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Journal Entry 4
Captain Cook and
The Town of 1770, Australia

When i first overheard people talking about 1770 (pronounced 'seventeen seventy') i thought they were referring to how much the dorm beds were or something. I had no idea that there was an actual town called 1770. Apparently the population of this small coastal town (which at the time was probably about three families, a couple of dogs and a few roos) all decided to give their town a numerical name in an attempt to raise the profile of the area as a tourist site. Why the number 1770??? Simply because that was the year when Captain Cook discovered the wonderful country of Australia.

It seems that the gimmick has worked. Although the town itself is still very small - it is now a well established stop on the backpacker's trail. According to our local tour guide (the minibus driver whose job it is to encourage backpackers to do various walks, tours, boat trips etc) the area is also now becoming increasingly popular in terms of real estate. Throughout our short tour of 1770, he pointed at numerous small wooden shacks proudly declaring that they are now worth one million dollars. Granted - they did have breathtaking coastal views - but still absolutely crazy!

Our hostel - 'Cool Bananas' - was a very chilled out joint, offering free videos, board games (Jenga was a never-ending source of amusement) clay face masks (!) and hammocks (which we instantly fell in love with!). We met up with three friends (whom we have now travelled a fair bit with) called Elle, Toby and Denise. Elle and Toby are both budding actors back home and are recognised quite a lot out here.

We all hired a car one evening and drove 2 hours south to Mon Repos which is a Turtle Sanctuary on the beach. It was a fantastic to see hundreds of the baby hatchlings break free from their nest in the sand. Unfortunately we didnt hang around long enough to see a nesting (i.e. a big mommy turtle give birth!) but being able to hold a tiny turtle and watch it follow the light of our torches as we guided it down the beach to the sea was in itself a moving experience. The long hike down the sand is a very important walk for them as they imprint the magnetic fields of the beach to their memory so that they are able to return to the same beach to nest 30 years later. Apparently only 1 in 1000 turtles survives to the birthing age of 30 so i said a little prayer for our baby shweens.

The following day we all went on a day boat trip (also with Louise, Neesha and Jo) to Lady Musgrave Island and its surrounding reef for a snorkelling session and a go in the glass-bottomed boat. Despite me getting very seasick (and filling up at least four sickbags) the trip was great fun. The water around the island was a wonderful shade of turquoise blue and the visibility was very good.The beautiful array of coloured coral and tropical fish that we saw, not to mention the turtles, made up for the earlier sickness! Back at the harbour on the mainland we were then lucky enough to see 'Cuddles' - an enormous groper fish that sucks up frozen fishfood through its huge mouth like a hoover!