Saturday, 4 August 2012

Heron Island and the Proposal

July 20 – Heron Island
We woke up fairly early and left our little spot by the river to head into Gladstone. We stopped into Hungry Jacks for breakfast and I was able to Skype Mom and Dad. They seem to be doing well and things are looking good at the cottage. It had been awhile since we last Skyped. We chatted for a while then Beau and I had to go to catch our boat to Heron Island. This time we arrived at the harbour and checked in no problem. We paid for our trip at the tourist information center and only were charge $199/night about $120 c heaper than normal since we had had to reschedule our trip. We boarded the boat around 11am and hit the high seas. It was pretty windy and ride was a little rough but we made it in one piece about 2hrs later. Heron Island runs on “resort” time and is an hour ahead of the mainland. Once on the island we had a complimentary, non-alcoholic drink, and our welcome brief before we had lunch. Lunch was buffet style but delicious. We went to the Marine Center to get the down low on diving. It was a bit more expensive then we originally expected. There was a separate price equipment rental. It cost $65/day for dive gear and $65/dive. We decided we do two dives tomorrow so we'd only be charged for one day of gear hire. We got set up with dive kits and signed up for the 9am dive. We then hurried over to the information center where there was a reef walk going on. We grabbed some old sneakers and joined the group on the reef. The guide talked about sea cucumbers, sea stars, coral, crabs. We passed around some sea cucumbers and sea stars. He also managed to catch an epaulette shark which Beau had spotted. We was a really interesting walk and last about 2hrs. We headed back to shore and put on some warmer clothes. We hurried to catch the sunset but we had just missed it by the time we got to the bar. We bought a beer and took a few pictures of the lovely colours in the sky. We headed back to the room and I read while Beau played guitar for a little bit before dinner. Dinner was a three course meal and we both had seared scallops with bacon to start and a kangaroo fillet with sweet potato puree for dinner. The food was good but the service was a little slow and they forgot about our dessert. But we reminded them and I had a lemon-lime tart and Beau Vanilla Panacotta. The coffee is quite good and we enjoyed some brewed coffee with dessert. We took a tea to go and headed to the bar to listen to the live music for a bit. We played some a Jenga/Uno game which was pretty fun and then reclined on the couches for a bit. After the music had finished we were joined by an older Australian couple who wanted to catch the second half of a rugby game. Beau got into but I grabbed my book since I wasn't very interested. After the game we headed back to our room, had a shower and read for a bit more before bed.
Heron Island

