Ah, Mission Beach.
It seems like an absolute lifetime ago that I rocked up here with my Mum fully intending to only stay for two nights. Thankfully my banana picking job in Tully fell through and I ended up making this beautiful place my permenant base for a few months. Even though I've spent time in many other places in Aus this still feels like the closest thing I'll get to coming home.
I'd spent the previous month telling the guys how amazing a place it was and I was slightly worried I'd bigged it up way too much... But my hopes were unfounded, and we all left for Cairns feeling like if we'd picked up jobs while we'd been there we wouldn't have left!
The second we arrived at the Mission Beach Retreat (my old home on two seperate occasions) we were welcomed in by Richard and Anthea the hostel owners, and their very cute dog Gilly. After saying our hellos we went on a food and booze run and got chatting to Adam the new hostel bus driver.
That evening Helen, Dave, Becki and I headed to the beach to see if we could catch another moon rise. Unfortunately there were low clouds on the horizon so we saw more of a moon peep show, being tantalised with slivers of brightness without revealing anything much at all. We didn't mind, and had one of those excellent chats about life, the universe and everything until we were reminded that our alarms were set for 6am the next day........
That's right - it was time for Becki, Dave and Hannah to throw themselves out of a perfectly good plane! Happily they were also jumping with our friend Clem.
I was very pleased that Becki was getting to jump with my friend Dawson, and Hannah with the guy who took me for my first jump - Des!
Although some people were more nervous than others (....!!) soon Helen and I were waving off the guys hoping we'd see them again soon.
Well there was of course no need to worry - these guys are pros hardly anyone ever dies.
And look how happy everyone is to be alive!
After all the excitement we needed some beach time but soon became embroiled with a coconut war, with each of us trying to split one open.
Thankfully we (eventually...) all succeeded. There's something a bit awesome about drinking coconut water right out of a freshly opened shell on a tropical beach.
Realising that we'd maybe collected a few too many coconuts we improvised...and thus began the 2013 coconut olympics.
(I won the prize for biggest coconuts, obvs)
See, who needs a tv?
Dave and Becki were the only participants in the gymnastics round and were duly awarded both bronze, silver and gold.
Deciding that the only kind of fun is organised fun Helen and I went and pre-built a fire on the beach before showering and heading over to my old place of work Zenbah. Drawn by cheap alcohol ($3 for a gin? Yes!) and also to catch up with my old friend Pete. We were more than happy to drink, eat pizza and chat with everyone until the lure of a beach fired pulled us away...
Having a bonfire on the beach is something you have to do here, and we were joined by almost the entire hostel all enjoying our work! My good friend Luke came along and we enjoyed chilling out and watching the moon rise again. I felt very lucky to be with some of my favourite people in my absolute favourite place.
Somehow it ended up being 2am and we found ourselves on Luke's patio with many empty wine bags... Deciding to call it a night we practically rolled down the hill to the hostel, all agreeing that we really didn't want to leave the next day...
...and so we didn't.
We booked in for another night and we chilled out; I even got to go out on Luke's boat for a bit of a fish! I didn't catch anything but still had fun.
That night we had another bonfire and reflected on the last four weeks. Holiday time was nearly over and none of us wanted to face reality any time soon.
Mission beach was a great way to finish off our trip. I'd say we saved the best until last but every single stop has been a highlight in it's own way.
My only regret? I've still not seen a Cassowary. I just refuse to believe that they actually exist now.
Next stop: Reality, or as much of a reality as you can have in Cairns...