Jan 28

I Licked A Bug on Whitehaven Beach

We’re sailing the Whitsunday’s and have a leisurely stop at Whitehaven Beach. But first we have a little hike so we can get overhead views of Whitehaven Beach, the 2nd? most photographed spot in Australia.
On our hide our guide stopped for a bit when he saw a bug he wanted us to lick.  Yes, you read that right. I wish I could remember the name of the bug, but since I’m not going to be looking for one again, I’m not worried.
Anyway, the aboriginals were very efficient at using every bit of, well, everything, including bugs. This particular bug has a part of it that has a citrus taste to it – they were used to make a soup for when the aboriginals sick. I guess vitamin C was known to the aboriginals before we named in vitamin C.
There weren’t any volunteers, but one of the girls stuck her tongue out and our guide taped it to her tongue and the look on her face was priceless.  She went from shock and horror to, that actually tasted good.  Slowly our group of 16 all “licked” the bug. I wouldn’t do it again, but I’m glad I tried.
After that we went to the beach for a few hours.  We had wear our stinger suites, which is kind of weird and seems to take away part of the benefit of being on a beach, but death sucks too.  While we were there we looked for fish and even saw a lemon shark as well as some sting rays.
The sand on Whitehaven Beach is actually silica and does not store heat so it’s actually a regular temperature, none of that, “oww, hot, oww” as you hop around the beach.  Unfortunately silica reflects the sun like crazy so you have to be extra careful about sunblock here. I did a really good job, I missed a couple little spots or had the sunblock rubbed off – nothing serious.  But I totally missed my lips and let me tell you.  You MUST, MUST wear sunblock, my lips were swollen and stuff for days!

Jan 21

Hotel Review – Executive Hotel Pacific – Seattle

My friend and on a late summer trip to Seattle stayed at the Executive Hotel Pacific in downtown Seattle
When we booked the hotel all look great, good location, amenities, etc.  Right before the trip my friend and was checking things out again and noticed that the hotel was under construction and that there were complaints about the elevators being slow and noise from the work.  She called the hotel and requested a room away from the elevator.
Of course when we checked in we were awarded a room directly in front of the one working elevator. Tired and worn out, my friend did go and complain, but we couldn’t be moved until the following night, but in return would get a bigger room. In the end, there was some noise, but nothing too crazy and our bigger room was nicer with two of us in it.
As for the rest of the hotel.  The rooms tended to have odd shapes and layouts, which is actually something I appreciate, it gives each room a unique feel to it.  The beds were comfortable, the furniture was good and the service was good. The room thing was annoying, but they did do their best to rectify the situation.
The elevator was slow, and actually they completed one elevator and started the new one while we were there, my guess is that both are done now and normal operations continue.
The hotel had a nice cafe attached, good for breakfast in the morning or an ice cream in the afternoon. However, the room could have used more plugs in it, hopefully that’s part of the refurbishment.
Would I stay here again, YES! For the price, location and amenities, the hotel was a good value and offered all we needed.  Another friend visiting in the city stayed in another section and in a cheaper hotel and had no air conditioning and there was a bit of a heat wave for Seattle. We did NOT have that problem and is an easy thing to miss when staying in a hotel in a cooler climate.

Jan 14

Fraser Island, Australia

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. I’ll admit it, I didn’t know there were even that many of them, or that they would be that big and beautiful.  I’ll also admit I was confused by all the trees – it’s a sand island, why are there so many trees?

I never answered any of those questions, but Fraser Island is beautiful.

Of course anything worth seeing is hard to see and Fraser Island is no exception.  You’ll need to take a ferry from Maryborough (2 hours or so north of Brisbane). I believe there is another ferry point and severely limited flight options, but I was more confused the more I looked into it.

Lake McKenzie

So what does the island look like?  It’s covered in very tall trees with sand tracks to drive 4×4’s on.  There are two resort areas that I saw and both were designed to blend into the environment of the island.  There are also lakes a long and gorgeous beach – 75 Mile Beach.

The brush of Fraser Island

What to do on the island?  Most people do a 4×4 tour of the island, but the 4×4’s weren’t what I expected… It was a big bus on giant 4×4 wheels.  That sand roads make for a VERY bumpy ride, probably the craziest ride I’ve even taken, kids will LOVE it! It rained the night we arrived, which made the road much more drivable.  Our guide said they were constantly getting stuck the last two weeks because of the soft sand.

On our 1 day tour we visited Lake McKenzie, it was a bit cloudy and not as pretty as the pictures promise when we were there in the morning, but we also got out of there before the crowds, which made it much more fun for us.  We also did a nature hike and of course a ride along 75 mile beach.

Flying over Fraser Island

On 75 mile beach we saw the Maheno (a ship wreck pronounced Minnow – I’m not kidding) and had the opportunity to do a beach takeoff and landing flight of the island.  Apparently there are only 2 places in the world to do this. I’m always up for a special activity that is unique to a location so of course I spend the $75 to do the flight!  Was it worth it?  Well the flight was short, but I never would have gotten a realistic view of how large the island is and how it looks so tremendously different from above.  It’s one of those things where if you’re on a budget, it may not be worth it, but if you have a bit more money, there is something to be said for taking off and landing on a beach.

The Maheno on 75 Mile Beach