TRIP REPORT FOR JANUARY 9-12, 2004
Friday, January 9:
It's been a long week. After spending the week at Coffs Harbour on the far north coast of NSW, it was a rush back to Sydney to spend Wednesday night back home, then back again to Coffs Harbour on Thursday to pick up some stuff we had (deliberately) left behind at the house, get reorganised, and finally head off up for Brisbane in the evening. We stayed at a fellow kinkster's place in suburban Brisbane that night, arriving at around midnight. He and a few friends were also going to come along on this 4WD BDSM Getaway! Weekend, but the best laid plans of perverts and men... the old Series I Land Rover he was going to borrow had no registration, no lights, no brakes (apparently they all don't have brakes anyway - must have been a design feature) and it was going to be too awkward to get that all taken care of in time, so he had to pass on this trip.
Leaving in the early hours of Friday morning, we headed off for Redcliffe, to catch up with the barge for its first trip of the day to Moreton Island. It was a cool morning, and the skies looked rather overcast. Catching the occasional glimpse of Moreton Bay as we drove along, the water looked murky. I was hoping that this wasn't going to be the weather for the weekend ahead.
For trips to Moreton Island, the usual thing that we do is to pick up a trailer at Coffs Harbour so that we can bring firewood. You can't collect anything on the island itself, not even dead wood, so you have to bring in your own. So what we do is, pick up a trailer at Coffs Harbour, drive north to our favourite wood collecting spot, and load up. We then take the wood across the border and onto the island. We didn't hire a trailer this time, however. Since we had a bit of room inside the truck, we loaded several large sacks of firewood (still collected from our favourite place between Coffs Harbour and Grafton) into the rear and reckoned that would be sufficient for the relatively short time we'd be on the island.
I like camp fires. What I like even more is a camp fire you can see from New Zealand.
G&C, owners of "The Mountain", were already in Queensland, and we'd organised to meet at the departure point at 0730 hours Friday morning. It was getting close to the time when they would be loading up the barge, and I was getting concerned that G&C were either lost, or running late. With around 10 minutes to go, the Prado finally appeared. This was just as well, because J, who had come up with us from Sydney in my truck, was just about to burst into a rendition of Koombiyah over the truck's radio, and I would have been forced to throttle him. Camping and beach permit fees were duly paid at the Combie Trader office, and the time came for us to load the trucks onto the barge.
Just after 0800 hours, we set off on the two-hour journey for Comboyuro Point, located on the north-western tip of Moreton Island. The water was incredibly rough and choppy - in fact, we were soon to learn that the crossing on this day was the roughest the crew had ever seen. Whilst everybody was in the passenger cabin area upstairs, watching the horizon lilt from -15º to +15º (no exaggeration, either) as the barge made its way across Moreton Bay, I was down on deck with the trucks, deflating the tyres. This was to prove be a fairly demanding undertaking.
Our trucks were parked on the starboard side of the barge; mine behind the Prado. There was about a metre and a half of space between the trucks and the side, plenty for me to crouch down and reach the tyre valves, to screw the Staun deflators on. There were about 20 trucks on deck. The choppiness of the water was so bad that the barge crashed through the waves, which regularly reached a height of some three to four metres above deck level, and then the waves came crashing down onto the vehicles. Under the onslaught, the trucks that were parked near the sides of the barge just disappeared from view. When they re-emerged, they were glistening, as torrents of seawater gushed from roof gutters, body cavities, door handles, engine bays, and ran down onto the deck, which was absolutely awash. This was going to be fun.
Where was I? I'm not called Not Excessive for no reason. I was reveling in this. If I was on the right side of a truck, I'd duck down as the waves came crashing over the side. You'd get drenched, but that would be about it. If I was on the left side of a truck, I'd grab onto the bull bar to make sure I didn't go flying across the deck. This was a great working theory, but that kind of fell apart when it came to doing the Prado, because it didn't have a bull bar - or anything else to grab a hold of. The routine became one of keeping an eye out for the impending big ones, and then rushing back to my truck before they hit, to grab onto the bull bar.
