Hisss-tory

 

I’m a sucker for lame jokes. Like this one:

What is a snake’s favourite subject?
Hisss-tory.

I like a bit of history, but snakes, not so much. Still, I’ve had a few snake/history combinations recently.

In 1911 the SS Yongala sank after steaming into a cyclone off the QLD coast. All souls on board were lost, including a race horse and a prize-winning bull. The wreck wasn’t discovered until the 1970s, but is now one of the best dive sites in the world. I recently had the fortune to do a dive trip out to the Yongala and although the seas were a bit choppy, the diving was indeed excellent. The wreck sits in 26 metres of water, so you don’t get too much bottom time (and as it is a gravesite, wreck penetration is forbidden) but we saw giant Queensland grouper, colourful angel fish, and sea-snakes! Apparently they are more deadly than land snakes, but have brittle teeth that struggle to bite through human skin (or wetsuit). I didn’t test out the theory (but they did get pretty close!)

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Meanwhile on land, while we were bushwalking up to an old World War II fort constructed on Magnetic Island in 1943, I nearly stepped on another deadly snake: a coastal taipan. Unlike most other snakes that usually beat a hasty retreat when humans come stumbling by, taipans usually stand their ground. And this one did, eyeing me off. He ended up winning the stare-off and I cautiously backed up. We proceeded to the fort, learnt a bunch from the informative displays, and checked out the fantastic view. On the way back down we were lucky enough to also see koalas in the trees.

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Anyway, talk of shipwrecks and islands has led me to life’s big questions #3: If your ship sank and you were stuck on a deserted island, who would you want to be stuck on there with?

I’m thinking Bear Grylls, for his survival skills; Josh Richards, the Aussie ex-Army scientist/comedian who wants to get selected to live on Mars, because I reckon he’d be bloody handy too; and my bestie Sondra, because she’s great company. And maybe a Telstra or Optus technician to get wifi up running…(otherwise how would I blog about it??).

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