Sunday, April 13, 2008

DAY 171: Day 1 off Cape Tribulation

Sat 12th April 2008
45 km at 14.0 km/hr
Distance to date 10139 km (6337 miles)

I was unable to get to sleep easily last night due only partly to noise from the bar - it’s a nice campsite but with all the facilities come increased risk of this kind of thing. After a mega-bowl of sultana bran flakes I got some gear together and set off for Lync Haven CP where I had stayed for 2 nights, in order to return the key and get my $10 deposit durrrr! I’d forgotten to hand it in, but it was a good excuse to ride through the wonderful 20km-long cool dark green tunnel again, and anyway there were several other places en route as yet unexplored.
The wind was against me somewhat but it only took me around 75 minutes, unladen. Having pocketed my $10 I promptly blew it on a ham and cheese and salad baguette in the Fan Palms Cafe a few km back to Cape Trib. Thus fortified I went down onto Thornton Beach which is beside the cafe, and rode it’s full length of over a km. Riding north on the hard sand benefited from the strongish south easterly and I was flying along right at the edge of the incoming waves at over 30 km/hr - exhilirating; I felt like a kid again, pulling the bike to left and right to avoid going in the sea. The sand is so hard none is flung up to possibly harm the trusty steed; I wouldn’t be so cruel! This was a day for good photo-ops as well; the mangroves, both dead and alive, provide weird and wonderful images with the blue, or sometimes dark grey sky, orange sand and dark green foliage of the trees giving startling contrasts. These are images I will always look back on with acontended and wistful sigh.
From here I continued back through the tube as far as Marrdja Boardwalk, a magical mystery tour winding through tangled mangroves and over dark muddy creeks full of all kinds of slithering lifeforms. There was virtually no-one about as usual. The whole area is very quiet, but then it is only the very start of ‘high season’ here, when Aussies from the cool south come up here for the warm ‘dry’ season. The interpretation boards were excellent as usual, and I am really starting to learn a lot about the tropical systems, although it is continually stressed that we have learnt but a fraction of what there is to know about this complex habitat - the potential for new drugs and how this ancient ecosystem can inform us of the history of the planet, for example, is science in its infancy.
I rode back to Cape Trib via Noah Beach (2km long) and Myall Beach (2km), doing by back-to-boyhood mad dogcarefree beach-riding thing again. It felt wonderful, free, exciting, ennervating, and I felt really happy - kind of ‘aglow’ lol. I’m not crowing I hope - I’m just setting down my feelings, ‘warts and all’, and today very much comes under ‘all’! Perhaps it will inspire more people to discover this wonderful self-propelled travelling life.
Back at JK’s I celebrated my happiness with a 750ml Dare Double Espresso at IGA as I watched the happy smiling campers coming and going. And they are mostly so happy as well, lots of people start talking to strangers; it’s easy to be happy here. Daintree / Cape Trib comes Highly Recommended!
I booked a kayaking tour for tomorrow at 4, and I’ve rescheduled tonight’s night walking tour since the hilarious Carla and I, (she’s from Donegal, she whom I was chatting to over dinner in the camp kitchen last night), agreed to have dinner together here at JK’s bar before rejoining the 'international gang'.
I went up the exotic fruit farm in Cape Tribulation too this afternoon, but they only open for tours weekdays at 2, so I’ll probably miss going there - it was recommended by the German couple in Lake Easham CP. I also did yet another (the Dubuji) boardwalk just near where I’m staying, and it was excellent. It’s delightfully twisty; all on flat wooden boardwalk, so great fun to cycle, stopping at every interpretaive panel to learn more about the amazing mangrove systems.
I did a bit of e-mailing later on but am not able to upload my files and pics to the blog as they don’t allow this, anyway it’s dial-up internet so it would take forever and a day. It might not be possible for me to do this until Cooktown, which could be another 4 or 5 days. There’s no mobile phone signal here in Cape Trib either. But no worries - forget the world!
I typed up the blog to date in the late afternoon then got the glad rags (my only pair of long pants and only shirt) on and called around for Carla.
We had a decent dinner (me steak she stir fry plum pork) with a bottle of good white, and swopped travel stories. After the meal we got back to the camp kitchen table where 7 of us from 7 different countries had a great blather about every issue you can think of - it’s so interesting to learn about what issues affect ordinary people from the USA, Israel, France, Eire, Australia, Argentina and Scotland - we are all so different yet all the same. It’s politicians that are the problem! The wine was plentiful, bolstered by a ‘booze run’ for a bottle from the bar sneaked out to the campers kitchen under the over zealous eyes of the burly security men who weren't supposed to let booze beyond the bar. For the first time in ages I got a little drunk, but hey, what the hell, I’m free, reponsible (I think), and in a beautiful place with good people. I was as ever on my best behaviour of course! (:->) although I hereby confess to sharing cigarettes with Carla (what? you tosser!! you’re smoking? "Well, it’s a one off honestly!"). It’s been one of those days, but when the conversation got a bit vague in the early hours I was happy to stagger back to my tent alone to sleep (hopefully) soundly. Yaaawwwnn............

1 comment:

2BobRide said...

Hi David

John here. I'm half the team riding around Australia from 1 May. We're in Canberra, not Perth. Just thought the record should be set straight.

Enjoy the Cape!