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Magnetic from TownsvilleSo Magnetic Island was named for the fact that the island itself, interfered Captain James Cook’s compass as he drew close to shore. Although it was found that the island does not have any magnetic properties, strictly speaking, it does manage to draw thousands of visitors each year. I haven’t been gone from the beautiful island more than a few days and I already want to go back!
Stacey, Pete and I had a great night in Townsville after meeting up in Airlie Beach and driving North. We enjoyed snacks on the 12th story deck of our hotel, a margarita or two, and late-night pizza after dancing to some smooth 80’s hits. I like Townsville! It’s considered the largest city in the tropical North and the whole of the waterfront has been converted from Mangroves to a beautiful park, beach and walkway.
The next day we would be heading over to Magnetic Island. This was to be a guaranteed highlight of traveling with Stacey and Pete. They not only met there more than ten years ago, Pete lived there for two years, and we were going to meet up with a few of their old friends. It was sunny and we caught the half-hour car ferry over.

Topless and Pink
First stop: Tropical Topless – a moke rental place, owned by Rob, a friend of Stacey and Pete’s. Rob has been in business for nine years or so, and he’s got about 40 cars in his fleet. He’s kind and friendly and fits in really well on Magnetic. These vehicles are perfect for cruising the island – small, fuel efficient, and, well…. topless! There is about 13km of road from one end of the island to the other, so it’s a bit far to walk, but you definitely don’t need anything too big. The Townsville/ Magnetic Island area claims 320 days of nice weather per year, so topless is the way to go 😉

After an introduction and a catch up, we head to our hotel… I guess it’s more like little townhouses or maybe condos – something inbetween. A nice little place with a kitchen and a salt-water pool. We chilled for a bit and then headed over to some friends of Stacey and Pete. Although we were all feeling a little drained we managed to find ourselves at a full-moon party. This is a monthly staple at the Base X Backpackers and there are hundereds of people at every party. The thing I couldn’t get over: it WASN”T a full moon. No one seemed to care, but it was hard not to think of the whole thing as a mony-grab. Luckily we had free tickets (thanks Rob) so we didn’t have to think of the swindle as we danced.

Didn’t stay too long there, but I’m glad I got to see what it was all about. It’s actually a full moon tonight, as I write this, and we are heading to a dinner party, so we’ll make sure we toast the moon, in all its glory.

All-in-all we spent three nights and four days on the island. We had planned for less but couldn’t tear ourselves away. Stacey and Pete caught up with friends and I made some new ones. We had managed to come down with colds so we relaxed a lot. Stacey and I had had ours a few days (I couldn’t dive in the Whitsundays because I couldn’t equalize) and Pete was just starting to feel the wrath. We snorkeled and swam and hiked and picnic-ed. On our last night we had a bbq on the beach. Food tastes better outside, that’s a scientific fact.

The ferry boat rideI think I will try my best to get back to Maggie Island. It’s so laid-back and friendly. After only a couple of days it already felt a bit like home.

Speaking of home, I found out while I was on the island that the boys back home managed to take the cup. The Boozehounds won their division!! You guys rock! I’m so proud of you all and I’m celebrating with you in spirit. I know you guys won the cup for Rusty and he would be so proud – I know he is.

I really miss home, but I know that I would still feel that overwhelming-sense-of-loss if I was back in Victoria – maybe more so, as I would be surrounded by reminders of all that we’ve been through; the life we created.  I don’t think anything can fill the gap, but it’s nice to be able to explore and find the good in new places and new people.  I’m lucky to have a wonderful community and family to come home to; it would be an entirely different journey without the security of home… I just have to have some time to get used to home without its main component.

Theme Songs of the Day:

Wave of Mutilation (the slow version) – The Pixies, from the album Complete ‘B’ Sides
I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles, from the album Please Please Me
Liar – Built to Spill, from the album You in Reverse

Stacey and Jill

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