Sunday, May 12, 2013

magnetic island

after three months of seeing magnetic island (a.k.a maggie) from afar - mt. stuart, castle hill, the strand - i finally made it over this past weekend. i'd seen so many of my friends' photographs from there that i'd almost started to feel as though i'd been to maggie myself already. 

just to give you some perspective:

view of maggie from the strand..

from castle hill..

and from mount stuart

feeling as though time is running out (because it really is!), i convinced my friends to get away with me for a weekend of bouldering, hiking, swimming & camping on the island. needless to say, it didn't take much convincing. 

we woke up early saturday morning to gather gear and catch the ferry over to maggie. after a rainy friday afternoon, it was great to see the sun was out! truthfully, i wasn't that worried - even when it does rain here, it hardly lasts for long. going to miss that when i go back home!

the ferry ride over was a little windy..

once we arrived on maggie, first up on the agenda was making our way over to our hostel. magnetic island has its own bus system just like townsville - it's super easy to find the schedule and figure out where you're going. while we waited for missed bus #1 (somehow missing the bus would come to be a very common routine over the weekend), katrina and i explored a nearby jetty. as we walked over the rocks, small wallabies started popping out everywhere! it was so bizarre - reminded me of these weird feral cats that live on the beach in san pedro back in california. i jokingly called these guys rock-wallabies; turns out that is actually what they are called. who knew i was such a wildlife expert- guess my australian vertebrate fauna class is subconsciously teaching me something!

after waiting for a decent period of time in which another ferry arrived with friends who had missed the first ferry, we eventually arrived at x base, our hostel. i definitely had underestimated the size of magnetic island -  if you want to see a lot of the island but don't have a car, buses are a necessity. even if you have to overhear twelve year olds complaining about growing up on a tropical island where "all there is to do is swim" which they don't even like. ..really..?

at x base you could either stay in these little a-frame bungalows or on the campground. we opted to camp and practically took over the place. 

view from our tents

tent assembly struggle/success

rocky bay in the distance

after eating some peanut butter sandwiches stolen from the dining hall (life of a poor college student..) we grabbed crash pads and climbing shoes and hiked over to rocky bay for some bouldering. 

just a bunch of squares

definitely spent a good thirty minutes just running around across the rocks before doing any actual climbing

blood was shed..

look at that concentration!

the dude in the distance washed up on shore with his dog (named heineken) and capsized boat.. and proceded to casually lie out and tan for a while. eventually he tried to get back out in the water, but the waves were too strong. some of the guys helped him anchor his boat to a tree and he walked home, saying he would just come back at high tide to go back out. 

after a while, we couldn't resist the waves any longer and had to get in the water. we had the beach to ourselves!

we left rocky bay with enough time to hike up to hawkings point for the sunset. 

you can see rocky bay and x base down below

castle hill and mt. stuart in the distance! so cool seeing the opposite view

we ended the night cooking delicious burritos back at our hostel - they were so good that an overly friendly possum actually licked katrina's face and bit her watch in an attempt to get a bite.

sunday morning we got up painfully early to watch the sunrise - definitely worth it. 

over half of magnetic island is preserved as a national park, and there are many walking trails through mountainous eucalyptus woodlands with spectacular views of the bays. we chose to go on the fort's hike, which was highly recommended and held the promise of spotting wild koalas. of course, i completely forgot to look for wildlife after five minutes into the hike. luckily, we stumbled upon a group of people staring into a eucalyptus tree who excitedly showed us a koala sleeping high in the branches! 

hey koala butt

needless to say, i would never have seen that guy on my own. even though i think koalas kind of look like weird old men, it was awesome seeing one in its natural habitat!

we reached the forts, which are the remains of an australian royal navy artillery battery from WW2. 

observation post overlooking cleveland bay

one of two gun emplacements 

such wonderful views of the island and beyond from up here

once we finished the hike, we realized that had missed the bus by only five minutes (identical experience to what happened that morning when we first attempted to leave the hostel). victoria attempted hitchhiking which we had been told worked well for others, but it was to no avail. we sucked it up for the next forty minutes and hopped on the next bus that came.

destination: alma bay

alma bay also had some sweet boulders, but katrina and i were keen to attempt some snorkelling

however, i could barely even see my feet below the water and we probably didn't even get out far enough to see the reef, but it was still fun swimming through the waves. and we even had full stinger protection this time!

had to have a brief stinger suit / boulder modeling session

i didn't want to leave magnetic island! 

our hostel paradise

i still feel like there is so much to see of magnetic island to see - one weekend isn't enough time! luckily maggie is only a thirty minute ferry ride away, so hopefully i can come back sometime before heading home in june. this friday is the full moon party and one of my favorite musical artists, flight facilities, is DJing.. so i might have to end up back on maggie sooner rather than later!

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