After about half an hour, I had successfully prepared both trucks for the sand tracks ahead. Mind you, I was totally soaked. Time to go upstairs and get something to eat. That was my big mistake. I grabbed a hot dog and sat down in one of the plastic chairs that formed the row of seats inside the cabin area. The hot dog tasted kind of strange - after the first few bites, my instincts told me that I really shouldn't continue, but I did anyway. I stopped about halfway through - I wasn't feeling all that well, so decided to ditch it and get up and walk around a bit. Peeling myself off the chair (I left a pool of seawater behind in the seat), I headed out back downstairs again and walked about the deck for a little. It was then that I knew I wasn't going to make it. Gravitating towards the starboard side of the barge, I looked out at the expanse of sea, marveled at the dramatic skies, admired the majestic sea birds, and... heaved over the side.
I have to admit I felt a lot better after doing this, and then ran when I saw a wave about to hit the side. My side. The side I had just thrown up over. Feet, do your stuff. Let's just say that the deck was a little bit more colourful after the wave was finished. J came down a little while later and found it rather funny that I had thrown up over the side. He found it funnier still, that there were bits of hot dog sliding around on the deck as the water washed across it. He didn't find it funny, however, when I told him that the railing he was leaning his bare arms upon was the exact one that I had just used, and that yes he was indeed leaning in it, as there was material that hadn't been washed away yet by the waves.
The look of disgust on his face was priceless. For everything else, there's Master Card.
The rest of the journey was uneventful, although J wasn't too keen on the way the barge was rolling, and kept asking if the trucks shouldn't be tied down on the deck (was it consensual I wondered) to stop them sliding off. I told him it would be OK, though I had had to be careful about the rocking motion. For example, when I was doing the tyres on mine, the gap of about two hand spans between the wheel arch and the rear tyre would close down to about 4 cm because of how much the truck was leaning over when the barge rolled in that direction. I found this out when, as I was undoing the valve cap with my right hand, I had leant my left hand on top of the tyre and felt the wheel arch touch the back of my hand. I kept my hands away from such places after that.
I'm sure J was convinced that the barge was going to sink. Visions came of a BDSM version of Gilligan's Island:
The Dom was a mighty sadist man,
At 1000 hours, we finally landed at Comboyuro Point. I had spent a fair amount of the travelling time up in the skipper's cabin with Gus, who pilots the barge on this run for most of its trips. I've known Gus since July of 2003, when I first visited Moreton Island, and every time I take the barge, it's always a trip up the stairs, through the "no entry" sign, and a yarn. The view from his windows is magnificent, so many metres above deck. From Gus, I've learnt about the hidden spots the surfies go to, the history of the whaling station, and all sorts of other facts about Moreton Island. I guess you pick up things when you've plied these waters for so many years.
The ramp is lowered, and we finally drive onto the soft beach sand. We head into Bulwer and have something to eat, then set off across to the eastern side of the island in order to select a camp site. We always camp on the eastern side, because it's more remote. Tangalooma Resort is on the western side, as is Cowan Cowan, and our preference has always been for one of privacy, even for vanilla trips.
By early afternoon, we've found a rather nice camp site around 20km south of the lighthouse. It's set back away from the beach, and it's around 6 metres above sea level. It's secluded, totally private, and the entry track is relatively concealed. The ground is flat, and protected against any winds by the surrounding vegetation, yet you still have a clear view of the ocean and can hear the roar of the waves. Perfect.
We step out of the trucks, and a small ghost crab scuttles across the ground, freaking out J, who is well and truly a city boy. Oh, I'm gonna love this. We unpack and set up camp.
The afternoon is spent chilling out and relaxing under the open skies. G&C had brought their collection of butt plugs and G, being the dirty old man that he is, proudly conducted a show-and-tell session.
