Day 67 - K'Gari Part 2April 15, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 77 °F
We were awoken for day 2 by the sound of the didgeridoo playing outside the tent and were compensated by breakfast of egg in toast (bread with a hole cut out of the middle the put on a hot plate and an egg cracked into the hole). We hit the road early to go to Eli Creek, a place apparently popular with Australian 'Bogans' (Dave's description, not mine) who will build their gazebos in the water of the creek and sit in chairs in there to cut off territory from other people using it. He was not wrong but luckily we arrived before too much of that was going on. The accessible part of the creek is maybe about 100m of shallow-ish moving water. After giving us some story time about the plants around the creek and their meaning to the Butchulla people we were introduced to the Crocodile Game. 7 people were crocodiles and positioned themselves down the creek whilst everyone else made their way down the creek trying not to get caught i.e. pushed, pulled or grabbed into the water. If you got caught then you became a crocodile so it's pretty much impossible to make it down. I got pulled in at the first hurdle. It was good fun though and we made it to the end of the creek just before the crowds increased. I tried very hard to get a person-less creek picture but sadly the children on oversized inflatables had other ideas. Matt played volleyball with some of the group whilst I generally wandered and chatted - ball sports are not my thing at the best of times let alone in the Australian sun.
After the creek we passed by the Moheno shipwreck. In the 1930s a posh cruise ship was retired but the only buyers they could get for it was a Japanese company who wanted it for scrap. Sadly whilst being towed they hit a storm and the tow line broke. The Moheno hit the island and when they tried to rescue it a few mistakes were made leading to it being dragged further up the beach and properly stuck. The Japanese company hired a security guard to look after it as it still had a lot of the fixtures and fittings on board however the locals realised he could be persuaded to look the other way for a bottle of rum and cleaned the place out. The grandad of the owner of Drop Bear, the company that we travelled with, managed to floor his whole house using floorboards he got from it! The company cut their losses when they realised what had happened and that the ship had lost more value than it'd cost to rescue it and 'donated' it to the island where it's been ever since.
From the shipwreck we had the chance to go on a 15 minute scenic flight over the island which we jumped at. You take off from the beach and fly over the sea to try and spot creatures then over the island to look at the lakes and forests. It was great fun to see the places we'd been like Lake Wabby and some of the lakes look like things like butterflies or footprints. The pilots also wear knee high white socks which I liked. Matt even got to sit in the copilot seat, but only if he promised not to touch anything.
Next stop of the day was Cathedral Beach which is like the town centre of the island in that it has a shop and flushing toilets (unlike all the other toilet which are more of the drop variety). We ate lunch in the camp area and spotted a couple of lizards even bigger than the big lizard that I saw in 1770. They were just strolling around someone's caravan/camp site and eating scraps they found. We also saw a kookaburra sitting in a tree which was cool for a twitcher like me.
The afternoon involved a couple of long drives. We attempted Champagne Pools and Indian Head before deciding they were both too busy so stopped on the beach for an extended Story Time. Dave told us the story of the Butchulla people and the wider story of the indigenous people of Australia. It was pretty harrowing. To give a short version Captain Fraser and his wife rocked up to Fraser Island short of food and suppliers and were looked after very well by the Butchulla people though sadly Captain Fraser was too unwell to survive. His much younger wife then married his cousin and got back to England wanting to make more money by selling her story. No one believed it the way it was as they didn't believe the indigenous people would be kind so she changed it to them being savages. Then everyone wanted to listen and she made a lot of money telling anyone who would listen. By the time loggers arrived at the island in the following years they also brought guns to kill anyone they found as by Mrs Fraser's account they were evil. Once they'd killed most of the men they rounded up the women and child and pushed them off Indian Head. One of the reasons there's a campaign to rename the island to K'Gari. Dave also told us he was actually becoming a Butchulla person after being invited to join the people. He was already good friends with some of the remaining Butchulla people and loves K'Gari though what sealed it was that he want to Amsterdam and had some strange acid trip where he saw the whole story of the islands creation but knew details that he'd never been told so when he recounted it to his friends they decided he had the Butchulla spirit in him and should join. Make of that what you will. He was clearly very passionate so good luck to him.
Once Story Time was done we went to Champagne Pools which was a bit quieter. It gets its name as the pools are separated from the sea by a strip of rocks and now and again the waves go over the rocks into the pools making them appear to fizz like champagne. We didn't spend too long here but had a swim and some photos.
Finally we went to Indian Head. We had to climb a rocky hill up to the top then got amazing views of the sun setting and the beaches. It's a sad place as it's where the women and children were killed but very peaceful.
We were running a bit late so it was a race against time to beat the tide. It was dark for half of the drive but we made it back in one piece for our chicken stir fry and more cookies. The sky had fewer clouds tonight so the stars looked even more incredible and the moon rise was just beautiful again. Dave also showed us that if you moonwalked towards the sea in the wet sand you could see bioluminescent plankton! One of those things you'd never know without a guide who knew the island so well.
We had a lot to drink that night. We ended up with the group of Brits now living in Aus who were all lovely and the goon was flowing. Two of the guys polished off a 2L bag in about an hour! We were the last people up after all the whipper snappers went to bed so had to 'lock up' camp to stop the dingos. I was convinced we'd not do it properly and would wake up to 10 dingos partying in there but it was all fine in the morning. Phew!Read more