Epaulette Shark

July 21 – The Perfect Day
Beau and I had set a 7:30am alarm so we could be up early for breakfast and have it fairly digested before we went diving at 9am. Breakfast was another buffet with eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles and much more. I was a little disappointed with the waffles they were like eggo and had to be toasted. I'm dying for real waffles! After breakfast we went back to the room and got our bathing suits on then headed down to the Marine Center. We struggled into our wetsuits and then waddles down to the jetty with our gear. We got our equipment set up and took a 2min boat ride to our dive site, Heron Bommie. There were 4 of us divers and 2 guides with us. As soon as we got in the water and down to depth our guide started tapping on his tank to point out a green sea turtle. A moment later he did it again and there was a white tipped reef shark. Again and there was a mantaray. Again and he pointed out a lion fish. It was like an amazing creature overload! We saw lots of other fishes and had an awesome 40min dive. The super thick wetsuit really helped keep me warmer although it did mess with my buoyancy. I had extra weight on but I was a little too heavy. We got back on the boat and were taken back to shore. Beau and I decided to go out on the 3pm dive so we could do some snorkeling around the island while it was high tide. We decided to hop in right away and snorkeled/drifted to around part of the island. We saw a sea turtle and lots of fish. Unfortunately we didn't see any lemon sharks that tend to hang around there. I was pretty cold by the time we got out and we went back to the room to rinse off. We sat by the pool for a little while suntanning before lunch time. Lunch was another awesome buffet and I tried not pig out too much. After lunch Beau was restless so went for a walk around the island while I sat and read. He came back around 2:30 and we got ready for another dive. This dive was at Coral Cascades just off the north of the island. It was another incredible dive with 2 types of turtles, a moray eel, a tiny pip fish, a huge lobster, a big white tip reef shark and tons of fishes. We also did some swim threws which were pretty sweet. Both dives today were pretty amazing. Back on the island we headed to our room and got showered up before heading to the bar. We got a beer and sat on some loungers writing up our dives. We chatted with a German couple for a little bit before someone came by claiming there were whales. We headed to the jetty but didn't see any whales but did get a beautiful sunset. We were both a little chilly by then from the wind so once the sun was gone we headed back to our room to put some pants on before dinner. Dinner was a seafood buffet and we pigged out. We also treated ourselves and bought a bottle of wine with dinner. We had crab, bugs, shrimp, muscles and oysters. I have to say I'm not that big on the oysters, they were okay but there is other seafood I'd much rather eat. We also had some really yummy dessert, there was cake with caramel sauce and strawberry mousse. Yum! We were both stuffed and had some of our bottle of wine left so we headed over to the bar to enjoy some live music. After the music had finished and we polished off our bottle we decided to head back to the room. Along the way Beau convinced me we should go down to the beach to look at the stars. We started to talking about how amazing our trip had been and how happy we both were travelling together. Before I knew it he was down on one knee asking me to be his life partner. Then he officially asked me to be his wife. Of course I said yes and he put a grass ring on my finger. (It wasn't actually grass more like a leafy needle thing obviously we'll get something a little more permanent when we get home). It was an amazing ending to an amazing day on an amazing trip. 

July 22 – Back to mainland
We slept in a bit compared to yesterday and were up around 8:30. We enjoyed a yummy breakfast before getting our room packed up. We left one bag on the doorstep for the porter to pick up then headed over to the reception to settle our bill. Afterwards we headed to the pool area and lounged around. I read my book and Beau played his guitar. We decided to go for a little walk about the island, Beau had done one yesterday but I hadn't. We put his guitar on the porter truck so we wouldn't have to worry/carry it about. We walked along the beach but as we came around the northern tip of the island the wind was raging so we opted to walk back through the center instead of the full perimeter. We was a nice albeit short walk. We ended back by the pool and lounge a bit more in the sunshine. Lunch time rolled around and we pigged out on our last meal. Before we knew it it was time to congregate at the jetty waiting for the boat to arrive. We took some pictures in the crazy wind then watched the Heron Islander bob into dock. We got loaded onto the boat and had a pretty rough ride back to land. I tried writing up but found it made me a little sea sick. So I had a nap instead. Once back in Gladstone we got our belongs and fired Dotti up. We picked up some groceries and returned a call about the van. We set up a meeting for tomorrow down on the Sunshine Coast. We drove about 100km out of Gladstone then pulled into a rest stop for the night. There was a well lit picnic area which aided us in making dinner. We passed the evening writing up and went to bed fairly early.
The Proposal Location

The type of tree my ring was made from

July 23 – Back to the Sunshine Coast
We awoke to another beautiful day. I called Mom and Dad after breakfast to tell them our awesome news and Beau gave his parents a call too. We started our drive down to the Sunshine Coast. We had said we'd be there about noon but that was a little optimistic. We stopped in Maryborough for lunch and to check our e-mails. We also got in touch with the woman we were supposed to meet and said it would be closer to 2pm. When we finally did hit the Sunshine Coast in a town called Coolroy it was about 2pm and we were about 20min for our destination. The check battery light came on again.... crap. We pulled into a mechanics and they had a quick inspection. Sounded like the alternator was about to go kaput. The owner called around and could get one in for us tomorrow. We just couldn't believe that when we were about to show the van the alternator went. We figure it's due to our battery issues from last week and the alternator getting over worked. We told the mechanic we'd see him in to morning then head slightly out of town to a rest stop. We also rescheduled to show the van tomorrow. At the rest stop I gave Elaine a call to tell her our good news and we had a little chat since we haven't talked in ages. The rest of the afternoon/evening passed with writing up, reading and guitar.

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