Later that afternoon, we select the facilities at Blue Lagoon to go and fill up our water containers with the required 100 litres needed for cooking and washing. These facilities were to prove handy later on, because they also had toilets and showers. We returned to camp at twilight. By the time the sun had set, we had a good camp fire going, and were nicely settled in. I was a little concerned about C, who had never been camping before, and I hoped that she wouldn't find the outdoors experience too uncomfortable. I needn't have worried, though, because she seemed to adapt instantly, and didn't seem stressed. Our tent is a large dome one with two separate rooms, so G&C were comfortable with plenty of room to relax in. J had brought his own little green tent, and had set that up just a short distance away. We had set up some bamboo citronella torches to take care of any annoying insects, and with a camp fire at the front of the site, facing the beach, the setting was complete.
After dinner, myself, T (my partner), and J drove down to the beach in front of the camp site. Just as we were about to exit the track and get onto the beach proper, a large black mass rushed out of the bushes on the left, ran across the track in front of the driving lights, and just as quickly, disappeared into the scrub on the other side. It was a wild boar, about the size of a Mini Cooper. Pigs have always been a problem on Moreton Island. Introduced in the 19th century as a potential food source for shipwrecked travellers, they are now relegated to pest status, and a concerted effort is underway to remove them from the island. Goats were also introduced at the same time and for the same purpose, but they too were subjected to removal and no longer exist on the island as far as anyone knows.
When we finally pull up at the beach and get out of the truck, J walks over to the bull bar, and starts to unscrew the 4,5dB colinear antenna from its mounting socket. This antenna is a tall, white, tapered rod made from hollow fibreglass, and it's used for long-range communications.
I asked him what he thought he was doing.
"What do you think you're doing?"
He points to a VERY hairy spider, walking along the antenna, near its top. The spider is about the size of a golf ball.
"Yeah , I can see that. So what do you think you're doing?"
The antenna was unscrewed and out of its mount by this point. J has the threaded end in his hand (he sure as hell wasn't going to grab the other end), and he's holding the antenna like a stick - it looked like he was about to whack it into the ground.
"I'm going to whack it into the ground and kill it."
I was right: he was about to whack it into the ground. My alarm bells start ringing. I immediately grabbed the antenna out of his hand. I shook the spider off by quickly waving the antenna left and right, and screwed it back onto its socket. We spent some time on the beach, and then drove back up to the camp site.
Everybody went to sleep at around midnight, under a starry sky. The weather had been gorgeous since we landed in the morning, and it looked like it was going to be fine for the duration of our stay.
Saturday, January 10:
You know it's time to get up when you awaken at 0630 and the side of the tent is so hot, you can't touch it with your hands. The heat was unbelievable. The inside of the tent was like a sauna. Good thing we had brought along the boogie boards, because this was definitely going to be a surf morning. Breakfast couldn't be over soon enough; we were that keen to get into the water. G&C elected to stay in camp, so T, J, and myself made for the beach. We drove down and parked parallel to the shoreline, and broke out the boogie boards. J was happy to wade out and tackle some surf, whereas T and myself went out and caught some really good waves on our boards.
They really had some kick: on several occasions, I got carried in so fast, that I got beached well beyond the water's edge, and was literally almost at the driver's door of the truck. In fact, if the door was open, I could probably have changed CDs in the player without getting up! We spent the entire remainder of the morning in the surf, reveling in the cool relief of the ocean. The day was to prove to be a scorcher, despite what the weather in the early hours of yesterday morning had indicated.
We head back to camp and decide to go for a little exploration, to show G&C the island, as they'd never been here before. We drive to Bulwer via Middle Road, and have lunch. After lunch is over, we head north via the access tracks and tour the north beach. Heading along the north beach from west to east, you soon discover why this place is a fishing mecca during the summer months. Every conceivable camp site is packed with fisherman and their 4WDs. Rod holders are everywhere, and the beach is peppered with them. Everything from whiting to sharks is on the list, and they catch them, too.
As we journeyed further east towards Cape Moreton, however, the density of fishermen diminished, and the sandscape gave way to long, lonely stretches which could be devoid of people altogether. At about the halfway mark, we stopped and got out to swim in a lagoon. We parked the trucks right at the edge, and jumped in. The water was beautifully clear and cool. It felt surreal, bathing in a lagoon and watching the waves break on the beach, which was about 50 metres away, on the other side of a stretch of sand.
