Eric Schaefer

Joined December 2015
  • Day125


    August 4, 2016 in Australia

    The morning was spent packing and cleaning the van. We are saying goodbye to our 100L duffle bag and shipping it back to Canada by slow boat. Good riddance, this will lighten our load a lot! No need for most of our camping gear here on out. We’ll likely be back in Canada before it arrives.

    We settled up with our van and were able to talk our way out of a surcharge on the windshield crack. What a relief, more money for beer in Indonesia. Off to Indonesia we go!Read more

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  • Day124

    Mossman Gorge

    August 3, 2016 in Australia

    We extended our Van rental for a couple of days so we could make a final trip up to Port Douglas and
    Mossman Gorge. It was a nice drive along the coast. Mossman Gorge is at the tip of the Daintree National Park. There is short rainforest loop walk that runs along a river. After finishing the loop and a brief swim we continued onto Port Douglas. Port Douglas was a cute little vacation town that reminded me of Florida. It has one main drag with lots of shops and restaurants and lots of retirees. At either end of the drag there were great beaches because you’re on a peninsula. We enjoyed our last day in Australia. Heading back towards Cairns we stayed at Rifle Creek Rest Area which was probably the best free site we stayed at in Australia.Read more

  • Day123


    August 2, 2016 in Australia

    We did a great morning hike up Walsh’s Pyramid. Three false summits and an interesting conversation with a local and we made to the summit in 2hrs. We were definitely starting to feel the heat by the time we reached the top and were sweating buckets by the time we made it back to the van. To cool down we headed over to Cascade Creek. Cascade Creek is a great swimming spot just outside of downtown Cairns. It’s a slow moving river that runs down a canyon and has multiple waterfalls and deep pools for swimming swim.

    Back at the van we noticed a big crack in the windshield. It started from a pre-existing chip. Hope this isn’t going to cost us. We finished off the day with burgers and beers in Cairns.
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  • Day122


    August 1, 2016 in Australia

    What’s a trip to Cairns without visiting the Great Barrier Reef? Rebecca had issues will scuba diving previously so we opted for a snorkeling tour. We hopped onto a fast catamaran with about 50 other people and spent an hour speeding out to the reef. We had two 1 hour snorkeling sessions at different reefs. It’s incredible how beautiful and clear it is. The reef is filled with so much colour and movement and fish of all shapes and sizes. The tour provided a snorkeling guide in the water who you could follow. We tried at first but eventually just explored on your own. I would go back to do it again in a second.

    We headed back to a great free site that we found that was only 30 minutes outside of Cairns at the Gordonvale Rest Area.
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  • Day121

    Tully River

    July 31, 2016 in Australia

    On route to Cairns, we stopped for our second white water rafting adventure of the trip. This is a popular day trip from Cairns. The tour was run by Raging Thunder and took us down grade 3 & 4 rapids on Tully River. Again we both had an amazing time. This river felt very different than prior rafting trip. The prior trip was fast moving water with few obstacles; this river was filled with giant boulders that you had to dodge. It was a like obstacle course going down the river. On one rapid you actually run head first into a boulder and use it to slow yourself down and bounce off in the correct direction. We were actually surprised to learn that a bunch tourist’s actually died on this river back in 2007. The story behind it was related to poor guiding and the practice were subsequently put in place to improve the standards but it still wakes you up to the dangers of the river. Luckily we got through with no issues and had a great experience.Read more

  • Day120

    Magnetic Island

    July 30, 2016 in Australia

    We packed up our tent and left it at reception. Would you believe it, after 3 months of travelling we lost one of the tent poles? Good thing we are done with camping. Our plan was to spend the morning hiking. It was another beautiful clear sky day and we headed to our first trail the Forts Walk. This trail took us up to an old fort that had amazing views of the surrounding island and bays. A bonus on the island is there are lots of kolas. You just have to keep your eyes peeled. We ended up spotting a couple thanks to markers left by others. We continued on our walk and did a little beach hopping through Florence Bay, Gowrie Bay, Radical Bay, Balding Bay. We stopped for a quick swim and some lounging at each bay. With our circuit completed we hopped back on the bus to the ferry and returned to the main land. We continued on north towards Tully.Read more

