CHAPTER 13: Focus, focus, focus… we made it to The Whitsundays!

Dear readers, hello!

We hope you are all well and happy.

We are really good! We are on our last day at the Whitsundays. Oh guys, what a wonderful place! There is beauty everywhere. E-very-where. It is incredible. We don’t seem to get tired of it. We are leaving tomorrow, heading down south again and we are having trouble doing so! Even Sofia said today she wanted to live here. Such a beautiful place. But we need to focus. We have so much we want to see, so much we want to explore that we have to continue our journey. This is one of the biggest lessons we have learned this week: all about focus. If you have been following us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or have read our Chapter 12 , you will know that our first destination was Hervey Bay. We spent our first three nights there. We knew we needed some time to recover from the massive “move out”  we just had so we decided to crash there.

And Evan and I felt it: what are we doing? What’s the point of this all? We asked ourselves. We were feeling down, as if we had lost sight of our final destination.

We had a pretty relaxed time in Hervey Bay. The kids made friends and played all the time. Nevertheless, we were feeling a bit strange. The third day we spent there was no different than any other day in Brisbane. And Evan and I felt it: what are we doing? What’s the point of this all? We asked ourselves. We were feeling down, as if we had lost sight of our final destination. As soon as we realised it and we talked about it, we felt energised and much better. Ready to hit the road the following day.

The beach and us. Hervey Bay.

The first night after Hervey Bay we had what I called a river crash. Let me explain. We left the camp site and we headed up north towards our final destination for this short trip, the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach. We packed up all the stuff (we seriously need to get rid of a lot of stuff still) and we hit the road. It was nice and smooth. We located a free camp site near Gladstone and we decided to head off there. It was off the main motorway so it was very easy to stop. It was in Boyne River, in Benaraby. We took Tracey down a 4WD track. And she kept up. She is seriously awesome. That 70’s camper trailer rocks all the time.

Moments before our River Crash!

Once we set up Tracey (that means opening her wings so we can sleep on them) we had an incredible night. We had no power, no water except for the water we had in the tank and no one around us. It was so silent, so peaceful. I felt in contact with nature, with myself. I felt like a powerful creature, a powerful mother, a powerful woman. We had dinner watching the sun go down and looked at the stars until the mosquitoes started looking at us. That night, we all crashed, river crashed. It was a quiet sleep, very healing, we were extremely fresh in the morning.

We had no power, no water except for the water we had in the tank and no one around us.

We have learned that we can only do about 300km a day. More than that makes the kids let us know they have had enough in a very particular way. Missing the ocean, we decided to stop at Clairview, one of the only points where the A1, Bruce Highway meets the ocean. To get there, we needed to go through Rockhampton so I searched for their public pool. We found the Rockhampton Aquatic Centre. We need the kids on our side if we want to keep travelling, and keeping them happy makes them be on our side…

After the pool, we headed again towards Clairview. Our towels were all wet so I decided to spread them over the car so we would have them dry for the night in case we needed to have a shower. We only have these towels. We are learning to only have 1 thing of what we need. Towels are an example. I am putting a bag aside for the op shop. This time can’t tell us they can’t take any more donations because we are very very far away. Over 800km away from the start. And that op shop, do you remember how Evan was told not to donate any more stuff and all the opshop was from our house? Read it here.

Back to the towels, one of them had a little corner still a bit damp. I decided to put it out of the window so it would dry faster. This is out of boredom, as you can imagine. I was holding it with one hand and attending to Leo with the other hand and in a matter of a second, oops! it left my hand. The towel landed on the road after a couple of flips in the air. Aaaaarggggghhhhh. Evan asked me if I was joking. I wasn’t. I bet he thought about the divorce: “maybe too much hussle this time…, but seriously Clara?” We were looking for a place to turn around so we could get it (remember we only have one towel each…). And Luke thought we were leaving without the towel, so he started crying. When we turned around to get the towel he stopped crying. We did two u-turns, one to go back and another to go further again. After the second u-turn we started to look for the towel. We couldn’t find it, where is it? Suddenly, a tiny pink fluro spec appeared out of nowhere! Evan stepped on the breaks and we stopped about 300 meters away from the towel. I opened the door, I was the one designated to go and get it. Probably because I was the one who dropped it but also because I was on the safe side of the road. I looked at the situation, in 0.5 milliseconds, and assessed. There was probably a snake waiting for me to jump, bite me and eat me for its afternoon snack. Probably the towel was part of the conspiracy plot with the snake. I yelled: snakes, watch out! and started running towards the towel. I felt like Forrest Gump. Run Run Run! I was running with my flip flops, or as australians call them, my thongs, those you put on your feet. I seriously don’t know how I didn’t end up on the floor either eaten by a snake or full of scratches because of those silly shoes. Anyway, I got to the towel, picked it up and made sure there wasn’t any fauna on it, like snakes, bugs, fire ants or other funky deadly things, by shaking it hysterically and with compulsive movements. And then I run back to the car, with my shoes, making little jumps so the snakes could not reach me. Made it to the car and closed the door like if there were a hundred zombies trying to take a bite of me.

