It all happened at Dougie’s
A German woman who had flown to Port Douglas for her daughter’s wedding - which is today - had only been in the town for a few hours on Sunday when she was twice bitten by a snake.
Gertie Sandic, of Frankfurt, was attended by ambulance officers and taken to Mossman and eventually all the way to Cairns to stay in hospital overnight, mostly as a safety precaution though as it seemed apparent the snake bite was not venomous.
For her new son-in-law, Irish-born Mike Flavin, it was yet another chapter in the entwined and colourful story of his love life and Port Douglas.
The long road to today’s beachside wedding ceremony with his fiancee Julia Kablinovic began almost seven years ago when Mike, backpacking in Australia and looking for work, got a job at the renowned Dougie’s Backpackers accommodation complex.
Like many, he enjoyed the lifestyle and a short stay turned in a long one, about 14 months. It was at the end of this time he met the blonde Julia. But he was leaving Port Douglas for Sydney and she had to decide, having met him just three days earlier, whether to go too.
So she joined Mike and two other fellas in a tiny Nissan Micra - with five backpacks - for the trek to Sydney.
But it came time to part and Julia decided she didn’t want a boyfriend in Australia and so gave him a wrong phone number. However she left her diary behind and had to go back to him to retrieve it . . .
Eventually both went back to Ireland, had a daughter, Sophie- Sue ( now 6), and then relocated to a house just across the street in Frankfurt from Gertie.
So they are here now, with various family members and friends for the big occasion. And of course they’re staying at Dougie’s, where it began.
Gertie had gone up to the toilet block in the early evening and in the darkness stepped on something at the outside steps. ‘‘I looked down and saw it coiled around my legs,’’ she said. She shook it away and went and told Mike, who identified the two small puncture wounds on her left leg, and he raced off and got the ambulance guys who are based nearby.
For Gertie, as ready to fear Australia’s wildlife as any other European is, it was all those fears come true. ‘‘Why did I come here with these animals?’’ she asked herself. It was only the next day that she saw more bite marks higher up on the other leg and realised the extent of the attack.
By Tuesday though, when the Gazette caught up with the wedding party, Gertie was enjoying the swimming pool and the last of the wedding plans were being put in place. Everyone was bright and happy, enjoying a beautiful sunny day in paradise. Sophie-Sue was telling anyone who’d listen about her ‘‘ooma’’ being bitten by a snake.
‘‘We can all laugh about it now,’’ said Julia, and indeed Gertie was all smiles as Port Douglas cast its spell. ‘‘We’re here, we’re back in Dougie’s, Port Douglas, you couldn’t not enjoy yourself, you know,’’ says the affable Mike. All that was missing was Julia’s sister’s luggage, with the bridesmaid’s dress.
TYING THE KNOT: Julie Kablinovic and Mike Flavin with mother-in-law to be Gertie Sandic