Forgetfulness, Fishing Firsts and Monsters From The Deep

Forgetfulness

Weather was tipped to be good so I snuck out of work to get things ready for a reef trip from Lucinda.

I packed the boat up whilst the husband packed the car (good teamwork) and we headed off up to my weekend happy place. By weekend happy place I mean our fishing caravan at Lucinda Wanderers Holiday Village. A place of rest, relaxation and best of all a fishing launch pad!

About an hour twenty up the highway, Mike turns to me and asks if i had put the food in the car. “Food?” I asked, “I thought you were doing that”. Well we had a chuckle (honestly!), as we had left all the chilled food back at home in the fridge! So after a quick pit stop into Woolies at Ingham we eventually made it to my happy place.

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Just checking the boat is still there!

We headed out early Saturday morning, weather was pretty great, only a small breeze and small swell. Half way across the paddock heading out to the reef I had a niggling sensation in my little happy brain. I turned to Mike and asked if he had put the bungs in. He replied “no that is usually your job to check”. It was too (my job!). Ooops, so we pulled up and I leaned over to pop them in. Oh that was better at least we wouldn’t sink and my brain went back to feeling happy without any odd niggling sensations.

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Beautiful morning

Talking of bungs, I am usually quite religious about checking them before I get up on the boat to launch it. This comes from learning the hard way up in the NT where there is a crocodile for every 2 meters of waterway.

In a billabong called Corroboree up in the NT I learnt my lesson about how important it is to check the bungs before launching the boat. Corroboree is well-known for having loads of huge crocodiles and we had put the boat in for a day of chasing Barramundi. Not long after launching we heard a funny noise and noticed water was coming out of the side of the boat. We realised it was the bilge pump and then it dawned on us, we didn’t put the bungs in! So being the true gentleman that my husband is, he volunteered to croc watch while I leaned over the side of the boat and popped the bungs in. Luckily I was pretty quick and got them in without getting my arm chewed off by a crocodile that my gentleman of a husband didn’t see because it was lurking under the water. Hence lesson learned!

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Just one of the many crocs in Corroboree

Now my husband and I have a robust discussion about when the bungs should go in. He tells me all the time we should put the bungs in before we leave home. I am more of the opinion that we should put them in at the boat ramp. This opinion has been formed from my time in Darwin when I was driving home from the boat ramp one day and we had the most almighty downpour. Now in Darwin when it rains, it buckets it down. The bungs were still in the boat and I had to pull over (I could not see where I was driving the rain was that hard). All I could see in my mirrors was the boat filling with water and sloshing over the sides. I had to jump out and take the bungs out so the boat could drain before I could set off again. Needless to say I got very wet! But I must concede that in the this instance he might be right (don’t tell him I said so ladies!), the bungs probably should be in before we go anywhere, less chance of forgetting!

Fishing Firsts

Back to the story at hand ……… we headed out to the Great Barrier Reef, targeting some spots around Bramble Reef. The first spot we pulled up at we dropped down some squid bait and bang! Onto a fish straight away, (well done skipper for getting us on the spot). After pulling up a few undersized Coral Trouts and miscellaneous reef fish I caught my first Red Emporer. Ok it was only a juvenile but it was a beauty.

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Juvenile Red Emporer (my first ever)

A few more reef fish and then a beauty of a Pink-Eared Emporer (another first for me). This one went 39cm and I was very proud of it, but released it healthy to fight another day.

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Pink-Eared Emporer (another first for me)

We did notice a lot of big sharks around and Mike brought in a head of a rather large reef fish, yes just the head, the rest was dinner for one of the many sharks around. We moved around a bit to see if we could find any larger fish but they all seemed to be on holiday!

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We are very lucky up here, with the beautiful ocean, colourful reef and abundance of fish and marine life. We saw several turtles, large schools of tuna and leaping fish throughout the day. For me, the enjoyment comes from being out on the water, with my favourite skipper (husband), catching lot’s of beautiful fish and releasing them to fight another day. I like catching big fish, but the little ones give me the same enjoyment, especially when they are as beautiful as the Coral Trouts or Emporers. It not all about the size ladies!!!

