Thursday, 24 January 2008

I made it

On my last night on Magnetic Island, by pure chance and at the very convenient* time of 7pm, I learned that the roads leading South along the coast were closed due to flooding. That in itself wouldn't have meant anything in other circumstances, but in this particular situation I needed to get to Airlie Beach the following day, for my boat was sailing in the morning.

That marked the beginning of some frenetic hours of useless phone calls, quick internet research and heavy thinking under pressure. I was stressed as ever, but it was great fun. I learned that both the Greyhound and the Premier had cancelled their services, that the trains weren't running either, and there was no direct or indirect flight from Townsville to the Whitsundays.

I felt a bit like Phileas Fogg, stranded and running against time. Short of riding an elephant through the jungle and flying in a baloon, I did think of:

1. Hitchiking. Some guy must have been bold slash crazy enough to drive through the water. I had heard that 4WDs with snorkels had made it through, which gave me hope.
2. Sailing. Someone must have been headed in that direction, or would have been happy to take me there for a heavy sum. It was 270km over water, possibly sailable on the same day, even on a rough sea.
3. Renting a car. Same as #1, with me in the role of the bold slash crazy guy. Same as #2, though, I needed someone to share the costs.

The next morning I woke up early to the sound of the gale blowing and breaking branches. Made some more useless phone calls from a payphone and ended up completely soaked in the process. Left the island through the storm, with zero visibility, on a ferry that doubled as a rollercoaster, jumping two meters in the air with every crashing wave.

Once on shore, I teamed up with six other castaways, camped in front of the Greyhound counter to make pressure on them, and meanwhile tried to rent a couple of cars. After much research and many phone calls, the only guys who had cars available decided at the last moment that they wouldn't allow us to drive to Airlie Beach because it was "cut off". Just when I was about to set off, first to try my luck at the Marina, then to get a taxi to the highway and stick out my thumb, the woman at Greyhound came to us and announced that they would charter a bus just for us.

We celebrated. No confetti or crazy party tweeters, but the same feeling pumping into our hearts.

The journey was quite uneventful, except for two spots where the flooding was more serious. And even there, the water on the road reached 25cm at its highest, which is ridiculous. Admittedly, a few overturned trucks and some stranded cars in the middle of a sugar cane plantation hinted that, at some previous point, the flooding was severe.

The bottom line is, I made it. I wasn't able to put into practice any of my fancy schemes, but it was fun fantasizing anyhow. Next time I know my range of options will be broader from start.

*Completely inconvenient. There was no way to contact anyone, everything was closed.


dacoGahh said...

Fuu tio joder , yo creia k por hay seria la epoca de veranito , no del momzon , ni siquiera creia k por esas latitudes los hubiera tambien , pero pese a las visicitudes pudistes con el tiempo , jo no te imagino en plan sr. fog con bombin y todo , mas bien cocodrilo "dany" , k el gorro ya lo tienes y no pienso hacer chistes sobre tu cuchillo , k kedaria muy gay jeje ;P kuidate y k no te extresen
Pd good luck look ;)

maw said...

You've got a point there!!! But it's not for the first time in the history of modern travel: Even Richard Ballooney Branson was almost tempted to give up - though,well, it was because of the Chinese, not the flood. And it was because they wouldn't let him in, not out...

Tobias said...

Por la republica, of course! It is a pitty that you couldn't go tribal. Anyway, I heard of the monsoon falls along the eastcoast and was trying to call you for getting some information about your traveling. Luckily, masterman has a block, but no reception...

However, I am flattered that you mentioned me once in your blog, of course. What's about you? Aren't you happy of people who think about you once again, or wants you to smile or feel happy leaving a comment?

Honestly, I am just flowing through your blog. It is absolutely understandable as well as easy to read. I relish your words, your english - quite good language, good kind of writing. I am a bit jealous...yeah I am.

Let's keep contact, really enjoy yourself, and the traveling through NZ. I try to fix my blogger webpage. It's time to write in english as well, isn't it? Do you wanna understand anything of my bloody words?

Ey gonya.

Yiyi said...

Ciclones e inundaciones, veo que caes en los sensacionalismos con tal de conseguir post en tu blog. Arrrr!

MakurA said...

Eso, eso! Sensacionalista! =P

Juer, este viae sí que lo vas a tener que comentar a la vuelta, cacho perro! Debo pillarte pronto, antes de que estés hasta los cojones de contar la misma batallita mil veces xDDD

A seguir espameando ^.^'

PS. "ylmyiid" En serio tío, esto es un coñazo... v_v
PS. Y encima siempre fallo alguna vez. "lxxkpvh"