Just to prove that G was a dirty old man, he had his collection of butt plugs in the Prado, and he went and fetched one. Before too long, he had (rather unsuccessfully) discovered that you can't insert them underwater (much to C's relief) because the salt gets in the way. I was wondering why she was jumping in the water so much... I thought it was sea lice.
To aid in beating the heat, cold vodka cruisers and mudshakes from the truck fridge did their best to help. Mind you, this was no "get pissed and swim" outing - you know my rules - but it was nice to lie back on the wet sand and sip on a cold vodka mudshake and watch J get into trouble because he was giving G grief. This attitude on J's part changed instantly upon G lifting his arm out of the water, proudly displaying his swimming trunks. I too, was traumatised, having visions of a naked Jed Clampett (he did have the hat for it). We decided to come back to this same spot at midnight and go skinny dipping (more Jed Clampett therapy) - so I duly waypointed the spot on the GPS.
Our next stop was the lighthouse at Cape Moreton. Heading over to the end of the north beach, we turned off onto an inland track, and made our way to the car parking area of the lighthouse. There is a Visitors' Centre at the top of the hill, where you can see some exhibits pertaining to the island, and of course there's the walking track along the side of the lighthouse, where you can take in some astonishing views of the island. From this vantage point, you can see everything from dugong swimming in the aqua waters below, to the far-off dunes of The Desert on the western coast line.
The walk is a little steep, but well worth it. After being badly bitten by sea lice in the surf this morning (she just has this affinity for them. I don't know... she can find sea lice in a bath tub), T had taken an antihistamine to ward off the itching. Add to that, the effects on the antihistamine from the small amount of alcohol she had consumed at the lagoon (she had forgotten about the antihistamine), and she decided to stay in the truck and sleep it off. The rest of us made our way up to the Visitor's Centre and took in the sights.
The view from the walking track around the lighthouse was truly spectacular. There was no haze at all, and you could see right out to the horizon. After spending some time up on the hill, we went back down to the trucks - T was awake, but rejoining the real world, albeit slowly. We left the car park and drove down the east beach, taking in the sights, and headed for Blue Lagoon.
Blue Lagoon is an amazing expanse of fresh water, hidden in the foothills. It's fed by the rainfall on the surrounding dunes: the water soaks through the dunes, and then hits the bedrock, which then funnels it into the lagoon. The water is stained with a tinge of tea tree oil, and it's exquisite to swim in. You can stay in there for hours. We did.
The bottom is smooth and sandy (Doh! What else could it be?) and there is no weed, apart from some reeds on the edge of the water. It's truly idyllic.
G was being a dirty old man again, and taking off his swimmers. I was so traumatised by visions of a naked Jed Clampett again that I was going to need therapy. Fortunately, he stayed in the water, even though his swimmers were doing somersaults through the air, from point to point.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. Da dum... da dum... da de da da da de da daaaa....
After we were finished, it was getting on sunset. We went to the amenities block in the car park, and some of us showered off. T, J, and myself left to head back for camp - my only concern was how G&C would find their way back, because the Prado didn't have a GPS in it. G said it would be OK, that he and C would be fine, and find their way back without too much trouble. They arrived back at camp around an hour after we did. G had no real problem locating the turnoff from the beach, and he told me that he had been using a coconut that had washed up on the beach (virtually right next to where the track came out) to mark the turnoff.
We spent the remainder of the early evening relaxing, and enjoying the dramatic skies as sunset approached. Moreton always has dramatic sunsets, and even if you're not on the west coast, watching the sun lower itself into the water, you can see the blood-streaked clouds swim in the darkening sky. It's truly a sight to remember.