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Turtle having a swim

We did notice a few Remora (you know, the sucker fish) swimming around and hiding under the boat, but we never thought anything of it until I hooked up and had a bit of a fight on my hands. I thought it was a shark at first until I got it up enough to see, it was a Remora. As I was bringing it in it decided to attach itself to the underside of the boat. Boy oh boy do these stick, like really stick. After several attempts to pull it off, prise it off and coax it off the underside of our boat, I resigned myself to the fact that it was not going anywhere, it was definitely stuck!

So Mike decided that we should drive off and see if he pops off himself. So off we went, slowly at first but still he was not budging. After a couple of minutes up on the plane he decided he would let go and I had to reel him in again, this time making sure he didn’t get close to the boat again!

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We decided we would start heading back in and have a fish at a few spots on the way. We saw plenty of tuna and bait busting up but could not get near them to throw a slice, they move so fast! We stopped at a spot a friend of ours put us on and had a look around. There really was nothing to note coming up on the sounder but we thought we would drop a line in any way and see if something was swimming by.

Monsters From The Deep

Mike hooked up a beautiful Cobia and had a fun time trying to get the guy in the boat. I then hooked up on something large that started taking line, I tried and tried to get it in the boat but it snapped off and I lost it.

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Mike’s Cobia

Feeling a bit knackered and deflated I dropped my line down again and then hooked up on a Gold Spot Trevally, this was not huge but did put up a great fight.

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Gold Spot Trevally

Last cast of the day saw me hook up something huge. It started taking line like nobody’s business and I could only gain back a quarter of what it was taking. As I saw my line being stripped off the reel Mike put the boat in reverse to make it easier for me to wind in. This thing was heavy and a dead weight. It was not really giving me head shakes it would just take off then sink to the bottom. Trying to gain line back was nearly impossible and it felt like I was trying to lift the sea floor! Twenty minutes of reeling and fighting and I was getting real tired. Mike was helping by backing the boat up and I was gaining line back from this monster. Problem was I was tiring quicker than the fish!!!! Then the inevitable happened. DINK, the line snapped at the hook and the monster (what ever it was) swam off to live and fight another day.

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After that we decided to call it a day, and what a wonderful day it was. I was going back to our fishing caravan, sore and weary but a happy girl, having a wonderful day out on the water with my husband!

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Trip to the Tip (no, not the rubbish dump)

The Tip

Well I guess any blog about Cape York would not be complete without a story about our trip to the Northernmost Point of the Australian Continent.

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We set out from Loyalty beach and took the back road (dirt tracks) up through small creek crossings and the beautiful Lockerbie Scrub to the Croc Tent. The Croc Tent is a unique souvenir shop situated at the junction of the Punsand Bay and Cape York roads. It sells absolutely everything you could possibly want as a souvenir of your trip to the top. We stopped in to pick up some t-shirts, stubby coolers and other assorted paraphernalia to prove we had been there.

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Now Linda, who is a shopaholic, had a field day in there, we had been without any shops or stores for about a week now, so she was intent on getting her fix! When we had finally managed to drag her away we continued on the Pajinka road on the way to the Tip. Pajinka, is the Aboriginal name for the land at The Tip, the lands traditional owners are the people of Injinoo.

On the road in we saw the ruins of the old Pajinka Wilderness Lodge. This was originally opened as a five star resort for pilots in 1986 (called the Cape York wilderness Lodge) and had several owners throughout the years. It was sold to the Injinoo Aboriginal Cooperation in 1992 and renamed the Pajinka Wilderness Lodge. It closed in 2002 never to be opened again and now is a curiosity of derelict infrastructure in the middle of nowhere, rapidly being overtaken by tropical rainforest.

We arrived at the car park for the short walk to the tip. It was then that we found out we had a short walk over the headland to get to the tip itself. Now it is worth mentioning that we got there quite early. We did not really want to spend time queuing to get our photo taken so we thought we would try and beat the hoards and coach loads by arriving early.

As we started the small climb over the headland. The view from the peak was amazing, looking out over the pristine waters of the Arafura sea to the York and Eborac Islands.

