Shipwrecked on Straddie
My lack of adventure on North Stradbroke Island
I read the sign on the wall of the hostel kitchen which lists the things I’m allowed to recycle and those I’m not. I wouldn’t normally take that much interest in such signs but I’m not busy for reasons which will shortly become apparent. My eyes are specifically drawn to the request at the bottom of the order— “Please Help To Keep Our Lovely Island Paradise Clean.” I look out the window and sigh — I’m not really feeling the paradise at the moment.
My mind retreats to one of the Carry On Films I watched as a kid — Carry On Camping. The plot of this film, if I remember correctly is based on a couple of men taking their respective girlfriends on holiday expecting one thing and receiving something completely different. This is how I feel.
You see, when I looked at the website, I was promised so much more.
I was promised stunning beaches and dolphins and turtles, walks and cycle rides and… was it too early to hope for the annual whale migration. It starts in June but they don’t say when.
What I actually get when I arrive is rain. Torrential rain. No matter, I think, there’s always tomorrow and the rain duly stops for an hour or so in the evening so that I can get out and about for something to eat.
Although the rain resumes and falls steadily all night, by 10am the next morning, the clouds clear and the sun comes out. I decide to get out and about while I can. So I explore one Point Lookout which is one of the three homesteads on the island.
After less than an hour and a half, the rain starts to come down again, so I retreat back to the hostel for an early lunch until the rain subsides….
Except it doesn’t subside. It continues…
I have lunch and wait for a few hours, reading stuff about the various diving opportunities and the dolphins which “can be seen all around the island at any time, but especially at night around the jetty at Amity Point where they are attracted by the lights.” I look outside — it’s still pouring but as long as I can get to my car then how wet can I get? Well, a lot it seems…
Fuck it. I drive to Amity Point which is the next township and takes me only about fifteen minutes. There I sit in my car, staring at the jetty, until the current deluge softens. It’s dusk.
Then I step out the car and onto the jetty.
The jetty is solid and so has not slits in it to drain the water so it has collected all of the past two days of rain and I find that I’m paddling in three inches of water. Nevertheless, I tiptoe to the end, peering subtly and optimistically into the grey water. Not a murmur.
Er…I’m not sure why dolphins, who spend their whole life in water, have deemed it too wet to come out tonight but they have, and so I’m stood there, by myself, with wet feet and feeling hard done by. Then I feel a fresh drop of water on my nose.
If you must go to North Stradbroke Island — check the weather forecast first.