Because of dinner and chat, the time just flew. It was around 2230 hours when we realised it would soon be time to go and head for the lagoon that we had swum in earlier in the day. Getting around Moreton via the inland tracks is a slow affair at the best of times. By the time we arrived at the north beach, it was after 2330 hours, and to complicate things, the tide was in. The tracks I had recorded on our way south from the lagoon, earlier in the afternoon, were, by now, underwater. Like, REALLY underwater. Never to be discouraged, I started to seek out alternate routes. after repeated attempts, they came to naught, as the tide blocked any travel along that part of the beach. Note that the lagoon that we wanted to get to wasn't necessarily overrun by the tide; just that the access we wanted to use to get there was. For all we knew, the lagoon was still a lagoon - but we wouldn't find out until we got there.
It was then I had a brainstorm and decided to take our party way west, along Middle Road towards Bulwer. On my first trip to Moreton, I had waypointed a tiny little track that branched off Middle Road and took you out to the north beach west of the lagoon's location. I knew we'd be able to make that. Then we'd just head east again along the beach to the lagoon. The only question that remained was whether the lagoon still existed anymore. By around 0015 hours, we had reached the spot where the lagoon was, and yes it was still exactly the same as it was earlier in the day. The ocean was nowhere near it: despite the tides, the shoreline had moved no real distance closer. Excellent.
I brought my truck to the middle section and reversed down the slope towards the lagoon so that the work light in the rear tyre carrier cast a beam onto the lagoon. Parking the truck there and leaving the beam on, I got out and checked out the water - it seemed nice and clean and inviting. I signaled the others, turned off the work light, and off we went. I have to admit I've never done that sort of thing before - being the shy wallflower and all. It was great. Well, for a while, anyway. About ten minutes after jumping in, J jumped out in a mighty hurry, claiming that something had bitten him. Now that he mentioned it, I recall feeling something nibbling at me, almost a tiny tug, on my right side, but had dismissed it as a figment of my imagination.
Everyone got out of the water quick smart. I think they've seen Jaws one time too many. I figured it was OK as nothing vital of mine had been bitten. Anyway, the consensus was to head back to camp. Theories were forwarded as to the cause of the mysterious bites, ranging from kinky prawns to giant monster sea urchins. I turned the light on again and had a really close look at the water. There was nothing that I could see. We put the most likely cause down to rabid goth vampire prawns, and left it at that. Just to teach them a lesson, in case they were hiding in there, I drove my truck through the entire length of the lagoon. Try and bite MY dick without asking permission, will you?!?
We arrived back in camp at around 0200 and everyone but myself turned in. I stayed up for a bit and wandered down to the beach to take some night shots. The cloudy sky, the moon, and the beach, created a stunning combination. Driving along the beach about a kilometre north of camp, I noticed that another coconut had washed up onto the sand. I collected it, and just before going up the track to go back to camp, stopped the truck at the site of the coconut G had been using as a landmark, and placed the one I had just found next to it, so now there were two coconuts marking the entrance to the track.
Upon my return to camp, I sat and watched the moon move through the clouds above the fire for a while, before going to bed.
Sunday, January 11:
At 0930 hours, we have to cross the island and go and pick up B, who's spending the day with us. Unfortunately, B and his partner couldn't join us for the entire time away due to work commitments, but B said he'd join us for the day as he lives in Brisbane, and so he caught the 0800 barge, which would land at Comboyuro Point at 1000 hours. We all went across to Comboyuro Point in both trucks, to meet B. Chatting on the radio, the topic arose of how it was a good thing he had his landmark to go by, because he didn't have a GPS.
"There's two coconuts there now."
We meet the barge just as it's landing. B spots us and waves from the deck. As well as being a qualified paramedic, B is extremely knowledgeable about all things to do with piercing, and in fact one thing which was prearranged was for him to do a labial piercing on C, so he had brought his toolbox, as it were. After the meet-and-greets were over, we all went down the west coast, and headed south towards the Tangalooma Wrecks for a bit of a swim. The water was warm and stunningly clean, although T again had troubles with sea lice. She was prepared this time, and had already brought along some antihistamine. No alcohol in sight this time, so the antihistamine wouldn't knock her out.
