Earlier this week, I got to visit the Strand in Townsville and wrote about how postcard perfect it was. While it was beautiful, and incredible to walk along Australian beaches for the firs time, it was not quite how I had always imagined the beaches of Australia would look like. The beach along the Stand is developed right up to the very edge. I longed to see wide open beaches like I am used to back home in Astoria, Oregon here on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I told myself to just be patient. I had only seen about a mile out of hundreds and hundreds of coast line here in AU.
I got to visit Magnetic Island for the first of many times today. And yes, the beaches on Maggie, as locals endearingly refer to the island, are like the beaches I have always dreamed I would see in Australia.
With my snorkel gear in tow, I caught the ferry mid-morning with about 60 of my peers and enjoyed a gorgeous 20 minute boat ride over to Maggie. The water here in AU is incredibly blue. Sometimes, its so blue, it makes the sky look pale in comparison.
Once we off-loaded from the ferry, we rode a bus over to Horseshoe Bay, which is the main bay on Maggie. There are some restaurants and bars across the street from the bay and a few picnic tables and a public grill closer to the beach. But the beach itself is wide open and stretches for two miles from one end to the other.
As my friends and I picked a place to lay out our blankets and towels for the afternoon, one of them commented in concern about being too close to the water. I assured them that being a good 30 feet (or more, estimating distances is not by best skill) from the water would allow us plenty of time to move our blankets if need be, even though I thought it unlikely. I also told them that I was fairly certain the tide was going out, but being that these are new friends, at times it can be easier to just accommodate their wishes rather than keep stating the contrary when I believe differently.
As soon as my spot on the beach was claimed, I was off to go see what I could find at the water’s edge. I saw all sorts of creatures that I hope to learn how to better ID while I am here. Some of the creatures that I am able to generally ID include washed up sea stars, sea snails, so many hermit crabs, and other types of crabs. Since I am a tactile learner, I prefer to learn in very hands-on ways. This personality trait means that I like to pick things up and look at them. While beach combing along the Australian coast where there are many poisonous things, ranging from large to very, very small; so this is a trait that I struggled to control and needed to keep reined in as there are many dangerous things within arm’s reach. I just wanted so badly to see what all of the shells looked like from all angles!
I did find a large variety of shells and coral throughout the day that I love quite a lot.
After getting a light snack for lunch, I went on a hike guided by a JCU staff member to a near by bay called Radical Bay. I wanted to take advantage of learning the trails to other bays on the island while I had a local here to show me the way. During the hike, I looked for wild koalas in the trees, but did not see any. I prefer Radical Bay over Horseshoe Bay because it has fewer people, due to the fact it must be hiked to. It is still quite large and has water just as warm to swim in and just as many shells to search for. Once I returned to Horseshoe Bay, it was obvious that the tide had gone out quite a lot. When I left for the hike, I did not have the forward thinking to realize that the out going tide would mean less water to snorkel in. Thus, by the time I got back, it was too shallow to snorkel. But that’s okay, I am positive that I will snorkel at Maggie another day soon, and when that day comes, I will think of the tide sand be sure to prioritize snorkeling. About this time the bus was heading back to Uni with anyone who did not want to stay for the rest of the day. When my friends and I first arrived, we were all in agreement that we wanted to stay all day. But when the time came, they changed their minds. Thankfully, I was able to convince one of them to stay, and in the end we were both very happy with the decision.
We knew that we wanted to obviously watch the sunset from the beach. Since we had a few hours to enjoy until then, we walked the entire length of Horseshoe Bay. It took quite a while because I was walking along with my eyes glued to the sand. I sort of felt like an ostrich with my head stuck in the ground, but I made sure to stop and look around at the gorgeous view that surrounded me as well.
I decided that if I could choose, this house would be my HGTV dream house. It truly has unbeatable views and couldn’t be closer to the beach!
We timed our walk perfectly and found a top-notch spot to watch the sun set over numerous sail boats in the bay. I heard that skippers offer people free sails on Saturdays, so I hope to be able to go for a sail here some day.
The sunset itself was nothing short of stunning. The longer we watched, the more beautiful it got. Today while exploring Maggie, I found myself thinking about how at home I felt, about how much I can imagine this actually being home someday.
After sunset, Milan and I went to get dinner. I wanted to order prawns, but they were out when I ordered. The waiter recommended the shrimp spring roles instead, so I went ahead and said yes. When they arrived, they were not what I expected, but they tasted alright.
After dinner, Milan and I star gazed down on the beach. Facing the ocean you could see numerous navigation lights from all of the boats in the bay. They looked like stars reflecting off the water. When the bus came, it was time for Milan and I to say good night to Maggie. We had an easy time getting back to Uni and arrived around 9:30pm. I am so thankful that I was able to spend my first of many days on the beaches of Magnetic Island, which truly does look like the beaches of my Australian dreams.