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At the top of the climb, before you start the descent to the tip, there is a monument that makes you realise just how far away you are from the rest of Australia.

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On this disc are the distances for places around the world and it makes you stop and think that at this moment you are closer to Papa New Guinea (Daru, 190km and Port Moresby, 320km) than Cairns (770km) or Brisbane (2120km). Just wow!

It was about this time that we realised one member of our party (Linda) was carrying her very large handbag with her. Hmm, bit of a strange item to lug all the way to the tip (unless of course it is filled with beer). This was the stage that we found out something very unique about Linda. We always knew she liked to wear branded clothes and put great store in the finer things in life (well why wouldn’t you). We were unsure however when she would be wearing her diamonds and pearls on a trip to the Cape. You see the reason she had brought her handbag with her on the trek was because it contained (yes you have guessed it) her jewelry. Instead of leaving these items at home in her safe in her alarmed house she had felt safer bringing her expensive jewelry with her! Unfortunately for Linda we did have a good giggle about this for the next two weeks (and longer).

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Once down the other side we did the obligatory photos and beer at the tip. We were very lucky to have the area to ourselves for quite a while so many happy snaps were taken whilst sipping beer and marveling at the sights.

If you like what you have read check out some of my other stories of our Pozzie adventures

Cape York – Sights, Fish and Fun

Jump, Snatch, Blow and Winch

Henrietta Creek Camping Adventure

On the Hunt for Sooty Grunter

Bivouac Junction Holiday Camp is just outside of Charters Towers in North Queensland. The Drabbles and ourselves decided we needed to go for a weekend of camping and fishing so we packed up the tent, camper trailer and fishing rods and off we went.

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It was very dry and dusty when we arrived, but we were assured there was water in the river and creek systems around the area, so we were happy enough.  Once our camp was set up, we got the fire going and started our own dinner prep. After dinner, with a few beers round the camp fire we planned the following day’s exploration and fishing.

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We were after some sooty grunter in the surrounding creeks and rivers and Drabs was the authority on where, how and with what to catch them. So, we woke early in the morning, and after a bit of brekky we found out that Di did not sleep very well last night. It seemed that the peacocks and snoring generally kept her awake. Well we could not do anything about the peacocks but we move dour tent away from their camper trailer to try and eliminate the snoring noises (just anote to say it was not me snoring by the way).

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Once we had cleaned up our camp and loaded our respective vehicles with fishing paraphenalia and lunch, we set off to find some not so dry creek beds down which we could drive in search of the elusive sooty.

Now there is always a lot of banter between Drabs and Mike, Patrol vs Prado, whose 4wd is better, who knows more about off road driving, who is the true blue “Aussiest”! This makes for some light entertainment for Di and I listening to them and their growing list of over exaggerated claims. Mike and I were relatively new to the whole 4×4 driving thing and I always deferred to Drabs on the fishing front (after all he has been doing it most of his life and I have only been fishing for about 10 years).

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Following the Drabbles we pulled off the highway onto a dry creek bed and promptly came to a halt. Drabs had got his Patrol stuck in the soft sand and we hadn’t even gone 200 yards! Well we laughed and laughed, cracking some jokes about Patrol’s vs Prado’s (like you do), as he pulled his Maxtraxs out and let his tyres down. We also reduced our tyre pressure and set off down the creek bed in search of the elusive sooty.

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We fished a few of the deeper areas of the creek and Drabs caught a couple of good sooty (I got nothing, but it was not for lack of trying). The area had narrow bands of water running over rocks with low hanging trees and good shaded areas where the sooty hang out. Perfect fishing country. After a big wet out here the creeks and rivers are in full flood, water rushing over the rocks, uprooting trees and flooding up to the banks. Unfortunatley the area had been in drought for quite a while and the creek beds were mainly sand with the creek running shallow and narrow in many places.