After we had finished our swim, we made our way back to Blue Lagoon via some tracks that B knew of (past Cowan Cowan), arriving a little bit after midday. We had a brief swim in Blue Lagoon, and then used the showers there. T, B and myself then left to head back for camp, leaving J with G&C, to come back in the Prado a little while later. On the way down, I was telling B about the coconut landmark thing that G was doing, seeing as how he didn't have a GPS. When we got to the track turnoff, I stopped the truck, got out, picked up the coconuts, and placed them on the floor in front of the driver's seat.
This raised some curious glances from B:
"What are you doing with those coconuts?"
A second's silence passed.
Whereupon I started the engine, drove a fraction over two kilometres according to the GPS, found the nearest track turnoff, stopped, and placed the coconuts there. We then headed back for camp at an accelerated pace. Once back at camp, we kept a watch on the beach below us. After about half an hour, we saw the Prado come into view. It came up to the turnoff for our camp... and kept right on going. Ah well, I figured, he should catch on in about two minutes and turn around.
Two minutes passed. Then ten. Then twenty.
The Prado finally turned up about half an hour later.
"Hey, we thought you'd gotten lost or bogged somewhere." I tried to look concerned.
I, of course, said nothing, but nodded in deep concern.
The girls started to make lunch. B and G discussed the piercing hardware, and I pottered on the truck a little, getting the windscreen wiper drive bar sorted, as it had given me a little trouble since Coffs Harbour last week. Lunch came and went, and soon it was 1430 hours.
It was time for B to do the piercing, so T, J, and myself decided to leave them to it, and we headed off to Bulwer to do an ice run. Although we had filled the eskies with ice on Friday morning, it was practically gone now, so doing an ice run was a necessity anyway. We arrived at the garage, obtained some ice, bought some bait from the tackle store (I had brought my fishing gear along and was intending to do some fishing on Sunday night regardless) and then went exploring down the west coast. The scenery was magical, and there were some unusual sights.
By the time we finally made it back to camp by taking the access road from The Desert, it was nearly 1800 hours, and it would soon be time to take B back to the barge for his return journey. G&C were very satisfied with the job B had done, and I think he was happy about the result too. We had dinner, which included some very delicious hamburgers.
We talked until about 1900 hours, and then it was time to load up and take B back to Comboyuro Point. The barge was due to leave at 2000 hours. The barge arrived on time, and we said our goodbyes. We saw the barge off, and then turned the truck around and headed into the scrub.
We relaxed around the camp fire, and by around 2200 hours it was time for me to go and do some fishing. I took my tackle box and headed down to the beach. The heat of the night was still there, so I stripped off and kept on fishing. There was nothing much biting that night, but let me tell you one thing: when you're standing there stark naked in a warm ocean with the waves bumping into you at just below waist height (if you know what I mean), you don't CARE about the fishing.
Lights out was at around 0100. Tomorrow was to be our last day here.
Monday, January 12:
Another scorcher - the heat as soon as the sun rose over the ocean was sauna material again. We had to be at Comboyuro Point by 1500 hours, so we had to be ready to leave before noon, if we wanted to do any sightseeing on the way back. After breakfast, we slowly began to dismantle the camp. I was going to show everybody Rous Battery, which was a fortification built during the early part of last century to protect Brisbane against invasion (Against whom? The Tasmanians?) by mounting a huge cannon on top of a turntable.
By about 1130 hours, we were all packed and set to go and see Rous Battery, which was located about ten kilometres or so south of camp. Packing up had been an arduous task, as the summer heat made you lose so much fluid, you'd drink copious amounts of water every fifteen minutes. After a final inspection to make sure that everything was in order, we headed south along the beach. The ocean was a stunning shade of deep blue, with a tropical green in the shallow sections near the beach. By around 1200 hours, we had arrived at the Battery. G and myself walked up to inspect it, whilst the rest of our party were happy to stay behind in the trucks and look on.
The climb up to the structure was a difficult one in that the slope was steep, the sand powdery soft, and to top it off, the sand temperature must have been at least 50º. I was barefoot, and had to hop all the way up, so intense was the ground heat that I couldn't keep my feet on the sand for more than a couple of seconds at a time.
