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Saturday, August 28, 2010
We are still tied up with repairs at Mackay Marina and cannot get out to take some of the exciting trips that other rally members are undertaking. Some have travelled to New Zealand- even attempting bungee jumping in South Island at Queenstown. Sydney has also been a popular destination. Others have finished with their repairs and have headed out for the Whitsunday Islands. We are not feeling too put upon as we have visited Sydney and New Zealand during our life in Asia. Furthermore, my leg has held us up quite a bit. Besides, we have managed to extend our hotel stay by a few more days. I am happy!
We did feel the need to get away from the marina and boat yard and took a couple of excursions. Today we travelled to Airlie Beach, about an hour and a half's journey away, mainly to visit the chandleries there. We found one on our own, but, in attempting to locate the second one we drove right past and ended up miles away before we called for more explicit directions. It was well stocked and even offered to find us a teak flag pole to replace the one we lost in Bora Bora. A third shop we found by accident. It had just opened up and wasn't listed on Google. We managed to bargain down the price of a couple of items as an opening special!
After the business had been conducted, we explored the town. It is very much a tourist town, but a lot of fun. The marinas were chock-a-block (despite the requirement to have AUS$10 M of liability insurance!) and the anchorages stretched for miles. We didn't see many people in the sea itself, but all along the waterfront there is a beautiful park with man-made lagoons for swimming. It was very inviting (and croc- and box jellyfish-free! )
Airlie Beach Lagoon, Queensland
I must say that Queensland has done a wonderful job with their parks and playgrounds. They are everywhere and well-patronized.
We even found a lovely used book store and did not come away empty-handed. Books in Australia are extremely expensive and used books are in big demand. One of our favourites on this trip was Bill Bryson's Down Under- a wonderful account of his travels in Australia. One of the major conundrums he points out is how did the Aborigines get here. Their civilization is very ancient and predates long distance sailing. Did they come by raft (there was no land bridge to Australia) and in sufficient numbers to populate a continent and then forget how to travel on the sea and revert to life far from the sea? However they got here, they have survived in extremely harsh conditions for an extremely long time.