We are up at 4.00am. A quick shower and on the coach by 4.30am. We arrive at Matthew Flinders by 4.50am. The students are starting to arrive and we are packed and all on board by 5.10am. Many thanks to the Matthew Flinders’ parents for accommodating us so readily. Part of my feedback to our travel company will be that we should have been on a flight at a more reasonable hour both for us and our hosts. There are regular flights from Brisbane to Cairnsthroughout the day.
We check on those who have been ill or received ‘knocks’ in yesterday’s games. Molly was in good spirits. She wasn’t in any pain and was looking forward to the rest of the tour. Ailsa had strained her groin in the hockey, but that was improving. Elaine had strained her shoulder in the netball, it was stiff but not unduly uncomfortable-Elaine’s a ‘tough cookie’. Tom Froom had received a bang to the head in the rugby. We took him off as a precaution and he didn’t feel well after the game, he was fine this morning. Nia Devonald had played hockey and gone swimming yesterday and her cold appeared to be getting better. Rachel Walsh was ‘100%’
Our journey to Brisbaneairport should take about 90 minutes and once we are underway, I walk down the bus to ask the students about their experiences. Again they were very enthusiastic.
Laura Baker had stayed with Jerry Price, the Headteacher. He said Laura was ‘as good as gold’. Laura said she was impressed with the family and she got on well with them all. They had gone to the beach and enjoyed a ‘fish and chip’ meal.
Molly Kabia’s host had been really helpful when she had been in hospital yesterday. She had come from her home in Noosa (about 45 minutes away from the hospital) to collect Molly at 9.00pm. Molly said she had been her ‘best host so far’. The daughter was lovely and Molly felt that they had ‘so much in common’. Molly said ‘it’s going to be hard being on crutches-but on the bright side-I’ve found my chewing gum’. That’s what you call taking the positives out of a situation.
Ailsa Howells said her hosts were ‘amazing’. She had been taken for a barbecue on her hosts’ canal boat.
Kira Button said her hosts were ‘very nice’ and had taken her surfing.
Joel Young and Rob James said that their hosts were ‘so funny’. They had been really well looked after. The house had a hot tub, a spa and a pool. They had an ‘outstanding’ double bed, that was so nice they decided to share it together!!!
Shane Harris and Keelan Giles said that they had been well looked after. Their host had 67 pets!!!! A combination of chickens, ducks, goats, birds and dogs. The only problem was that they didn’t see their host in the evening because he had three and a half hours homework to do. Homework was a new concept to Keelan and Shane!!!!
Callum Macdermott said his host was very musical. I told him that Miss Lawlor would be pleased to hear that. It would be good preparation for next year’s Brangwyn Concert-Callum agreed.
Ethan Hopkins and Tom Wallace said that their host had been ‘good and really nice’
Dylan Treharne and Rhys Cherry got on really well with their hosts. Dylan said that ‘they’d been the best hosts he’d had on tour’. They had fish and chips on the beach and Dylan was particularly pleased because his room was ‘en suite’.
Bethany Davies and Julia Hughes said their hosts were ‘really nice’. Julia felt at home because their hosts owned a gym and a pool. They had gone to have breakfast in the gym. The family, like Julia, were keen swimmers and she felt that they had ‘lots in common’. Bethany felt at home because they had made her a birthday cake.
Sian Jenkins said that her hosts were ‘really nice’. The food was nice too.
Another to have a birthday cake provided was Hannah Breeze-Jones who was staying with Georgia Davies. Their host had taken them shopping and also given Hannah a birthday present.
Elaine Tucker and Alycia Carpanini had enjoyed having dinners together as a family. They’d also gone to the beach and had fish and chips.
Scott Smith and Morgan Curtis had gone rock jumping in a nearby river-the water was freezing, but they’d enjoyed it. For Morgan this stop was the ‘highlight of his tour’
Hannah Williams and Bethan Rees said their hosts were really nice. They had been taken out for meals and gone sightseeing-it had been very relaxing.
Jessica Rees said she’d been with ‘amazing’ hosts-the best on tour so far. She had tried three different fish dishes; Snapper, Barramundi and Red Emperor-she had enjoyed them all.
Tom Froom and Richard Keefe had both been given a rugby league top by their hosts. They had also been taken out for a gourmet pizza and gone to the beach.
