Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Straddie Day 2: Whale Trail, Deadman’s Beach and Frenchman’s Beach

Our first morning on the island, my alarm clock went off at 5:30am. I had plans to see the sunrise but after hearing the rain outside and seeing that the sky was covered in a thick blanket of clouds, I switched off my alarm and went back to sleep. The boys were lucky - traveling with me usually means no sleeping in but today they were let off the hook.

The boys were moaning about the rain and kept suggesting we go back home, but I wasn't about to let a little rain stop us from exploring the island. So we grabbed our big umbrellas and set out along the Whale Trail, stopping at elevated lookout points to see if we could spot a whale or two. We managed to catch a few blows before we kept walking. 

By the time we made it down to the beach, the rain had stopped so we decided to stay and play. The boys got right into writing and drawing in the sand, and running around with Andrew. 

I took a walk to the closer end of the beach. How is it that I'm the one who's fascinated by finding trash on the beach and they like to just enjoy being there. I think if I had the guts, or even the same curiosity as a child, I would have picked that can up to bring it back and show the boys. But my adult brain saw rust and the potential for so many injuries and diseases. So instead, I snapped a picture and continued walking until I reached the end where a large rock forced me to choose between climbing over the rocks in my bare feet, being soaked by giant waves, or turning back. I climbed for a bit but I really didn't know where I was going to end up, so I turned around.

When I got back to the boys, I convinced them to explore the other end of the beach with me. We walked and walked over the half-sandy, half-rocky terrain. The boys would stop occasionally to play in pools of water, asking when we'd go back to the "fun part" of the beach where they slipped down mini sand dunes.

One of the best things about visiting Straddie in the winter was that there was hardly anyone else there. We basically had the beaches all to ourselves and we could walk for miles and miles without running into anyone else. 

By lunchtime, we had walked a few kilometers and it was time to make a decision. We could keep going, past a huge wall of rocks, but we didn't know where we'd end up and how far we would be from the car. We could walk up a giant mountain of sand and see where that would take us - we had seen people standing at the top so it must have lead to the trail somehow. Or we could retrace our steps for a few kilometers and go back the way we had come. 

We decided to climb the giant hill. This picture does not accurately show how far up we had to climb. It would have been an awesome hill to sand-tobaggan down, but really, who would go more than once? It's a killer hike up!

Eventually, we found our way through a steep and winding narrow path through the trees, back to the trail that led to our car. 

I turned around to take some pictures in case the path we chose didn't actually lead anywhere and we had to find our way back to the beach. That was the extent of my survival skills. 

We got back to the car for a quick lunch, changed into our swimming gear then headed down to another beach. This time, we went to Frenchman's Beach. The path down was listed as "difficult" but even Caleb did the walk without too much issue.

Again, we did the same routine of the boys hanging out with Andrew, digging and playing soccer while I walked the length of the beach, twice this time. 

Isn't this spot gorgeous? I was expecting Ariel to pop up at any moment to say "hi"!

Nothing popped up at me, but I did get scared by this beached fish. I'm going to assume he's a pufferfish of some sort. I almost wanted to bring him home, too. 

The boys were perfectly happy burying themselves in the sand. 

We thought about staying on the beach for sunset again but remembering it took us a good 10-20 minutes to walk down the winding boardwalk/stairs, we decided it might be best not to attempt that in the dark with two boys. Plus, we saw a little snake on the way down and we definitely did not want to run into more snakes on the way up, especially around their dinner time.

So we traded the beach for gelati and enjoyed it as the sun went down from our spot overlooking the ocean. 

As we finished up our gelati, it started to rain so we took this as our cue to head home. I turned around for one last glimpse of Point Lookout and saw the entire rainbow spread across the sky; I had to take a picture, it was amazing!

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