Monday, 10 March 2008

This morning we decided to do some school, and then pull up the stakes and move on to Townsville. The wind was still too strong in Airlie Beach for a kayaking in the ocean, and Townsville was a nice distance to get us a little further up the road. The drive was an easy one, we got a little lost on the way to the campervan park which is never fun, driving a huge vehicle through an unfamiliar city, but we found it in the end. We took notice of the new and varied birds around our campervan, it seems each place we’ve stopped we’ve encountered different species of birds. This place had some strange brown ones that looked kind of like ducks with long, skinny legs. After finding our site we headed to “the Strand”, a waterfront promenade we’d read about in the guidebook. We started at the Rock Pool, a pool that holds ten times the amount of water in an Olympic size pool. What’s amazing is, they have this huge water filtration system that replaces the water in the pool every three hours. The whole reason for this massive filtration system is because there are really dangerous stingers in the ocean. There are two stinger nets out in the ocean for those who really want to swim there, but the Rock Pool is even safer.

There were signs everywhere about the stingers, what to do if you are stung by a box jelly or an irukanji. Douse the sting with vinegar and call an ambulance, administer CPR if needed. We had no interest in risking the ocean. Beside the Rock Pool area had a zip line and a small playground, the kids played for several hours while Clay and I talked. After the pool, we piddled along the Strand. We stopped for ice cream, we passed dozens of dogs and their owners out for a stroll, and lots of people jogging. The kids found an enormous climbing structure on the beach, a big red ropey pyramid. Further down, we found a water playground, with a bucket that dumped water all over you every thirty seconds. There was also a slide that spit kid’s slippery bodies out really fast, they rarely landed on their feet. Water guns and all sorts of get-wet hoses and spigots sprouted from the structure, the kids had a ball. So did lots of other kids. Some didn’t even have swimsuits, they just jumped right in their clothes. One boy, maybe ten years old, played in his underwear, until he lost them in a bucket dump and decided to put his shorts back on.

It was a golden playground day. We headed back to the caravan park after dark, made a simple stir-fry dinner, and then went to bed. All but Clay, who went in search of his wireless internet. It wasn’t working in our van, he eventually sat down on some chairs next to the pool and stayed up until midnight paying bills and working on the web site. I was fast asleep by the time he got back, my face pressed to the carpet wall of the caravan. He’s going to be tired tomorrow . . .