15 July 2012

Paradise: Found

28 - 30 June -  I owe a huge thank you to TripADeal.com.au for introducing me to Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands! I'd never heard of this gorgeous chain of islands in the Great Barrier Reef until I purchased a deal for a 2 day/2 night sailing adventure aboard Tongarra. Tongarra is a bright red catamaran that caters to backpackers looking to have a good time in the islands.

Of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays, we hopped on land at just one - Whitsunday Island - to have a relaxing morning on world famous Whitehaven Beach. After about a 9 hour trip from Airlie Beach on board, we anchored for the night just offshore so we could be the first ones on the beach the next morning. It was worth it! This 7 Km long beach has the purest silica sand found anywhere in the world - 99%! The next purest is also found in Australia, and is just 75% silica. Beyond being gorgeous, it has many benefits for us beachgoers:
1. It doesn't get hot, so you can stand in one spot on a hot summer day without burning your feet! a definite NEED in the Aussie summer!
2. It's a natural exfoliant. Sit down in the shallows, grab a handful of wet sand and scrub away. My feet felt amazing after my little spa treatment!
3. I'm told it polishes gold and silver jewelry better than any product on the market. While I didn't have any jewelry with me, others tried it and left with rings and bracelets that looked new.

 After a morning on the beach, we swam back out to the boat and motored over to our first snorkel spot. There was a bit of reef, tons of little fish, and a resident Maori Wrasse - commonly known as a Napoleon Wrasse in the northern hemisphere. I stayed in the water for about an hour just checking out the fish. I really wished for SCUBA gear, but soon enough; I'd be diving in just 2 days on the outer reef!! That night was a great party. Most of my fellow sailors had just finished the school semester and were traveling up the coast from Brisbane to Cairns. We drank, we danced, we played games, and we laughed. We laughed a lot. I made some great new friends, some of whom I hope to see when they go back to Brisbane! The next morning was our second snorkel - which I slept through!! No worries though, I'm told it was cold, there was a strong current, and not many fish. The first snorkel site was better according to the others, so I didn't care that I got some extra sleep instead! Then we just had a relaxing cruise back to the mainland. The crew did put the sails up for a bit, but there was literally no wind the entire time. They say "good weather, shit sailing. Shit weather, good sailing." I prefer the good weather, so I was pleased with the trade off! I did get to drive the boat for a bit as well which was exciting even though we were just slowly motoring along. An excellent 2 days, well worth the trip up from Brisbane. Great crew, fun people and an all around sensational time.

UP NEXT: SCUBA diving the outer reef!!

25 June 2012

travel for singles

According to this article, an interest in travel makes you a more attractive mate! What are your thoughts?

Travel Adds to Your Appeal

I've found some barriers to traveling solo so far this summer. For starters, it's actually more expensive to travel alone! Also, the experiences will be amazing, but sometimes the best thing in life is to have someone to share the memories with. For every solo venture, I'll only be able to say "remember when..." to myself. I've started looking into things like travel for singles, but it seems that the norm is for people to plan out their holidays...and I want to go in the next 5 weeks :) I must admit though, whether I end up in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Bali or Thailand next month, the worst day traveling alone is still a damn good day!! Besides, I'm friendly and outgoing, so I should have no troubles meeting people! Maybe that more expensive solo hotel room or cruise cabin will be a welcome escape after hanging out with new friends all day...

20 June 2012

The Aussie Way

I made myself a lentil burger and a piece of toast today, intending it to be like an open faced sandwich. I sat down at the table with my sandwich on the plate, and a knife and fork. What's this, I wonder? This type of food should just be picked up and eaten. Oh dear, have I begun adopting the Aussie way? Yes, they eat (nearly) everything with a knife and fork! It was an awkward beginning to my lunch, but I must admit, it was much less messy than just using my hands! I think I could get the hang of this!

13 June 2012

Moura

You've found yourself in Moura? Oh, are you working in the mines? No? Then do you have family or friends here? No?? Then you must be quite lost. 

 Moura is a quaint mining town in east-central Queensland, and I found myself here for a long weekend for the second reason above. My friend grew up here and we made the 8 hour drive to have a visit. We stayed with his mom, but I did notice at least one motel in town if you do find yourself lost here! The people are lovely, I enjoyed meeting new friends and their family's. Though we just hung out and had drinks at home, I'm told there is a pub in town, and if you happen through on Sunday, playing pool is free! The park looked like a ton of fun for kids, and there are plenty of picnic tables where you could enjoy lunch from a local hangout, Karinya's. We had pizza, but they have a variety of options on the menu! There is also a river not too far out of town, and a viewing point for the mines. My friends' mom said sometimes you can't see anyone working, but lucky for us they were working by the roads the weekend we were there! All in all, it was a wonderful visit. If you do find yourself in Moura, I'd highly recommend getting to know the locals. Lovely people!

