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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Great Keppel Island

The entire time we lived in Yeppoon everyone told us that we MUST go to the island.That it is the hidden gem of Australia. Well everyone was right. After our 3 month stay at the Coral Inn Resort, the girls and I took a 3-day mini vacation to Great Keppel Island. The island is located right off the coast of Yeppoon and is part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Blessed with sunshine, white sand beaches, and no job obligations, we spent three days soaking up the sun, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. 

We took the ferry from Keppel Bay Marina, Yeppoon, which took us directly to the Island. The island, even more beautiful than I had anticipated, has a few hostel resorts, a couple of private homes, and one restaurant. We stayed at the Holiday Village Hostel, which has a combination of backpacker rooms, private cabins, and private tents. We stayed in the backpacker room but if I ever make it back I'm staying in a tent; they were just so cool! There's no air conditioning, hardly any electricity, and definitely no wifi. We kept time by following the sun, and it felt amazing to be unplugged



Holiday Village Accomodation

Our days were spent on the beach, sun bathing, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. The water was a magnificent turquoise blue and very clear. You could see straight to the bottom of the ocean! Late afternoon, during low tide, we snorkeled and saw tons of fish, large and small, sting rays, star fish, and coral. The sting rays like to lay in the sand and when you get near one it will scatter out of the sand and swim away, normally. But Danielle accidentally stepped on one because they are nearly impossible to see. We all freaked out for a moment because that is the only time they will sting you. But luckily that didn't happen! We saw a starfish with 8 legs! I've never seen one so big before. It was amazing how comfortable the fish were around us. While some would immediately swim away, others floated around us. Some fish were so white/clear that you could lose them quickly until the sun made them shimmer. We saw a Dory, teeny tiny turquoise fish, large brown and yellow, and everything in between. 

(We decided to save our scuba diving for a bigger trip to Carins.)

I clearly got the technique down.



















The evenings consisted of sitting on the beach front, drinking a Keppel Sunset, eating fresh fish, and playing cards. Even Danielle had a Pina Colada! She was tipsy after one drink and we were all happy on life. We got to watch the sun set over our little Yeppoon and enjoy the ocean breeze. On our walks back to our bunks we star gazed. I'm still in awe over the abundance of stars you can see in Australia.

 
 


The best part about the island is it's exclusivity! At most there were a handful of people on the beach. It felt like were were on our very own private island. There are no roads or sidewalks, sand is everywhere! I constantly smelled like salt, sweat, and sunscreen and loved every second of it. Salty beach waves and sunburnt lips were inevitable. I'm 100% positive that I doubled the amount of freckles on my body. And everyone on the island, you know all 50 of them, is happy. I highly recommend Great Keppel Island. It is truly a hidden gem that you need to take advantage of. 


Xx






Sunday, 9 November 2014

Life in Poon Town

Yikes, it's been a while since I last updated my life here in Yeppoon. And I apologize for the sexual innuendo title, but really there had to be one joke regarding "Yeppoon."

Here's what you've missed:

Recently, we visited the Koorana Crocodile Farm - thanks in part to the free tickets we received from Tom and Gabi. To be honest I wasn't' all that excited to visit a croc farm but hey it was free so "why not?" (And yes, in case you were wondering I am singing Hilary Duff's hit single "why not" in my head and it has become a bit of a theme song for us!) BUT the croc farm was pretty exciting and I learned a lot of useful information, which of course I will share with you all because your lives may depend on it one day.

1. I always heard that running in a "zig-zag" formation will help you escape them faster because they run in straight lines...WRONG VERY WRONG. Crocs are smart and pick up on patterns. If you go left, right, left, they KNOW your next move. 

2. DO NOT RUN UP A TREE. Not that I could do that anyway. But for those who are a bit more athletic than I, a crocodile will wait 6-12 months (depending on sex) for you to return to land. 

3. They are extremely territorial and protective of their kin. Their nests look like small mounds, generally close to small patches of water.

4. They can control their blood flow, WOW! If a part of their body is wounded they can stop the blood flow to that area so they don't bleed out. Pretty cool.

So, if you ever encounter a fresh water or salt water croc or think they may be one in the water (since water is like an invisibility cloak for them) there are 2 things you should do. 1) Panic. It jump starts your adrenaline which helps in step two. 2) Run fast exactly the way you entered. 


Other than the fact that crocs will eat you alive, they are pretty sweet animals. They have the purest, leanest meat and their coats are literally worth thousands of dollars. 

Unfortunately, Yeppoon isn't that hoppin' but luckily we live 5 minutes from the beach and have a pool at our disposal 24 hours a day. Sometimes I forget that it is only spring time here when our days are averaging 88* and we don't have air conditioning. The pool keeps us sane and cool. On Tuesdays we go the the Cinemas for half priced movies. Everyone MUST see FURY. It was amazing. Brad Pitt and Shia Labouf's performances were Oscar worthy in my eyes. They have a mini car called Bruno that we are allowed to use regularly and we love taking long drives along the coast and seeing the rural side of Australia. 

The Jehle's have us over for Sunday dinners, which is pretty awesome. They are amazing cooks and it means that we get to eat real food. Lots of fish and fresh veggies and salads! Mostly I'm just in salad heaven.


Lobster Dinner
This was perfect for me because I'm already the messiest eater and I wasn't required to use silverware. Although, I made a mental note to never go on a lobster dinner date. 

I'm pretty lucky to be on this trip with Danielle and Kayce because they also share my love for reading and movie watching. AND the Jehle's have over 1,000 movies to choose from. Literally. On nights that we man the reception area is the best because it's a movie marathon and puppy snuggle session. 

On more recent news, I got inked (mom and dad that means I got a tattoo, sorry). Danielle, Kayce, and I got matching triangle tats. It's small and black and kind of makes me want to get another. But don't freak Carol, that won't happen anytime soon. I'm poor. 





 We have 2 more weeks left in Yeppoon before we start our next travels. I couldn't be more excited to see move on and see more. Our stay at Coral Inn has been good but (prepare yourself for a short rant) I'm a firm believer that proper training for a job makes a huge difference. Unfortunately, we were not trained at all to run the Inn. The owners constantly leave out seriously vital information and we are left to pick up the scraps. At first, I blamed it on the language barrier. But honestly, they speak really good English. Customer service is never an easy job but I've had lots of experience with it in the past, with proper training. Often times we are left to do reception/check-in with little to no direction about the customer needs, specific wants, or how much they have prepaid by using a booking agency. And so it seems, without fail, that every time we do check-in something weird and unexpected happens, which we were never prepared for. Or it gets really awkward when they forget to tell us a room to clean and then we show a new customer a dirty room... We were slightly warned by the couple who worked here before us and decided to take it upon ourselves to write a manual to help out the next workers. End rant. 

This, however, has nothing to do with how wonderful they are to us. They treat us like family, and their son, Elvis (pretty awesome name) considers us one of his best friends. We are lucky girls. 

Next on our travel agenda:

Nov. 23 - Our last day working at Coral Inn
Nov. 24-27 - Great Keppel Island to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef
Nov. 27 - Fly to Melbourne first to stay with a friend of a friend who is graciously allowing us to crash and celebrate Thanksgiving with them!
Dec. 1 - Move across to the West side of Melbourne to Jacqueline's and start our new job (working 2 hours for accommodation). She is an independent film maker currently producing a documentary!
Jan 14 - Fly to New Zealand for 2 weeks and a farewell to Kayce :(
February - Sydney!

Lots to look forward!

Xx

Meghan