Steve and I departed New South Wales for Queensland’s Gold Coast, with its tropical beaches, stunning sea, and lush foliage. Lush foliage means rain, and it has rained here as much as the sun has shone. Theme parks abound for holidaymakers like us, but we came with one goal in mind: to enjoy the Australian beaches. This has been our most relaxing stop so far. Rather than being tourists taking in the sights of a busy city, we’ve divided our time between the ocean, our pool, and diving under rooves to take cover when the skies have opened up. Consequently, we’ve read a great deal since we’ve come here, and we’re very glad we thought to bring a few books each.
The lifeguards here are all volunteers and are commonly referred to as “surf lifesavers.” I suppose that’s because they regularly have to dive in and save some poor bloke from drowning. They move red and yellow flags up and down the shore, marking the safe area where you are allowed to swim. If you swim outside these flags, the rip currents will drag you out to sea where the sharks will feast on you. It’s been funny to watch Steve start at one flag, and within five minutes get swept to the other flag – 100 meters away. Today the warning was for Marine Stingers. These jellyfish appear purple in the sea and look like clear plastic bubbles when they’re washed up on the sand. The lifesavers told us, “No worries. These guys won’t kill you instantly. Not today. They’ll just sting like blazes. Go on, mate.”
Tomorrow we will visit our good friends and former Berkeley students from my Campus Crusade days, Dave and Leanne. Dave is a pastor at Grace Bible Church in Brisbane. Hopefully we can post some photos from their house. I only get 12 minutes at these internet cafes along the way and it’s not enough time.