31.07.2010 30 °C
Today we left the Port Douglas area and headed south along the coast on the captain cook highway. It has been unusually rainy in this area....rain every day and every night. We were very fortunate that when we woke up it was not raining!! To took advantage of the lull in precipitation and packed up our campsite by 8:08am!! The drive to Kurrimine Beach Big4 camp ground took about 3 hours with a picnic stop in InnisFail. Kurrimine Beach is right opposite the King Reef in the Great Barrier Reef. In “normal” winters in Queensland Australia, you can, at low tides, walk right out to the King Reef and do a bit of snorkelling. This close proximity to the reef was our motivation to stay in the Kurrimine area. Well, low and behold, due to the odd weather system that Australia is experiencing, (this area has broken a 47 year record for the amount of rain in the month of July.) the King Reef is very hard to get too (due to high waves) and, if you were to tackle the waves, would be hard to see due to the stir up sand etc due to the high winds and large waves. So we are going to have to modify our plans. Still tons to do in this area.
Our new home at Kurrimine Beach Big 4 has a large swimming pool, a large jumping pillow, nice camp kitchen with a fridge where we can store our food and make ice for our esky (AKA cooler), a tv and dvd/vhs movies to watch, a Wii etc. I think our kids will be entertained!
One of the things that we wanted to do when here at Kurrimine Beach was snorkel on the inner reef of the Great Barrier Reef. Today we went in to Mission Beach, the closest community to our campsite, and enquired about going to Dunk Island to snorkel, beach comb etc. Due to weather conditions around Dunk Island, we decided to book a boat tour to Frankland Islands instead.
After booking the tour we decided to do the beach walk along Mission Beach and the Bicton Summit walk (within a national park). The beach was beautiful, but it was so hot and actually sunny (What a great surprise!!), that we decided to do the rainforest walk, (in shade) instead of spend more time on the beach. The walk started with a warning that there are stingers in this rainforest. No, they were not referring to the fish, but rather a plant that, if you touched, they would inject neurotoxins into you...even the dead leaves would do this!!! After carefully taking in the shape, size, characteristics of the stinger plant we headed out in the wild rain forest! After a sort distance into the tramp we saw Pandanus which are the razor sharp grass blades we blogged about before. These rather vicious plants are good incentive not to wander off of the track if the thought of deadly spiders, crocodiles in the rivers, and snakes was not enough of a deterrent!!! This hike was a tough climb....it may only have been a 4 km hike in but it was mostly up. With high humidity, we were all feeling rather sweaty! By the time we got to the top look out, the fog was rolling in over the beautiful view of Dunk Island and Mission Beach. On the hike down we were blessed once again with rain.
Bicton Summit Video
This rain was actually appreciated by us for it cut the humidity and also cooled us off a bit.
Just before dinner tonight we went for a walk along Kurrimine beach. Scattered along the edge of this beach are coconut trees. Ayden’s mission during the walk was to get one of these coconuts out of a tree. He was successful! His next task of course was to get at the coconut! Back at the camp kitchen with the help of only a spoon and a lot of determination, he was able to peel the husk off the coconut (a very hard thing to do) and get at the coconut itself. What was funny and also very entertaining was the various people camping here who would come in and out of the kitchen and be entertained by Ayden’s efforts. It was also a great conversation starter!! When Ayden finally was able to ‘milk’ the coconut, all the people in the kitchen cheered for him...good fun! He then shared the coconut round with the people who wanted to eat some. It was a very tasty coconut. We are thinking that we will have to do a repeat of this whole endeavour!
Ayden and the Coconut
The destination for today is Frankland Island.
Rising at 6:00am in order to catch our boat to the island was a bit of a rude awakening (yes, we have slipped into holiday hours in the morning!!! ). After a quick breakfast we were off. The boat ride took us first down a river (no we did not see any crocs even thought there were tons of notices about them), and then out into the ocean for about a 30 minute trip. Frankland Island is gorgeous! Incredible blue ocean, white sand, and to top it all off, a blue sky! Our first desire once on the island was to get out snorkelling. From this snorkel we discovered the difference between the inner reef and the outer reefs in the Great Barrier Reef. In the inner reef you would see a few bowl of coral and fish here and there, whereas in the outer reef we would see coral for as far as the eye could see. Of course, we have seen only 2 reefs so this may be a HUGE generalization on our part. If we are wrong, please correct us. Anyway, this inner reef left us some what disappointed for 2 reasons...1) there were just patches of coral here and there, 2) the water was not crystal clear due to the water turbulence over the past week or so. This made viewing the fish and coral a bit harder and picture taking basically impossible. Despite this mild disappointment we are still very glad that we had the opportunity to see this inner reef and, fortunately, we still had a whole Island to explore!! Most of this exploration was in the form of beach combing. Claire was in heaven!!!!!!
Claire with a Hermit Clam Shell; Frankland Islands
You could not take a single step without seeing coral, shells, etc. We spent hours looking at all these wonderful treasures. Found a few nice pieces that will grace the shelves of Claire’s room. (Keep your fingers crossed that we can get them through customs!!!) Of course, playing in the 25 degree water and waves was a very easy way to pass the day away!
Our day finished off with a “sausage sizzle” that was put on by the owners of the campground that we are staying at. Sausage here are like hotdogs in Canada...taste more pork flavour in them, but they are still great to eat after a day out on the water. This event was a nice chance to meet and chat with the various other guests that are staying at this campground. The huge bonus was that we did not have to figure out what to eat for dinner or cook it or clean up after it!! BONUS!!!!
A lazy day. Started with a late breakfast around 8:30, then a walk on the beach. It was sunny all day except for about 10 minutes when we got a tiny bit of rain. The kids went for a swim in the pool before lunch and Gwen and I joined them. There was a huge rubber air dock and floating toy that we played king of the castle on. We won’t say who won that, although the walking back and forth on the floating dock trying to stay up whilst the other members of the family threw beach balls at you was definitely not Paul’s forte.
A young man who is travelling with his girlfriend and her cousin caught a stingray today. He fried it up and gave us some to taste. It was good and tasted just like regular fish, but a new experience all the same.
Speaking of food. Take a look at Freaky Food 3#