[Fraser Island, 30 September 2004]

Linda and Stephen had arranged this all-day trip to Fraser Island so that I might have the day without the company of the children. As it happened, they gave themselves the same gift—for a half-day each. I was picked up by the tour driver early in the morning, then with a few others was driven to this protected national park in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. This was necessary, because there are no roads and the island consists entirely of sand. The goal of the day was a gorgeous rain-water lake (not fed by any streams, and the water is crystal clear), where folks could swim and play. I sunned a bit.

We ran into trouble right away. Our car couldn’t get through the sand to get onto the ferry. So everyone got out, and another beefy guy and I (with help from nearly everyone else among the passengers) pushed and pulled until we got going again. Almost immediately across the channel, the other car—bigger and heavier and more stuck—had the same problem, and it took the entire crew of beefy guys (we were all about the same age, and none of us had missed any meals) to get that pup back on track, and it looked as if it would be a long day on Fraser Island. But, it proved to be the last of our troubles, and we just drove dozens of miles along beaches (officially, the highway of the island) and sand dunes (much of which is covered with rain forest) to reach, first, the lake, then to return to the ferry and home. A barbeque along the way, and conversation with all my fellow travelers (all but one couple being Aussies) made it a memorable day.

The rainforest is home to several very valuable timber trees, and the area has been gracefully logged for decades. I think it has stopped for a while. I saw lots of examples of the pine trees that supplied the wood that comprises the circular staircase in the East Aloha home I once had in Seattle. I’d forgotten that said staircase had been shipped from Australia as part of a home renovation activity of the late 1980s.

The weather remains perfect, and not a hint of humidity.