Journal of Dan T. Cook - Fly Fishing the Globe
Traveling 75,000 miles around the world in search of fish and friendship.
December 16, 2006 - Location: Surfers Paradise, Queensland Australia
After hanging out in Airlie Beach and being slowly consumed by Sand Flies, I packed up and headed south to Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. Traveling on the East Coast of Australia is a breeze compared to the West Coast. Besides the numerous towns in which to stop and sight-see, there are plenty of road side stands selling fresh fruit and veggies. Heck, I even splurged and hit a Baskin-Robbins!
First I took the ferry over to Fraser Island for a couple of days of exploring. Fraser is the world's largest sand island and is remarkable for its flora and its beautiful beaches, which also serve as the primary thoroughfares. Although I'm sure the forest/jungle tracks are a real treat for the dedicated arborist, I found them to be a bit boring. The sight of a Scribby gum or wallum banksia can only provoke an uninspired eyebrow raise from the unappreciative. Anyway, the beaches more than made up for this lack of excitement.
Among the interesting sights is the wreck of the former luxury liner "Maheno," which washed up on the beach in 1935 by an out-of-season cyclone while it was being towed to Japan. 71 years of sand and salt water has reduced it to a grotesque hulk of rust. Smartly, the Australian military also used it as target practice for a few years too. I reckon that may have contributed to its condition.
Fraser Island was a surprisingly delightful side-trip. Flying along on the beach was a unique and entertaining venture. As I approached vehicles, more often than not the driver would turn on his left turn signal to indicate that he or she is going to stay on the left side of you, just like on the roadways. It seemed to me that staying to the left would be the normal course of action. I guess they just wanted to reassure oncoming traffic that they hadn't completely lost their marbles or were going to take this opportunity to practice for a trip to the right-hand world.
On the 13th I met up with Nat Bromhead in Hervey Bay. Nat runs Salt Water Flyfishing Adventures guide service. I could tell when I got on the boat that Nat had a great day of fishing planned for me. We motored up to one of the "money" spots about an hour from the harbor, and despite our efforts to find some fish, it appeared to be deserted. As this is a very rare occurrence, we loitered for a bit before accepting the obvious notion that we were out of luck. It was then that I related my rather dismal record for guided salt water trips. After my story about spending over 80 hours on the ocean in a futile search for marlin did Nat begin to understand the "Cook Saltwater Curse." Refusing to be beaten, Nat crossed the entire Bay to another spot. It was also looking bleak when suddenly we couldn't cast without getting a Tea Leaf Trevally!!!! Tea Leaf's are a very, very close facsimile of a Giant Trevally, yet I was assured there are subtle differences. Anyway, we had a blast for over an hour. We landed fish after fish till we couldn't take it anymore. It took a cruise of over 100 nautical miles, but the day had been saved!
I'd like to thank Nat for his persistence and patience. If you are traveling to the Hervey Bay area, I can unequivocally recommend Nat. He can be reached through his informative website, www.saltwaterflyfishing.com.au.
As this is my last update before the New Year (it's 2007 already?), I'd like to thank everyone who has assisted me during my stay in Australia. I'd also like to thank everyone who tunes into our adventures on this website. Finally, a big "THANK YOU" to my family and friends! Without you this journey wouldn't be possible.
Happy Holidays and have a happy, healthy and successful 2007!!!!