Sam Grunhut and Rhodri Tyrrell said that their hosts were ‘great’. They’d enjoyed the opportunity to ‘chill’.
Lewis Macdermott and Max Harris’ hosts had a great house. They had a table tennis room and a basketball court an which they had played. They also had a 70 inch TV. They enjoyed Kangaroo sausages. The family also owned their own yacht and they had enjoyed fish and chips one evening with the host having caught the fish on the yacht that day.
Steffan Gibbon said that his host was really nice. He had been fed well and looked after really well.
Marcus Besley and Jack Cambriani said that they had been with a ‘lovely’ family who had taken them to see the beaches.
Katy Baran said her host was a ‘lovely lady’. She really enjoyed staying there-it was a nice house. The host had made a point of finding me the previous evening to tell me how impressed she’d been with Katy. I told her that I reckoned Katy would be Head girl one day!!!
Yvie Powe had been really lucky. Her host had taken her out on their boat to see the sunset. She had had some really nice food and they’d prepared some really good vegetarian meals for her.
Sarah Wedlake, Jayde Anderson and Emma Kieft had stayed with really nice people. They had gone for a walk to see the beaches.
Brittany Jenkins and Rachael Williams said that it was really nice at their hosts. They had bought Brittanya birthday cake and taken them to the beach.
Nia Devonald’s host had given her nice meals and her cold was improving.
Jade Meredith and Gemma Evans stayed with a really nice family. They enjoyed it there because they were musical and Jade could play on the piano. They went to the beach and their hosts bought them frozen yoghurts-they were ‘lush’.
Tom Wedlake and Alex Freeman said they enjoyed being with their hosts. They had taken them surfing.
We arrive at Brisbaneairport in good time-6.30am. We check in and go through security quickly, which is one advantage of being so early. However, we discover that our plane has been delayed for over an hour and won’t take off until 10.30am. I ask the reason “There’s a mechanical problem on the plane”. No problem, I think; they can take as long as they want to fix that.
We have two and a half hours to wait before we are to board at 10.00am which gives us time for breakfast and some shopping.
We board at 10.10am and take off a little late at 10.45am. The pilot has been lucky enough to have breakfast with Katy Baran!!! She had told him about our party and mentioned that it was Bethany Davies’ birthday. He said that he’d give her a mention at take off.
Bethanyreceives her mention and our flight is pretty uneventful and lands two hours later. We meet our coach and transfer to our hotel-The Cairns Colonial Club Resort by about 1.00pm. Our delayed departure meant that virtually all of our rooms were ready. We settle into our rooms and spend an afternoon resting and relaxing around the pool. Temperatures are very warm 27°C, but with the humidity being low it feels really comfortable. There is a great atmosphere amongst the group. They enjoy each others company, but there is no ‘attention seeking’ behaviour that could affect the enjoyment of others at the resort.
Most enjoy a meal at the poolside café at between 5.00 and 6.00pm. The staff and some students book into the restaurant for a meal at 7.30pm. It is a nice meal, but not as good as many of the others that we have had on our travels. We finish at about 8.45pm and walk back to our rooms. There is a strange calm about the resort which gives me an uneasy feeling-that feeling is not misplaced, as we walk amongst the students and their rooms, it is clear that all is not as it should be. We delve a little deeper and find out that some of the boys have purchased alcohol, six of them are involved and one of them is drunk. We make sure that he is not in any danger. He is probably a little ‘worse for wear’ because he has not eaten. We give him something to eat and get him to bed (he is fine the next morning).
We gather the group together for a meeting at 9.45pm. We express our disappointment and explain the possible consequences for us as staff and for them as individuals of such actions-They had let themselves down. All six were extremely contrite and apologetic for their actions. None of us are perfect, and we learn many lessons as we go. I’m sure that they would act differently if they were in the same position again in the future. We will deal with them in the morning when we have had time to reflect.
Most of the party are tired after this morning’s early start, so we go to bed at just after 10.00pm. Mr Lewis, Mr Long, Miss Rushworth and Miss Jeffreys stay up on duty until 11.45pm and report no further problems. They will sleep well, they’ve had a very long day.
Tomorrow is another big day. Cairns for shopping in the morning, white water rafting in the afternoon and a group meal in the restaurant at 7.30pm.