Aussie Adventures Pt 9

Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 15:04

Member - Muncey 72

We awake again to overcast skies and a wet camp. We head back north to just passed Mossman, sugar cane fields everywhere right up to the road side in some places. We stop in at “Hook a Barra” and pay for an hour fishing for 3 our us. Maz and Alex choose to watch and take the photos. We are given rods already set up with soft plastics, barbless hooks and braid line. Harrison catches the first Barra and its an awesome fight he pulls it all the way in and Maz nets it for him, a nice 84cm fish. I have a couple of hits on the lure but the fish does not take it fully. Bang, “fish on” I hook one the fight these fish put up is really intense but I mange to land one approx. 83cm. After about 5 mins I hook a big fella, the fight is much harder and longer and the fish launches in the air on several occasions trying to spit the hook. When I get him to the net it’s a whopper 89cm. Its our first time using the braid and it feels so much better than mono line oh and our first Barras. Morgan has a couple of hook ups but loses the fish each time. The lady who runs the place then takes a few people to another lake which is filled with smaller Barra. Morgan instantly hooks one and then another and gets both to the net for a photo. Its an awesome morning and everyone has caught at least a couple of fish. We decide not to keep the fish and let them go to fight another day but we do put our names up on the Barra bragging board.
We drive into Port Douglas and have a look around the town and get some lunch. We check out all the boats in the Marina, wow there’s some money here in this town. The sun has finally come out and we spend the late afternoon around the Caravan park pool topping up the tan. Up early to Morgan’s “Who let the dogs out” alarm and we are picked up by “Wavelength” and taken to the marina ready to board the vessel which will take us to the Great Barrier Reef. We all take some travelcalm ready for the journey. Again, it’s an overcast day and we have 25knot winds and 2/3 metres swells. Unfortunately, this weather is forecast for the next few days so we had to go. We hop on the boat and are pleased that its only a small group of 38 on board. The bigger Quicksilver boats take up to 300 at a time. That’s a lot of people trying to swim and snorkel and a lot of fins and arms in the head! We get approx. 300metres from the harbor and wheee, whoooo the boat is a rocking and a rolling. I turn to Maz and say “This is going to be a mission to survive” The captain advises to all stay seated until we get to the reef which will be 1hr20mins. Well, there are many casualties on the way out with many a sick bag being handed out, we all manage to hold it in apart from Alex who has a little chuck overboard. Once we get within the protection of the reef its quite comfortable on board, we get to the first snorkel spot called “Ray bans” and all hop in. We are all pleasantly surprised at how good the visibility is considering the weather. The reef looks amazing and there are to many fish to mention a true wonder beneath the ocean. We have an hour snorkeling until we get back on board for morning tea and the short trip to the next spot called “Beautiful Moorings”. Another hour here and we are off again to the last spot called “Mojos” where we have a buffet lunch. Most people are now feeling a lot better whilst within the reefs protection and the mood on the boat is much better. The last spot we snorkel on is our favorite, the coral is amazing, the colors unbelievable and the abundance of fish sublime, we even spot a turtle. There is no sign here of the reef dying and it looks healthy than ever. We have a guided snorkel by one of the Marine Biologists on board which is very interesting. As we all get the wet suits off and return the fins and masks its time for the trip home. The sun has not come out all day, the wind has blown and the seas rough but it still has been a fantastic day. So glad we choose Wavelength, a much smaller and personal experience out to such a special place. Once back into port I am so pleased that no of us got really sea sick, I am usually terrible on boats. Travelcalm is our new friend. If you are travelling up here a visit to the reef is a must, 21 years ago Maz and I dived on the reef and I would say the Reef we saw today was just as good as all those tears ago. We arrive back at camp totally knackered, shower and hop straight into bed dreaming of Nemo…
We awake to a bit of sun and a nice breeze which dries the camper enough for us to pack up. We drive back into Port Douglas and have a look around the markets which are really good. We then head to Cairns along the Captain Cook Hwy which is a lovely drive stopping a couple of times at lookouts to get photos. We get to Coconut Cairns big 4 and get allocated a site just wide enough for the car, there is no chance the camper will fit. After speaking with the lovely “Ayla” at reception and a free ride in the golf buggy looking at available sites she gets us in at a huge spot right next to the camp kitchen. With the weather again not playing the game it’s a rainy afternoon but the kids still have a swim in the big pool with 2 waterslides. The park is huge and very busy. It reminds me a bit like the caravan parks I used to go to in England when I was a kid. There is so much to do within the park, swimming, jumping pillows, mini golf, basketball, tennis, badminton, movie nights, restaurant, deli and much more. Jarrod and Brooke and the girls stop in for afternoon tea and we have a good catch up before they leave and head south. Hopefully we catch up once more at Mission Beach. It rains most of the night which seems to be the norm at the moment. We head to Cairns and drop the car off at Ultra Tune to have a look at the rear shockies and identify the clicking coming from the engine. They give us a courtesy car and we head out to Smithfield where the Armory & Tank Museum is. We spend approx. 