  • Day119

    Magnetic Island

    July 29, 2016 in Australia

    We finished the drive to Townsville in the morning and hopped on a boat to Magnetic Island. It was short one hour ferry. The island is big enough and populated enough that there is actually a public bus on the island. It is popular to rent small electric cars to get around the island but we elected to take the bus to our hostel. We had brought our tent along to camp which I was happy to get one more use out of before we sent it home. Our accommodations at Bungalow Bay Kola Village had a good location and were only a short walk to restaurants, beaches and hiking trail. We headed to Horseshoe Bay for the afternoon for Lunch and lounged on the beach with our books. The weather was a perfect temperature with clear blue skies.

    In late afternoon we headed in the opposite direction to Arcadia in search of a bar that offered toad races. This is a popular attraction on this island where people race toads down the bar. We found a good little 1hr hiking trail to get us there but the mosquitos were out and force. Unfortunately, we had also read the sign wrong and the races were another night so we settled for dinner and a couple games of pool.
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  • Day118


    July 28, 2016 in Australia

    Another beautiful day on the water. We started off the day with a little snorkeling. The water was still a little cold so it wasn’t as enjoyable as it could be but it was still fun swimming through all the school of fish. I got to throw some fish food in the water and watch the swarms of fish dart around the swimmers. It was actually a short warm up for our next intro to diving stop. Thankfully we had wetsuits on this time. The intro dive was a short 15 minute dive down to 5-10m. It was actually a ton of fun. I had done diving lessons in a pool previously but being out in the ocean was way better than I imagined. It’s too bad Rebecca has ear troubles when diving or we might have done a lot more on the trip.

    We rejoined the boat and continued on to a small beach peninsula for our last stop. Another hour of lounging before we sailed home.

    The wind had been cranking all day long and was blowing about 35 knots. We had an incredible sail home. The gunwales where submerged and there was tons of water over the bow. It was a fast, wet and fun ride.

    On the boat and Fraser Island we had heard a lot about Magnetic Island and decided to go there next. Once on land, we hit the road to get a few more kilometers north before it got too late.
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  • Day117


    July 27, 2016

    Our sailing adventure started today. It was a beautiful sunny day with a good breeze (maybe 25 knots). The sails were hoisted shortly after leaving the dock and we had a good couple hour sail on the way to our first swimming spot. The boat had 3 crew (captain, deck hand and cook) and 22 guests. There were no private bunks onboard but Rebecca and I did score the v-birth which was a bit more private. The group was made up of Americans, Germans and British. We got along really well with one British couple who were doing a similar extended trip filled with trekking excursions. It was BYOB boat and I can imagine it could get pretty rowdy with the right crowd but our group was pretty low key.

    Our first stop was a sheltered bay for a quick dip before lunch. We learned all about stingers (jelly fish) that could do you some serious harm and we had to wear stinger suits. The stinger suits were like a very thin wet suit. The water was actually a bit on the chilly side so the swim was only brief. We enjoyed some lunch then continued on to Whitehaven. Whitehaven beach is world renowned beach for its pristine white sand. They claim it is some of the oldest sand in the world. There was a short walk to a lookout that we enjoyed before lounging on the beach for the afternoon.

    We picked up anchor and continued on to our anchorage for the night. It was a pleasant evening but the winds were still up and we weren’t completely sheltered. The motion at anchor bothered Rebecca’s stomach a little and neither of us slept very well.
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  • Day116

    Arlie Beach

    July 26, 2016 in Australia

    The long drive continued throughout the morning and we arrived in Arlie Beach in the early afternoon. Arlie Beach is the jumping off point for the Whitsundays. It is a hot tourist bed of sailing and boating adventures. Getting out on a sailing boat during our 6 month getaway was on my list of must dos and this was the perfect place to do it. We booked a one night sail on Siska, which happens to be Rolly Tasker’s 1978 Sydney to Hobart unofficial winner.

    After sorting out the details, we strolled the town and found a bar for some good old fashioned beer and nachos. The weather has finally started to get warmer as we have moved north. We were able to lay out on the beach for an hour and the ocean was a beautiful temperature.

    Finding an RV site was actually challenging. We visited 3 sites before we found availability which was important because we were in high need of a laundry mat.
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