A Weekend

24 August 2020

For most of my life I’ve lived in a place that most people go to for the weekend by ferry. It’s been about 3 weeks since I was in Sydney. Its been almost a year since I was travelling just with a backpack. In a moment of mixed homesickness and nostalgia I decided to go to Magnetic Island for the weekend.

Friday means saying goodbye to the car, slinging on the old backpack and wondering why the police boat we pass on the ferry to Magnetic Island has people wearing full hazard gear with masks.

Friday night at Base hostel means a couple of beers but being too tired from the past week to socialise at the hostel. The beach is bad but it’s got a bar on it which might make it ok. The bar closed at midnight but the party continued until about 3AM.

Saturday on the quieter east coast of the island means walking along the boulders that form the coastline and looking for wallabies which hide under the rocks. I met Emma (Colarado, US) and Elonie (North Italy). Somehow I managed to chat my way into a spare seat in their car. It wasn’t clear when the day ended and the night began. Drinking and smoking started when I got in the car. Our group of 5 ballooned to 20 as everyone who decided to go on a boat tour around the Whitsundays last week also decided to go to West Point for sunset.

Saturday night at Base hostel means a bigger party than normal at the bar. Especially in the smoking area where you can stand and wonder around between groups without fear of being told off. The police made a visit and didn’t seem to mind. In a sense you were in a smoking area whether you liked it or not; there was a fire on top of the mountain behind the hostel and smoke was blowing down from it all night.

Sunday morning on the walk up to the forts means pushing through a hangover.

Sunday night at Scallywags cafe means live music. Leni (or Lena) is the night’s performer and she does all original music. The Resort is a song about drugs, her grandfather dying and living in a bad apartment in Townsville. There’s probably more in there that I’ve either forgotten or missed out on since most of my energy went to getting through a burger that even the American said was big.

Roumain and I arrived at Scallywags by hitchhiking. Since we didn’t have any shirt or shoes on we were lucky to hop in the 5th car passing us. Our driver was a local. She grew up on “Maggie”, going to the primary school on the island then needing to catch the 20-minute ferry to town every day for high school. Now she avoids Townsville.

“People go to town for the big shop and all that. You’ll see everyone’s utes on the barge. Especially around Christmas. Otherwise… nah it’s too busy”

You could fit x Townsville into Sydney. The ferries of Sydney may be bigger than Townsville’s but both need to stop for the whales. Both locals complain about the resulting delays.

Monday means back to work. The car park at the ferry terminal is full. The weekend is over.