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Gilligan mixes with Cinderella

Queensland’s Heron Island where a boat carrying 35 Grafton students ran aground this week.
Queensland’s Heron Island where a boat carrying 35 Grafton students ran aground this week.

GILLIGAN'S Island met Cinderella this week as a group of 35 South Grafton students raced to the Valley for their Deb Ball after being marooned on Heron Island.

The Year 11 students were off the coast of Gladstone, Queensland, on their way to a biology and geography field trip when their boat ran into trouble on Monday.

"We were coming into the harbour and we ran aground on the reef," said teacher Mark Blundell, who has since been nicknamed "Gilligan", when everyone was safely back on dry land yesterday.

"There was a big bump and (the pilot) must have just clipped it. He reversed and had a second go but went a lot faster and simply hit the reef harder."

The group was stuck on the boat for an hour before being taken safely to the island.

They enjoyed snorkelling, surveying and exploring but another dilemma was in the back of their minds - how were they going to get back?

The boat was taken to Gladstone and a substitute ferry arrived from Yeppoon, which would only run on Wednesday or Sunday.

While some of the pupils didn't mind the idea of an extra day in paradise, some debutantes were starting to worry about their shin-dig on Saturday night.

It was a tough call for the five supervising teachers, but it was decided to cut the trip short and make the dash back to Grafton where, after a 12-hour bus trip, the group arrived safely at 6am yesterday.

The students were a little bleary-eyed yesterday, but Mr Blundell was convinced there would be some tall tales to tell this weekend.

And as for his new nickname ...

"Yes, I think it will take me a while to live that one down," he said.

Topics:  deb ball, heron island, mark blundell


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