September 27th 1983

posted in: The way back | 0

The old fort

Another latish morning.  That, plus breakfast, plus packing, plus the walk into town, meant we didn’t arrive at the ferry terminal till gone 10.30 – we were off to Magnetic Island today.  We weren’t sure about buying food on the island, so Val went off to obtain some supplies, while I, as usual, sat writing this.  I became increasingly jittery tho’, since the ferry left at 11, + there wasn’t another till 1.  I assumed Val was aware of this + would be hurrying, but I kept going to the door of the terminal + looking out, + there was no sign of her.  Finally, at about a minute to 11, with everyone on board, + with me despairing of spotting her, she hove into view, strolling along the quay quite casually.  I hollered at her, + she broke into a trot, while I dashed back to grab the bags + heave them aboard.  So we made it, tho’ only just.  Val, it seemed, had already written off catching this one, since she wasn’t prepared to run in the fierce sunshine.  I could see her point, but still had to restrain myself from strangling her.

We started off outside in the prow, but were soon driven in.  The sea was very lumpy indeed, so the boat was being chucked around, with occasional waves jumping in.  It was as rough as anything I remember in the Pacific, + I did feel a little queasy.  Arriving at Arcadia on the island, there was a bus to meet us, + that took us to Geoff’s place, the only official campsite, down by Horseshoe Bay.  First impressions weren’t good – the guy was abrupt, nearly rude, + the place was $4 per person, twice what we’d been paying.  But there really wasn’t much choice, so we pitched tent, then went for a stroll along the bay. 

We returned + spent an hour or so in the courtyard, reading.  I finished off Ken Follet’s book, “The Key to Rebecca” – very entertaining stuff.  Gradually, we were mellowing to the campsite, since it did have a nice courtyard, plus games + TV rooms.  A guy there told us about 2 nice walks in the area, one to the Forts, old wartime reconnaissance positions up in the hills, + another to Balding Bay, a secluded beach just along the coast.  We decided on the former, as it was growing late in the afternoon.  It was a lovely walk, winding up into the hills, + the 2 forts were fascinating.  Covered with graffiti, of course, but still it was so easy to imagine them in use, + to identify with the people who’d manned them.  Much more so than, say, Normans or Aztecs.  And the timing was good, since we were back in time to prepare tea in daylight.  Not that it mattered so much this time, as we cooked on the floor of the laundry, where there was an electric light.  I was the chef, + prepared perhaps a rather too-hot curry.  But it was wonderfully filling, + still very tasty.

In the evening, rather than retreat to our tent, we visited the games room, + had an enjoyable couple of games of snooker, + then wrote + watched telly.  Oh yes, I nearly forgot – the big news of the day was that Australia II had beaten Liberty to take the Americas Cup.  What fabulous news.  And an enterprising T-shirt printer had made himself a tidy sum by printing T-shirts showing a kangaroo strangling an eagle, with the slogan beneath “Protest now, you bastards.”  I saw 2 of them on Magnetic Island, + it seemed he’d already sold out twice.  Now there’s enterprise.  Val found a couple of hardback HE Bates books on the bookshelf, so we took them, thus reducing our rent just a little.

Good news about the Americas Cup, even though it was a contest between tywo of our old enemies. Part of our limited excploration of Aiustralia; we are looking at various points of interest as we head north.

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