ole sol, especially since there is large hole in ozone layer above Australia. Over at the bar there were a couple of pool tables. One had a couple of girls playing. When looking for a pool cue they told me you had to give a $20 deposit at the desk, but the games were free. Sounded like a deal to me. Played several games by myself. That was fine with me as it was soon evident that practice was needed. The snooker tables here have tiny pockets and tiny balls which makes accuracy more important. Add to that the pool cues had brand new tips, not shaped, and had never seen chalk before. Got better with time.

That night was bingo night. Thoughts of senior citizen bingo nights were rapidly dispelled by the boisterous nature of the event. Outrageous outfits worn by the MC and his accomplice set the tone. Told the girls at the next table that I would front them the $5 bingo cards if they shared the winnings. They readily agreed. One was from California and the other Canadian. Nice ladies and friendly as well.

Bingo night

We settled in at the end of a row of 4 picnic tables set end to end. There were 5 of these rows of picnic tables filled with rowdy young folks. This should be interesting. The DJ’s wasted no time explaining the funny rules. Things needed to be shouted out on certain numbers. To motivate folks into shouting out they gave free drink raffle tickets. Three tickets would be drawn after each of the four rounds of bingo. Won a drink on the first drawing. Think there was something about getting up on the bench of the picnic table and doing a John Travolta imitation…but who’s keeping track? Next was a prize for the loudest table. Perhaps knowledge of frequencies which the meter was most sensitive to might have helped our effort. That and following the guy with the meter around and blasting my shrill piercing whistle up close did it. We won four bottles of Chardonnay for our four tables. They were passed around with abandon and soon were but a fond memory.

The evening progressed and got rowdier and rowdier directly proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed. The prizes were a pitcher of beer for the first round, a $50 bar tab for the second, an upgrade of accommodation to a beach front bungalow for second prize and all the $5 entry fees for the first prize! Over four hundred dollars.

Next round we didn’t win either. After all we had three tickets among 80 people. The next round…WE WON! Our own bungalow on the ocean! Score. So…the deal was that we would share the prize right? All three of us could share that big king sized bed?…worth a try. I already had what amounted to a private room…so…OK..gave it to the girls to enjoy. I was invited over to check it out.

Our private bungalow on the water

Pretty nice digs. Pity you can’t see it while you are sleeping. Sure some good karma points were racked up somewhere. Thought the ladies might drop by say to goodbye the next morning. Guess they were too busy packing up as they were leaving that day. Oh well.

Next day wanted to check out a world war two fort. At reception heard a few girls saying they were going to rent a car. The place they were being taken to was rather near the fort. Asked if it would be OK to ride along in the pick up vehicle. They agreed as well as the guy picking them up. At the rental place they were told it would be $135. Feeling a little bad that they had to shell out that much dough, offered to kick in $20 if they would pick me up and let me accompany them to see the sunset from the other side of the island. They agreed. Gave them the $20. Since they were headed toward Horseshoe bay asked if they would drop me at the fort. They agreed.

At the car rental hostel

The trek to the fort and back took a couple of hours. At one time it had two 155 howitzers mounted there with a commanding range of 12.5 km over the bay. Interesting historical structures with audio tracks from people who were there at that time.

Old gun emplacements from WWII
Second fort in the distance on the right
Inside the bunker

Hot day but an OK walk. From there did a little hitch hiking to a spot we were told there would be rock wallaby’s.

Rock Wallabys

They come out around 4:30 pm and people feed them. Cute little devils. Girls and I were going to meet there, then do the sunset. Did a little rock climbing while there.

Mom with child

Back out on the main road the girls showed up…and drove right by without stopping. Huh. Must have misunderstood the plan. OK. Just then a bus showed up. Hopped on and went back to the hostel, 15 minutes away. Jumped in the pool.

Showered. Checked the phone. They had tried to call with no luck. Texted me and asked if I needed a ride. Texted back at 4:14pm saying I was at the hostel…how about 6pm as the sunset was supposed to be around 6:30pm. Bay about a 15 minute drive away. Made a salad and was just sitting down to eat. Had missed a responding text from them a minute later saying “How about meeting them at 5:15”. Got a text saying they were leaving at 5:30. Yikes…it was 5:27. Ran out front. They were gone already. Tried to call them…no luck. Eventually got another text saying they had been driving.

Oh well. Disappointing. Had looked forward to it. My own fault. Should have communicated better. What ever happened to talking on the phone by voice? A lost art. Felt angry at myself. Man up, get over it. Still…no one likes to be left behind. That evening were board games at the bar, but didn’t feel much like socializing. Licked my wounds and went to bed early as it was a travel day tomorrow.

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