Head Editor Catherine Moore went to UniLife’s Kangaroo Island Tree Planting Festival to plant what she’s butchered from constant printing throughout her student life. This is her story.
I rocked up at the Adelaide Bus Depot and found I was the only one there. Panic attack! After calling the office and finding out if I had the right destination, I settled for a coffee and waited for people to trickle in. It was then all aboard for two hours to get to the ferry.
Ah, the ferry. What a topsy-turvy 50 minute adventure that was! You couldn’t walk straight and some of those who put on a brave face saying that they wouldn’t chuck, did. I was one of the lucky few who were not swayed by the rough seas to regurgitate my watermelon Mentos and coffee.
By the time we reached the KI shore it was starting to become twilight, so we hopped back onto the bus to journey on to the Homestead where we were staying for two nights. Some slept in bunk beds, others (including myself ) in tents.
You’re meant to share your tent with another person; my tent buddy, though, scored a bunk on arrival. Even though I was offered a bunk as well, I decided to rough it out in the constantly pouring rain and ankle-deep mud. But to sleep in the freezing cold I was either going to have to eat heaps (like you do at Christmas until you’re sleepy) or consume alcohol – both of which were provided in abundance throughout the trip.
So for the rest of the night I rocked out to Wham! (the only music there) and played a drinking game with students using Austrian cards’ which were odd because they started at 6. I then decided to brave the elements and went to bed.
No hangover. Heh.
I was, however, freakishly cold so I went to have a shower. The shower was gloriously hot, but the water literally attacked you. It hit you like stinging needles and meant you either wanted to get out quickly to save yourself, or stay in there because you didn’t want to face being nakey in the cold too soon.
Eventually with the threat of no breakfast, I scrambled to the common room to consume food. (At some point during the morning I procured a bunk and so I was now a bunk bed camper.)
After brekkie, bunk bed campers were ushered onto the bus to our tree planting destination. The tent people would be coming later. Our lovely bus driver got lost on the way but we found our destination at the end of a long muddy road. (Thank God I bought gumboots!)
From 9-5 we planted trees on muddy/rocky ground. It was tough, I’m-going-to-be-incredibly-sore-tomorrow, work. Tent people came eventually and then they disappeared around 3pm to go for a hike somewhere to pitch their tents. We ended up planting about 25,000 trees that day. Pretty awesome effort if I do say so myself.
Afterwards, we came back to some glorious food made by UniLife staff, chilled by the fire and then went to bed.
Day three was a mad pack-up, before we toured around the island sightseeing. Our first stop was Remarkable Rocks, where people tried to guess what the formations looked like. I think the most popular definition was by Sooti, our travelling pseudo-mother. It had something to do with Prince William’s genitalia after his marriage. It was later redubbed ‘Sooti’s Remarkable Cock’.
Next was Admiral’s Arch, another rock formation. There we saw seals and seal pups, and I may have been a little trigger happy with my camera, especially at our last destination – Sea Lion Reserve – where you could stand just 10 metres away from them. Finally we went back to the ferry and then home. My glorious bed of blankets never looked so good.
What made the trip so enjoyable were the people. Yes, you’re doing something good for the environment, but it’s who you’re with that makes it that little bit special. The best thing is you don’t need to know anyone – just go and you’ll fit in fine. I’m in my last year at uni and this is something I wished I paid a little more attention to because knowing what I know now, it’s worth every cent and sore muscle.
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