After making a last minute decision to move back to England I made a mad dash up the coast to tick off some things on my bucket list. When I was young I visited my grandparents in Australia and we went to Tin Can bay. It's a tiny town where a family of Australian Humpback dolphins have been visiting a local cafe since the 1950's to be fed. Unfortunately on that morning we visited, al those years ago, the dolphins did not arrive and I never got the feed them. I thought I'd try my luck again - this time it was a success and i got to hand feed a wild dolphin! Bucket list item number two was to see the hatching at Mon Repos Turtle Centre in Bundaberg. Wild turtles come on to this particular patch of beach that is protected by Mon Repos and you can pay to visit the centre in hopes of catching a glimpse of the eggs hatching. It's a waiting game and pure luck if you are there on a night when hatching begins. The centre volunteers wait on the beach observing the nests and if they see movement they will bring a small group down to the beach to see the magic happen. It wasn't long before my group was called to the beach and we were watching hundreds of tiny turtles emerge from the sand and scuttle down into the sea under the moonlight. Magical!
After working her way up the East Coast of Australia we were reunited in the place I had come to call home - Brisbane. I got to share the simple pleasures of why I love living in this beautiful small city on the river - We rode bikes along Southbank, had a picnic in the Botanic Gardens, drank cocktails, watched the sun set from Kangaroo Point Cliffs and lazed by the pool.
I was so excited for this girl to land in Australia I couldn't help but fly straight down to Sydney to meet her! Being reunited with one of my best friends back in the city where my adventure began was too emotional and there I found myself welling up in a loud backpacker bar hugging her to death. After hitting the tourist spots in the city on day one, we were lucky enough to be taken out by our gracious hosts on their boat the next day. A BBQ on the balcony followed by an evening dip in the pool ended the perfect weekend.
I spent a lot of time researching and planning an itinerary for a trip we were taking to Bali on my Birthday, so I was pretty disappointed when a volcanic ash cloud began disrupting flights 2 weeks before my birthday. I stayed hopeful that it would clear up and we would be on our way but that didn't happen.
Instead we got offered alternate flights to somewhere we never would have imagined going! Longer flight times meant we didn't get very long on the island, but we definitely made the most of our time in Samoa. We swam in a waterfall, an ocean trench and with giant clams (which was a bit terrifying), hand fed turtles from a basket of local papayas and had dinner while we watched the sun go down over the ocean followed by an evening full of cocktails. Definitely a birthday to remember.