Evan made a rule: Rule #7. No one hangs stuff out of the window. Including mama.

I asked what were the other 6 rules and so he went like this:

Rule #1: Listen to dad.

Rule #2: Listen to mama.

Rule#6: Eat your veggies (this one is silly as there isn’t much more option for them than to eat them).

I can’t remember the other three rules, I can only remember all of us laughing a lot about it all. After the towel incident, Luke felt asleep. I guess too much happening. He slept a lot.

We finally arrived to the camp site in Clairview just as Leo was letting us know he had had enough of the car. The review at the WikiCamps said that there are crocodiles in this area. Far out, you know you are in Australia when the camp site advises you about the crocs. What the f… Seriously. I miss Europe sometimes, the place where all the wild animals were killed over a thousand years ago. A matter of you or me, baby. Guess who won.

The view from our site. Clairview.

The following morning, the kids discovered the dart board at the pub/kitchen of the campsite. They are becoming locals. While the kids were playing, I had a chat with the manager of the camp site we were staying at. I asked her about crocodiles. She said there are crocodiles in the area. She said that the other day (the manager and her husband have only been managing the camp for six weeks, so it is probably recent) she heard her husband swear: Holy shit! She thought it must have been a snake but he hurried her to go outside their little house in the campsite to have a look herself. And then, she said, I saw this crocodile swimming across the beach, floating and paddling. As you do.

She added that those waters have, besides crocodiles, the following fauna: sharks, stingers, jelly fish and other creatures that can either kill you or make your life very painful. So here it is, paradise, the most gorgeous waters you have ever seen, the combination of white and turquoise that makes it so appealing and irresistible, infested by all the creatures that could potentially end your life. I guess this is the ying and the yang in the same place. Beauty and death all together.

The waters that bathe the big crocodile! Clairview.

The manager then concluded our conversation telling me about this elderly lady she used to visit when she was little: this lady had two daughters who used to get school on the back of a horse she used to own. One day, the girls never got to school. The father of the girls gathered all men and started searching for them. Somehow, they knew that a crocodile was involved and they were searching for it. They searched until they found it. And they killed it. When they checked in the inside of the crocodile, they found a little red dress that one of the girls was wearing.

The mother was devastated and she never went back to who she once was. She divorced the father of her girls and went to live all by herself in an isolated house with no power and no running water. She changed the way she dressed, never to wear any feminine clothes, only manly clothes. She encountered death one day and probably peace.

The manager finally added that there was a pub, in Koumala, on the A1, the same highway we were taking to get to the Whitsundays, that has a big crocodile hanging at the very top of the entrance. In the pub, they were supposed to have loads photos and newspapers of the fatal tragedy. We stopped by on the way to Mackay. We arrived at the pub at around 10am in the morning and there was one person drinking. The bartender, a very good looking lady in her early 50s greet us. Evan said we were having a look at the pub. The pub had all sorts of stuffed creatures hanging off the wall: turtle shell, crocodile skin, shark mouths, crabs, one sort of big herbivore and other things that my vegan stomach could not really stand for much more. The old man drinking at the pub asked us if we were after Stompy, the big croc who is in the area. We both at the same time said: I don’t think so!

Felling like complete tourists, like clams with high heels or an octopus in a car park, we left.

The Pub at Koumala.

And with these stories, we made it to the Whitsundays, our final destination of this trip that has only started. More to come next week.

Until then: dream big, work constantly, start now.

Have a good week guys and Merry Christmas to you all from The Five!

4 thoughts on “CHAPTER 13: Focus, focus, focus… we made it to The Whitsundays!

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