Sunday, April 06, 2008

DAY 163: Day 2 off Lake Eacham

Fri 4th April 2008

Distance to date 9788 km (6117 miles)

Awoke to the resident cock crowing away at dawn, closely followed by an unfamiliar bird call which surprisingly turned out to be a Currawong - they are good mimics like many of the crows though. I’d decided on a practical day today, uploading here in the park office then a good maintenance session on the bike. First I feasted on some new muesli I bought yesterday with macadamia nuts in - very nice.

Uploading was unsuccesful because the computer for camper use is a Mac - drat - there’s no way I can see that I can upload pics without first loading all 800-odd images off the 2GB camera SD card onto the Mac, and I calculated that would take a long time, so I abandoned the task for another day. Come back PC, all is forgiven. However I got lots of e-mailing done and checked stuff out on the internet so it wasn’t totally wasted time. In fact it turned out to be very productive time, because several ladies arrived for a meeting of the local Scrabble club, and the site owner Liz announced to the others that I was riding around Oz for charity, and they had a whip-round and raised $45! Brilliant..and I went onto the Justgiving website and paid it in there and then. Liz’s husband Lionel had seen my website address in the Guest Book that I had signed, and read up on what I was doing, because I think I had forgotten to mention the charity bit. I must say I am a bit reluctant to push it as it sometimes sounds a bit too ‘glorious’, but I should always mention it really. There’s around £600 so far, but I know that a good few Australians have donated directly to the WaterAid Oz website so as to get gift aid here i.e. an extra 20% or so.

Anyway it was a good relaxing day in this beautiful place, so peaceful, and everything that I need is at the caravan park from electric kettle to fridge so it’s very easy living. In the afternoon I set to and cleaned the bike thoroughly, fitted the second new tyre and a thorn-resistant tube onto the rear wheel, lubricated the brake cables, fixed and refitted onto the left bar end the old mirror that fell apart (I have 2 mirrors now I like them so much!) and undid slightly and retightened all the bolts and screws to make sure they weren’t seizing up after all the rain and muck they’ve suffered.

The other guy staying here came over and gave me 2 passion fruit which was nice of him, and they were delicious. He came here for a 2-week stay and finished up staying 5 years, and I can understand why. He is a keen ornithologist and these tropics have more species than any other place in Oz. I didn’t mention that this area is in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Site which stretches in specific patches of land from Townsville to Cooktown.

Around 5 I cycled the 1.5km to Lake Eacham and saw that there were about a dozen folk swimming in there, so I threw my togs off and joined ‘em, it was too tempting with the late afternoon sun burning red onto the flat calm water. The water was cooler than it usually is in the sea, partly due to the altitude of 800m or so and also because of the great depth I suppose - it seemed a bit weird to be swimming in this 70-odd metre depth. Afterwards I put my clothes back on regardless of being wet (they’ll soon dry in this warmth) and cycled the 3km around the densely forested banks of the lake again, stopping occasionally to listen / look for birds. I heard what I believe was a Wompoo Pigeon because it was calling “wwwooom - ppooo” lol - the guide says there are some here. There are lots of small birds but (a) they are hard to see even with binoculars and (b) they don’t stay still long enough. Now I have my new birdie book I’ll stand a better chance of identifying these though. If I was staying here longer I could tag along with the old guy I guess, but I must move on tomorrow - I am expected at Warmshowers hosts Renee and Sarah’s in Cairns.

There are a few more campers here today, among them a German couple who were blown away by the rainforests of Cape Tribulation, where I’ll be next week - can’t wait!! Woohoo!

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