Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Because we had crashed so early the night before, we woke up early, so early that we thought we should check out the sunrise. We hopped in our golf cart and drove down to Blinky's Beach, just east of the airport. To get to the beach, all we needed to do was go up, over, and down a small sand dune. It ordinarily would have taken 30 seconds, but we were laboring pretty good. We expected to be much worse off after the way we felt the day before, but it was "just" our quads. Just our quads meant that going up, and especially going down, any stairs was difficult. The sunrise was amazing - there was no one around, and the colors and the reflections were unreal. One of our best sunrises ever. Here is some video as well, if the pictures don't suffice.
We headed back to the hotel, and had breakfast. After that, we contemplated what to do, bearing in mind that we had no interest in doing anything requiring any exertion. We decided on going back to Ned's Beach, and doing some fish feeding. The hotel gave us some bread, and we took the bag to Ned's. At the beach, we tried out the waterproof case we got for Crystal's camera a couple years ago. It's basically an air-tight plastic case that the camera fits within, and you can still use all of the buttons and functions. The case was bought with the intention of taking it to the base of Iguazu Falls, but this never happened. We used it once in South Georgia, but that was it. This was the first time it was getting a real workout. Crystal tossed food, and Justin put the camera under the water and aimed the camera as best as possible. It worked okay, but the fish were making such a ruckus the water wasn't very still at all. Some of the fish were huge, with the Kingfish being at least 3 feet long.
After we ran out of bread, we went down to Middle Beach, just south of Ned's but north of Blinky's, also on the island's east side. The beach was deserted - there was only one other couple there. The stairs down to the beach were killers on our quads, but the beach was worth it. Also good was the walk to and from the beach, through a Kentia forest that also had a number of Banyan trees, Ficus macrophylla var. columnaris.
We took a break from our tough day to have lunch in town. We asked for ideas at the hotel, and were told to check out either Thompson's or Humpty Mick's. Apparently there was no third option. We chose Thompson's, which had a burger bar where you could order food to go. Justin got a burger, Crystal got a bacon and egg roll, we both got "chips," and to drink we found cans with Gin & Tonic and Rum & Coke. We hauled our lunch down the street to the beach, and had lunch overlooking the beach and the lagoon. After lunch, we went to the museum. It had a lot of interesting factoids about the island's history, the plants, the animals, the fish, and basically anything else involving Lord Howe Island. For such a small museum on an island with so few people, it was surprisingly good.
When we got back to the hotel, they were cleaning our room, so we just got some rest on some of the outdoor couches they had on the grounds. We were like our dogs at home, moving back and forth between the sunny and shady spots as we got too hot or too cold. It was quite a bit warmer today, with much less wind. In the sun, it was very hot, even though the temperature was only in the low 70s. In the late afternoon, Crystal got a massage and Justin walked up and down the beach a bit, then set up our 7 for 7.
Australia was the last of the continents for us to visit, and to celebrate we came up with the idea of doing 7 shots for each of the 7 continents. We decided on Tequila for North America, Cachaca for South America, Gin for Europe, Vodka for Asia, Amarula for Africa, and Scotch for Antarctica (because that's what all the explorers drank when down there). Justin asked the bartender what Australian booze would be good, and she noted that there was only one bottle, the Bundaberg Rum. That made deciding what to use pretty easy. So at 5:30, we did our 7 shots, toasting to each continent as we went. The flavors of the respective drinks didn't mix particularly well, so we had some orange juice and water to drink if necessary in between shots. It ended up not beating us up as much as we thought it might - not sure what that says about us.
Dinner was quite good, and after dinner we spoke for awhile with Joanne and Barry (who were celebrating their 30th anniversary) about how Australians travel. Unlike Americans, Australians are expected to travel quite a bit, and travel quite far from Australia itself. Most Australians have seen more of the rest of the world than they have their own country. This got us thinking that we might be a bit Australian ourselves. Because we were up chatting, we made it almost to 10pm before we crashed.