08 May 2012

The Next Adventure

Well folks, it's time! The announcement of my next adventure (: my best friend lives in Brisbane, QLD Australia... And I'll be spending 2 months in the land down under with her!! June and July will be one hell of an adventure. What have I done to prepare? Well, I moved out of my apartment, I quit my job and I'm planning a garage sale so I'll have money! Oh, I also bought the plane ticket (:

Everyone keeps asking me what I'll do there and what my plan for after summer is... I'm so thrilled about having no idea that I can't even explain it! It's such a freeing feeling to just pick up my life and go on an adventure. I truly can't believe I've never done this before. In line with the ultimate goal to be a travel writer, you'll get to read all about the adventure and everything I get to experience. This will be my 2nd trip to Australia, so stay tuned for the crazy ride I call my life!

"Don't dream your life. Live your dreams"

20 April 2012

Costa Rica days 14-16

And finally - the tail end of my amazing journey!  I hope the end of this story is everything you've expected it to be :) 


The Volunteer House - my temporary home!

the pool at the volunteer house!
 <Day 14: hopping on a bus>  I'm SO glad I thought to set my phone alarm, because once again I did not wake up to my watch alarm!  It's so quiet!  I really only had time to change my clothes and walk to the Super.  Heidi had wanted me to wake her and say goodbye, so I did and she locked the door behind me.  I talked to a nice couple who were also waiting for the bus.  They gave me a pretty silver ring with a horseshoe on it - "to remember."  I'm not sure if he meant to remember Corozalito, or to remember him... but I'm going with Corozalito :)  The horseshoe kind of looks like a C anyway!  The bus arrived - a school bus - and the man I'd been speaking with loaded my suitcase for me, then we were off!  I slept pretty much the whole way, I couldn't help it!  There were a TON (maybe 2 tons) of people on the bus.  Most continued on to San Jose.  I asked about a bus to Nicoya, and was told 7am.  Perfect - it was 6:30, so not a long wait at all!  One step closer to the ultimate goal of Samara!  Got on the new bus at 7 - it was much nicer and had comfy seats!  Not many people got on in Nandayure, but the bus was over full by the time we reached Nicoya.  People were standing 2x2 all the way down the aisle!!  I got off in Nicoya and started looking around for a Samara bus.  A man approached me, asked where I was going, so I said Samara.  He said he was a taxi driver, had to go to Samara to pick up some people, and so he could drive me for cheap!  He said the next bus to Samara wouldn't be until 10am (it was 8:30).  I said sure, and we walked to his taxi.  I double checked - it was red and had the taxi logo... good to go!  It was about a 30 minute drive, we talked a bit.  I'd asked to go to El Ancla; Katie and Ari said they'd stayed there.  Unfortunately it was full, so I went next door to Locanda - they had space for me!  $30/night for my own room with a private bath - sweet!

03 April 2012

Costa Rica days 6-13

This is the {long overdue} continuation of my Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation journal.  Today you'll get days 6 - 13, and some fabulous photos!  See the previous post for days 1 -5; it was an amazing adventure, so you don't want to miss a day of it!  Stay tuned, and I'll post the final days [14-16] very soon!

tortuguita

momma turtle

<Day 6: Dia de Accion de Gracias!> Today there was a big gringo party in San Miguel for Thanksgiving.  At noon, Katie and I left to get to San Miguel - via a ride with someone in town for 5000 colones ($10) and the bus.  There is another Pretoma project site in San Miguel, so I met those volunteers and got to see their hatchery!  We helped the restaurant prepare for the party - our way of paying for the meal  When dinner was being served, I scooped potatoes for people :-)  They made me a delicious salad for dinner since Thanksgiving is not so vegan!  I loved it, and they were so hospitable!  I had a few beers with Katie, Bogantes, and his friend Joe.  The people who own the restaurant are from Philly, but live here now.  They've hosted Thanksgiving for 3-4 years now - very cool.  After the party, Katie and I got a ride back to Islita with Bogantes and his friend, where we met Caballo (Katie's boyfriend) at a bar.  We hung out for a bit, then went back to the house to sleep.  Katie and I had the day off from patrols for Thanksgiving.

<Day 7: surfing and fun>