When we finally got to the top, it was worth it. The views were magnificent, and the Battery itself, fascinating. It had fallen into quite a state of disrepair by now, of course. The cannon had long ago been removed, but the structure itself was just left to the elements.
Huge slabs of concrete had simply crumbled and fallen away, landing on the soft sands below. The QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) had attached a sign to the supporting column, warning people to keep off the structure, but as evidenced by the ample amounts of graffiti we saw etched into the concrete, that didn't stop people climbing on top of it. Even we climbed on top of it to have a closer look, but we stayed at the rear of the ring, which was nestled into the sand dunes. We weren't silly enough to venture out onto the front part of the ring, which had huge cracks and missing chunks of cross-section taken out of it. What was fascinating, though, was that the top-most tier of the ring, the one that still had the steel monorail on it (which the cannon had moved about on) was completely intact. The other two tiers had a gap of several metres in them. Looking at the debris field in front of the Battery, it was easy to imagine what it may have looked like if it had ever been involved in conflict, and gotten hit.
It was early afternoon now, and time to go. Driving north along the beach, we took in the sights for the last time, and chatted on the radio. During a pause in the banter, I decided I had to tell G about the coconuts:
"I have a confession to make."
There was a dead silence over the radio for around 10 seconds.
We took the turnoff for Middle Road, and headed into Bulwer. Grabbing some snacks, we spent a short while there and then went up into Comboyuro Camp Ground for some of us to make a last-minute use of the facilities. Driving down to the landing area at around 1500 hours, we see that the barge is unloading.
We wait for the last of the traffic to unload, and then it's our turn to drive on board. We depart the island at 1530 hours, and settle in for a much calmer ride home than Friday's. I spend some time up in the cabin with Gus, and show him some of the shots I'd taken.
As soon as my mobile phone came into radio range, I received a call from the organisers of the exhibition at the Seymour Centre in Sydney, where I was due to exhibit some of my photographic works in April, so I had to take care of that before going on deck and getting out the air compressor, to air up the tyres on both our trucks. The barge has its own air compressor, but I prefer not to use it as it's slow, and the air is full of salt water moisture - not good for steel belted tyres.
We finally land in Scarborough Boat Harbour just after 1730 hours. I say goodbye to Gus (until the next time, that is) and we drive off the deck. The sun is low by now, and the light over Moreton Bay has a surreal, grey-yellowish tinge to it. We drive out of the Combie Trader yard and pull over on the side of the street, a little way down.
We get out and have a final discussion about the experience. It had proven to be a memorable experience for all concerned. We rang B, to let him know that we were back on the mainland, and to thank him for coming over and doing the piercing. His final comment to me was, "Fuck! Your lights are bright!" - a reference to when we dropped him off at the barge on Sunday night, and waited to see him off. The barge had gone out to sea by about a hundred metres, when we turned around to go back to camp. In doing so, my driving lights hit the side of the barge, which lit up like a billboard, and apparently caused comment by the crew and some of the passengers along the lines of "WTF?"
Well, I am not excessive in any way, after all. Personally, I don't think that running nearly a kilowatt of forward lighting is overkill, is it?
After a half-hour, we said our goodbyes. We were going straight back to Coffs Harbour; the Prado was going to wander down the coast for a little while before heading back inland to Muswellbrook. We'd leave Coffs Harbour for Sydney the following day.
This has been, to date, the largest undertaking we've ever done for a 4WD BDSM Getaway! Weekend, in terms of distance travelled and the amount of organising we've had to do. We only had 6 people and 2 trucks. Was it worth the effort? You better believe it.
This particular 4WD BDSM Getaway! Weekend has proven to be something special, and the scenery we experienced will be indelibly etched into our collective consciousness. This trip will be something we can look back on in ten, in twenty years' time, and I look forward to hosting another trip to this place in two years from now.
Roll on, Moreton Island 4WD BDSM Getaway! Weekend in January 2006.