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19 March 2000, Heron Island, Queensland

By 7:00 we could no longer stay asleep through the racket the birds were making. On our way to breakfast, I stopped by the pay phones at reception to see if there were any new messages about Daddy’s recovery process. Theresa had called to let me know that things were still going well, but she still didn’t have a private room number that I could call. I tried Lynn’s mobile phone, but there was no answer.

We went on to the restaurant where we made an exploration of the buffet. There was hot and cold food, fruit, juices, tea and coffee. Tired of cereal, we went for the hot food, taking pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage. When we finished breakfast, the sun was still pretty low, so we decided to take a walk around the island before starting our day of laying in the sun.

It was nearly high tide, and there was little beach between the water and the trees, so we had to walk in the water much of the way. We started at the helicopter pad and jetty near our suite, heading counter-clockwise around the island. Not far up the beach we saw a nice clearing with lounge chairs and a table. We decided that we would bring our picnic lunch there if no one beat us to it.

At the northeast end of the island we nearly left the beach to take a walking track through the woods, but we decided not to. We were glad we hadn’t when, a few minutes later, we noticed a couple of baby sea turtles crawling down the beach toward the water. We looked a little higher up the beach and saw more of them. Then we saw the nest where, every second or two, a new turtle head would pop up out of the sand and the little guys would “swim” up into the air and head for the water. We stood and watched until they stopped coming up. There must have been thirty, forty, or more turtles that emerged while we were standing there. If we had walked by five minutes earlier or five minutes later, we never would have seen them.

We finished our walk when we got to the swimming pool. I checked messages again, glad that there was one from Lynn giving me the direct number to Daddy’s room. I immediately called. Mother answered, then put Daddy on the phone. We only talked for a minute or two, since his throat was still sore from the tube. Other than that and queasiness from the anesthesia he felt good. After another brief talk with Mother, I said goodbye. It was huge relief for me to hear their voices and talk to them.

Back at the room we coated ourselves in #30 sunscreen and headed for the patio by the pool. We staked out a couple of lounge chairs in a prime location and stretched out in the sun. After about an hour, we were really feeling the heat of the sun and moved into the shade to read. After another hour or so we decided it was time for lunch.

We picked up our picnic hamper — actually a medium-sized ice chest — and headed for the lunch spot we had picked out that morning. We were in luck; no one else was there. We pulled the chairs and table into the shade and spread out our lunch — salad, cheese, crackers, sandwich fixings, and cake. We also had a bottle of wine, but the restaurant staff had neglected to put a corkscrew and glasses in the cooler. We settled for the water we brought, deciding to save the wine for later.

When we were full, we still had lots of food left. We put it all back in the cooler, then settled down for a couple of hours in the shade. Chris napped while I read and listened to the surf. Around 2:30 we went back to the suite to drop off the wine, crackers, and cheese. We noticed that we didn’t have a corkscrew or wine glasses there, either. We then returned the cooler to the restaurant, letting them know about their omissions. One of the waitresses immediately offered to deliver the corkscrew and glasses to our room. They would be there when we returned later that afternoon.

We headed back over to the pool and picked out two more lounge chairs. We alternated between the sun and the shade, reading or just resting. When we got too hot, we took a dip in the pool, which cooled us down nicely. There was plenty of activity to observe when we weren’t reading. A woman was taking a scuba lesson in the pool. There was also a man in the pool with his little girl. She seemed to never tire of being thrown five feet into the air to land in the pool again.

We stayed by the pool until 5:00, then got a table where we could see the reef better. We ordered some drinks and played scrabble, but it was hard to concentrate on the game. There was a chessboard about 12 feet square laid out on the ground nearby, and people were playing by walking around and moving the pieces. All that motion attracted our eyes and we spent more time watching the chess games than we did thinking about scrabble.

Just before sunset, we returned to the room and got cleaned up for dinner. After we ate, we went looking for the pool tables described in the resort literature in our room. We found them above the bar, but they were pretty disappointing. The tables themselves were pretty small, and the balls were smaller than standard size. The tip of the only cue stick that wasn’t in use wasn’t square. We tried to sweep all of the dead bugs and moths off the table, but there were enough left to affect play. After one very long game of eight ball, we decided it wasn’t worth it and returned to the room.

On the way back we passed a small group of people who were going out for the nightly stargazing walk. We thought about joining them, but the sky was mostly cloudy, and the moon was full. Stargazing was going to be pretty difficult under those circumstances. Once we were to the room, we had some of the wine from our picnic, enjoyed the full moon and listened to the birds.

When we went to bed, we both put in our earplugs. They made a tremendous difference, allowing us to sleep soundly despite the racket outside.

Next day

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