3 hrs looking around, it’s a huge place with so many vehicles, tanks, guns, cannons etc from both world wars. So much information to take in, it’s very good. The boys have a go in an APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) which they loved. We cannot go downstairs to the shooting gallery as it is booked out for the day so promise the boys we will come back. After having a look around Cairns and the lagoon we pick the car up. Have to rebook the car in for later in the week so they can get parts, a new old man emu rear shockie, new alternator and belts. It rains all day today and when we get back to camp we notice some spots of mold on the canvas inside the camper. Probably all these damp pack ups they camper hasn’t the chance to dry out properly. We wash of the mold spots with vinegar, then wash off with soapy water and then reapply a waterproof spray, happy days now all we need is some sunshine and wind.
Today we head to the Skyrail terminal and catch the bus to Freshwater train station where we board the old train to Kuranda. The line up to Kuranda was built by hand back 1883, many migrants died whilst working on this project one tunnel at 400metres long took 2 years to build. An amazing effort back in those days. The views from out of the windows of the train were amazing and it is a 90-minute journey up to Kuranda. Even the sun has come out today. We spend the day looking around the old town and markets and enjoy German Knackwurst and Beer for lunch. With time on our side we go to the Butterfly Sanctuary and see some amazing butterflies, the colors and size of these were mind-blowing. With a quick ice-cream on the way to the Skyrail terminal our day was almost over except for the 40-minute cable car ride back over the mountains back down to the car. The kids loved the ride which takes you above the rain forest canopy below. We hop out at Barron Falls for some photos and the boys ask if they can go on without us to the next stop in their own cable car, no worries. When we join the small queue to get back into the cable cars the boys get put in with 3 Korean tourists the look on there faces as the door shuts and we wave them goodbye is priceless. We all meet up at the next stop and have a good laugh before the final cable car and photo into the terminal. We have tea at the Pier Bar right on the waterfront the food is amazing and so are the lights that light up the trees around the parks and pathways.
Got up early this morning and watched England beat Columbia in a penalty shootout for the world cup. We head back out to the Armory Museum and go down to the shooting gallery. Alex and I are first and we have 10 shots each on a .22 rifle into a target 25 metres away. Then I have 10 shots with a WW1 German Musser 7.62 caliber rifle. Well the recoil was like being punched in the chest and the noise was an explosion. Harrison and Morgan up next with 10 shots each on the .22 rifle which they both got 8 out 10 shots in the middle grey area. Then they had 5 shots each with a pump action 203 rifle. They loved it and shot really well. Then we surprised the kids with another adrenalin event “Go Karting”, well this was awesome fun. We had a ball, no holds barred racing. With this package they gave us 2 free games of laser tag in a huge warehouse, the boys creamed Maz, Alex and I. What a day and we finish it off with a swim and sun bathe at the Cairns lagoon. Sunny all day today, hooray.
Clear blue skies again this morning which is very welcomed. I get talking to a chap camping near us who does the reptile awareness shows at the local shopping centres, he asks if we want to have a look at George his 2 yr old saltwater croc and also his girlfriend Georgina the monitor Lizard. No worries, he opens a large esky and gets the croc out and hands it to Morgan” Don’t let go son because he will bite” he says!!!! Then he gets the Lizard out of a large white poly pipe tube from under his bed, this thing is about 1.5m long and approx. 8kgs beautiful creature. After all that excitement its free pancake morning at the caravan park and then we head into town to get the car repairs done. We spend the morning looking around the shops and marina in the city and then pick the car up late afternoon. Car is all fixed and good to go. Whilst Maz does some food shopping ready for our journey south me and the boys pack up the annex and chairs which will save us time in the morning and also because everything is nice and dry. We head back into the city and meet up with Steve, he has only just back from the Tip of cape York after being stranded up there with car trouble. He said he was actually sleeping in his roof top tent whilst the car was in the mechanics shop even whilst it was on the hoists. He was relived to be out of there and back in civilization but still needs repairs done. Every day 3-4 cars came into the workshop after doing the Tele track in need of repairs. We enjoyed a lovely Indian curry at a small place in the centre of Cairns, it was packed with Indians and locals so it must be good. After saying good bye to Steve, we drove back to camp and went to bed dreaming of what the trip south would present. We could easily have spent longer in Cairns if the time had permitted, a really chilled, well laid out city, easy to get around and plenty to see and do. The lagoon is a beautiful spot to spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the sunshine and views of the Esplanade I’m sure we will be back up here again one day.
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