I arrived in Brisbane on Friday December 11 to spend the weekend with my friend Carrie for her birthday. Having lived permanently in London for the last ten years, I was looking forward to some Aussie sunshine, swimming, and exploring the natural landscapes that are so unique to Queenland’s Sunshine Coast.
On Monday December 14, we made a stop at Kondalilla Falls National Park in Montville. The park’s name originates from an Aboriginal word meaning “rushing waters”. The full Kondalilla Falls circuit walk itself was closed on this day, but the short 1.2km walk to the falls itself wasn’t. With swim wear, drinking water and Go Pro in hand, we walked along a well worn track suitable for flip flops, under the shade of the rainforest canopy.
Descending some rocky steps, the view of the falls and the large water hole was inviting on this hot Summer’s day. Stripping down to my bikini, I tested the water’s temperature with my feet. It was much cooler than I thought. In my opinion, there is only one way to enter cold water; in one swift movement!
I swam the 30 metres to the waterfall and hauled myself up to sit next to it. The rocks there were slippery so careful and slow placement of hands and feet was necessary. Sitting by the waterfall and looking back at the waterhole, I spotted a tree with a rope and a piece of wood attached to it. The boys were swinging from it, and then letting go to land in the water. Passing my Go Pro to Carrie’s boyfriend Brad to take some pictures, I was soon doing the same.
It wasn’t until I was sitting next to the waterfall again that disaster struck. Brad offered to take a photo of me next to the waterfall. He was a good 5 metres away in the water. I went to throw the Go Pro at him. “No, I’ll swim to you to get it”. Thinking that Go Pro’s float, I decided it was perfectly fine to throw it to him. I should have listened to his offer to swim to me. The Go Pro landed well short of where Brad was, and it disappeared below the surface of the water. As we both swum to where landed, I waited for it to re-surface. It didn’t! “Brad, where’s my Go Pro?!”.
I tried to contain the rising panic that was building as I attempted to dive under to search for it. Why on earth did I think a Go Pro floated?!But with no mask, poor visibility, and no oxygen tank, plus the fact I couldn’t even touch the bottom, I was facing a losing battle. “You’re just going to have to accept its gone” Carrie said.
But I couldn’t accept it. I wasn’t worried about losing the Go Pro itself, but all the photos and videos of my holidays that were stored on the memory card. Film footage of swimming with sea lions on the Galápagos Islands with my travel bestie, and on the sky deck of Chicago’s Sears Tower, these moments are priceless, and cost much more than a new Go Pro ever would.
There has to be a solution. It’s not as if I’d lost the Go Pro. I knew where it was, I just needed someone to retrieve it for me. After pouring my heart out to a woman at the falls, she advised I just needed to think laterally.
Two days later on Wednesday December 16, I found myself back at the Kondalilla Falls car park with Isaiah. He was a dive instructor I managed to track down via a dive shop on the Sunshine Coast. With his 28kg oxygen tank strapped on the shoulders of his 6 foot frame, we trekked back to the falls, a place of natural beauty and personal disaster.
At 9.30am, there were only four other people present. It looked so serene and peaceful. Such a contrast to how I was feeling inside, both anxious and hopeful. After showing Isaiah approximately where the Go Pro disappeared, I resumed my place by the waterfall.
Five minutes later, Isaiah surfaced with it in his hand. Joy!
Future note to self: Go Pro’s don’t float. Don’t forget to always attach my Go Pro to my selfie stick that has a secure wrist strap. And when faced with what looks like an an possible situation, persistence, never giving up, and lateral thinking to find a solution is key.