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Port Douglas and the Daintree

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 24 May 2008 | Views [2517] | Comments [2]

I honestly didn’t think that much about Port Douglas. It was pricey and the locals (we met) sneering arrogant types I haven’t memory space for.

 Just as we were leaving, Albert suggested we take a look at ANZAC park and enjoy the sunset.

Well.

A pretty little chapel with an open window showing the river’s mouth and distant mountains was a very nice beginning to the evening. They say they have two years of appointments to fill – weddings and the like.

And then! one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve experienced. It was just glorious.

Pause a moment to allow your senses to engage.

We came to a curve embankment. Cleared land boarded by palm trees.  It was flat, calm and protected and seemed perfect for early morning yoga. To the left, three layers of mountain ranges form a back drop to the flowing wide river. The water is glowing and rippling, flashing the reflection of the last flames of the sun. In front of us is the mouth of the river as it feeds the wide immensity of the ocean. There’s only the graceful curves of yachts to break the line of the horizon. To the right its just the glow of the water and the blaze in the sky.

There was a stillness in the air. We could hear the rush of waves against the rocks. In all, it combined to create a beautiful moment in our travels and definitely a highlight.

Finally -  the Daintree

Mossman Gorge is by definition part of the Daintree. Everything I have to say from here on it in awe of the beauty of the place and in praise of creation.  (Apart from my unhappiness of the screaming cows I will mention for comic relief later on) If expressions of ‘ohhhh, its lovely’ irritate you, you can stop reading now and just know its pretty up that way.

Mossman Gorge is enchanting. Its delicate and thriving, the waters clear, the sand grainy and gorgeous to touch. It’s a place of creation and initiation.

There are picturesque boulders reminiscent of Girraween and a very cool hanging bridge to walk across.

We slept in the Daintree village on the banks of croc infested waters. Well, ‘slept’. Just across the little river from where we were situated there was some sort of pen for cows.  (Do we ‘pen’ cows, or what?) Those cows bellowed non stop ALL night apart from between 2:30am – 5:00am. How do I know, you ask? Albert and Jett, possessing a combination of more tiredness and owning less sensitive ear drums,  slept through it. ‘What cows?’ Humph. Sometimes its nice to have company in your suffering.  

The area was pretty though!!

We saw a Cassowary!

The Daintree National Park is wow with a capital W.  Pretty pretty. There are boardwalks to explore mangroves and rainforest. 

You feel at the mercy of nature. It rains suddenly. The sun comes out in full impact.  The wind picks up without warning. There are little indications of life everywhere. Insects, animal droppings, paw prints on the sand, birds with different shapes than I’m used to, and intensity. Its so full of life. You breath it. Its heavy. There are too many things happening at once. I see the cycle of life and death in vibrant reality. I’m reminded of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

And we saw a Cassowary!

Albert had a non stop mantra going ‘cassowary, croc’ that some times he’d add  ‘playboy mansion’, in hope of viewing order.  Finally he knocked ‘cassowary’ off the list of musts. (Please don’t think you will be original in somehow referring to Albert’s ‘must’ see of the Playbloy mansion. No, he hasn’t seen it, and no, we have no plans to venture into that field of travel. Thank you.)

We slept at Thornton Beach. Absolutely illegally a local told us later. Sorry about that. We’re so used to signs everywhere saying ‘no camping’, so if it doesn’t say it, we camp. However, I experienced one of the great sunrises and yoga mornings of my life, so a little bit of unwitting bending the law seems a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.

The results justify the means, yes?

During the night both Albert and I woke simultaneously to the sound of footsteps. I was absolutely SURE ‘they’ stopped suddenly and I was waiting with held breath for ‘something’. But nothing. We had gripped each other’s hand in a moment of mutual ‘what if something terrible and irrational happens’. And as we are here to tell the tale, nothing did. In hindsight, and after hearing the noise several times since then, I will make the claim that it was the rather common scrub fowl passing by our van.

We heard waves all night and I slept like the dead (apart from the footstep moments).

A benefit of being in such high humidity is the liquid sensation of the air on the skin when engaging in yoga and qigong. It gives weight to the theory of chi or prana.

When you’re on one of the pretty beaches its burning in the sun, and so obviously ‘beach’. But then you step inside the deep shadow of the rainforest, and its cool and lush. Its just a moment away to shift your physical reality. There’s also a boardwalk that introduces the middle  point that exists in places along the coast. The mangroves. A fascinating place of low oxygen soils and innovative root design.

We saw a cassowary!!!  It (not sure of its sex) was positioned in the middle of a creek. I was surprised at the luxuriousness of the feathers across its body. I was surprised that it stuck its head into the water too.  There are only about 1000 of the birds left. Its numbers decreasing with its diminishing habitat. Heard that story some where before. But there are signs everywhere and noticeboards and a lot of information about Cassowaries in the Daintree.  

We saw fireflies!!! Albert called me urgently from outside the van. I was like ‘yeah yeah, take a chill pill’ and he sounded a bit cross when I didn’t arrive pronto. Finally I put down what I was doing, and he pointed out the bright light floating nearby. Special! Magical moments. We only saw two, and only in that moment.

Daintree icecream company

At a pretty little property we ate low sugar ice cream. It was $5 for a scoop of four flavours. We were lucky enough to taste - black sapte (chocolate fruit), macadamia, wattle seed, raspberry.  They have the black sapte growing on the property, so we could see the amazing fruit on the tree.  Its not available for eating until Christmas, so we’ll have to wait to taste the fruit.  My favourite was the wattle seed.

I’m finishing this post off as we sit by the coast between Cairns and Townsville. The beaches here are, as all the brochures state, spectacularly pretty. I have to admit, that although the Daintree and the Rainforest area is a must see, I’m happy to be further south. The air is less full. I was beginning to feel suffocated up there. The trees began to loom over me and the richness of the vegetation was beginning to overpower me.

I can breath here. I feel less weight and more suited to wider spaces.

And we never saw a croc.  I guess we'll be destined to visit the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary to see one.. 

Tags: allwelcome, ambassador van, t a j

Comments

1

You are SUCH a good writer.
It is soo interesting to read about what yous are up to. Brrrrilliant. Dead impressed.
I am commenting all of your posts - just because I'm a fan of yous, and a fan of travel writing. (Also because I'm amazing, loyal and humble.)

Soon then.

  Katareenaa Jun 2, 2008 3:40 AM

2

You're a gem Kat!

  allwelcome Jun 2, 2008 5:55 PM

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