Backpackers left stranded on island after inflatable mattress boat bursts

12th Sep 2018
Written by: Dave Owen

It probably seemed like an ingenious way of saving some dollars on transport, but a plan to reach an Australian paradise island by using a blow-up mattress as a boat quickly proved unwise after it sprang a leak, leaving four backpackers stranded.

Last week, a post by Max Shkandrij appeared on the ‘Backpacker Jobs in Australia’ Facebook page. It read:

“This is going to sound silly but me and three friends are stranded on Gloucester Island near Airlie Beach because the blow-up mattress we used to get over with all our camping stuff etc has a hole in it and sank.

“So, anyone nearby have a boat or something to come get us? We can pay you! Kind regards in advance.”

inflatable mattress boat

Gloucester Island is a national park off the coast of Queensland, Australia, popular with campers and easily reachable by boat.

But not, it turns out, easily reachable by inflatable mattress. Upon arrival on the island, a sharp shell tore a hole in the air bed, making it impossible for the group to return.

An attempt to fix the mattress went similarly poorly.

Australia Adventure

From: £2,400 / 28-49 Days

Travel down under with us and embark on the experience of a lifetime! From exploring Oz to finding a job and making it your home, we are there every step of the way.

View Experience

“Tried repairing it melting some plastic but my mate farted as I was doing it and I laughed and poked another massive hole in the mattress with the ember I was using to heat plastic,” read a Facebook post from Dale Jeffs, another of the stranded backpackers.

The situation only got worse. “Someone left the lid off the box of food we had and when we came back from exploring, something had been in the box and took our food.”

Fortunately, the group survived the night and were rescued the next morning.

“We just got to the pub,” read the follow-up post.

Check out these top Australia experiences


Australian Working Holiday Visa

from £349.00

30 - 365 days

The Australia Work Abroad Visa gives you permission to work in Australia whilst you travel. A huge hit with backpackers...

Journalism internship in Melbourne

from £3,600.00

42 - 180 days

Get ahead in the competitive world of journalism and media by pursuing an internship in the world’s most liveable city,...

International Business Internships

from £3,034.00

28 - 180 days

Gain international business experience in one of the world's most important markets.

JUCY Campervans – Australia

from £270.00

7 days

Our Australian fleet is now available from 7 convenient locations in 6 of Australia’s major cities. Our range of campers...

Sydney to Blue Mountains Day Trip

from £99.00

1 - 30 days

From the three sisters to beautiful waterfalls, explore the best of the Blue Mountains with Loka.

Volunteer with Dolphins in Bunbry, Western Australia

from £2,255.00

42 days

Your project is based at a non-profit Centre committed to dolphin research, education, conservation and tourism based in the South...

Greyhound Australia Coach Pass

from £65.00

7 days

If you're looking to soak up all of Australia but with the freedom to explore on your own terms, then...

Journalism & Media Internship Abroad

from £3,034.00

28 - 180 days

Boost your career prospects with a journalism and media internship abroad. Learn from Australia's professionals to gain a new perspective...

In-Class TEFL Course in Sydney

from £1,290.00

20 days

Join our 4-week TEFL in-class course in Sydney and become a TEFL/TESOL certified teacher of English as a foreign language.

Intern with a PR/Marketing Firm

from £2,700.00

28 - 180 days

Australia isn't just a regional giant, it's a global business hub and an environment teeming with growth and success. Start...

An Australia tour is a much better way to explore


Explore Australia

from £3,369.00


Discover Australia’s legendary highlights on a 12-day loop of the country. Explore world-class cities and the outback’s sacred Red Centre,...

Melbourne to Darwin Overland (Basix)

from £2,050.00


Embark on a Northern Territory adventure, from Melbourne to Darwin, taking in the region's biggest and best-known drawcards along the...

Wild Kimberley Overland (Original)

from £1,556.00


Get wild and remote in some of Australia's most untouched territory, the Kimberley. Embark on an adventure tour down the...

Taste of Tasmania (Basix)

from £515.00


Much of this pristine wilderness state was – up until around 100 years ago – considered too remote to be...

Red Centre Experience


A great little add-on to a longer Australian adventure, this short-and-sweet journey to the famed Red Centre brings you close...

Australia Surfing Adventure


Like peanut butter and jelly, Australia and surfing were meant to be enjoyed together, and you probably won’t find another...

Great Ocean Road Adventure ex Melbourne (Basix)

from £260.00


Set off on a short but sweet road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide and get a taste of southern Australia's...

Overnight Uluru Trip (camping)

from £225.00


Journey into Australia's dusty Red Centre and experience for yourself two of the continent's star attractions. Explore the immense rock...

Total Territory Outback and Top End (ex Yulara)

from £1,795.00


Embark on a Northern Territory adventure from Alice Springs to Darwin, taking in the region's biggest and best draws along...

Perth to Broome Overland

from £1,030.00


Australia's west coast boasts some of the world's best beaches that are relatively untouched by tourism and set against a...

Now for some better advice on visiting Australia

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]