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Now Drabs is a diehard fisherman and he decided the other bank was the place to be so off he went, walking and swimming across the creek with rod held high out of the water. This was bit too hardcore for me, even though we were in fresh water I was still concerned about crocodiles and other nasties lurking unseen. He got to the other side with only a few little mishaps such as falling down a couple of big holes and almost losing his hat in the water, but his rod was kept dry and above his head at all times (told you he was diehard).

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As we sat on the bank relaxing and keeping an eye on him over the other side (to make sure he did not disappear down a hole or become croc bait) we heard a big whoop and he was on. He got a couple of nice sooty for his troubles. I looked on, enviously, but still not game enough to venture over. I was a bit chicken I suppose but even though I love fishing there are just some lengths I would not go to get the elusive sooty.

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After a spot of lunch, we ventured further down the creek bed and reached an area where we needed to cross the creek. Like a true blue Aussie Drabs took one for the team and went first. It took him a few attempts to get across, going backward and forward, trying not to get bogged in the middle. It was not deep but the sand was very soft (apparently, although the Prado made it in one go!). Maybe the Patrol did not like getting its feet wet!

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So off we set again and to find another likely fishing spot. As we were driving I looked out of my window to see the Patrol struggling to get up a very, very, very, small bump of sand. I pointed this out to Mike and we had a bit of a giggle. Reaching for the radio I asked if the Patrol would like a little push from our Prado to assist with the massive obstacle it was facing. For some reason Drabs did not find that too funny, although I am sure I could hear Di laughing in the background! After a few attempts the Patrol managed to climb Everest and we got back on the route down to the creek.

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Drabs caught several sooty grunters that day and I even bagged myself a little on. Unfortunately, I cannot find the picture of it, but I did catch one (honestly!). But truth be told it was a lovely couple of days spent in good company and exploring different scenery and having a few laughs along the way.

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Check out Bivouac Junction Holiday Camp and the surrounding creeks for your own sooty adventure.

https://www.facebook.com/bivouacjunction/

Crab Claw Island, NT

Before I start this blog, I would just like to point out 4 things that we learnt during this trip away:

  • A dome tent was not made for marriage tranquillity (or for us either!).
  • Listening to families getting together around a campfire, playing instruments and singing is much better than sitting on your electronic device all through the evening.
  • Just because the sign says “10mins to McDonalds” does not mean you have to beat that time.
  • Wow the tides are huge up in the top end and you run out of water really quick.

All will be revealed, but for now let me set the scene:

Crab Claw Island is in the beautiful Bynoe Harbour, Northern Territory, just 130km’s by road from Darwin. This was where we decided to go for our first major camping holiday, towing the boat. Now the road into the resort can be a bit rough and lumpy for the 36km’s from the Cox Peninsula road especially after a heavy wet season. We did not have a 4wd at the time, so my poor old Rav4 had to tow the boat in through dirt and rough terrain. So, we took it slowly over some of the bigger cracks and divots, so as not to hurt or upset her (she is a little high maintenance, but don’t tell her I said so!) but made it in without any trouble whatsoever.

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We pulled up at our camp spot and busily set about getting our tent up and getting our camp organised. We had bought one of those cheap dome tents from BCF and we both thought “how hard can this be?” well as it turns our quite hard actually. After struggling for a while with a few choice words between us we eventually got the tent up and forgave each other for all the bad things we said while doing so!

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Lesson number 1 – go out and buy a 30 sec OzTent when we get home. Most certainly a marriage saver.

Once we were all set up and I had sorted out the fishing and boat gear for the morning, we started to cook dinner and settle down for the evening. Next door to us was a couple of families that were obviously camping as a group with lots of children.  Now I will be the first to admit that kids are not really my thing, they do seem to make a lot of noise when they are running around having fun (how dare they!), so camping next door to a large group was a bit disconcerting for us. As we had finished dinner and just settling down to enjoy a nice glass of wine before bed one of the children got out a guitar and started playing. The rest of the kids (and some of the adults) started to sing along and we found ourselves listening in and enjoying the ambience of the evening whilst being sung too (albeit unintentionally).

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Lesson number 2 – there are still families out there that can enjoy time together without electronic devices and facegram or instatwitter!

The morning arrived very early with the birds tweeting and the sounds of the camp stirring. We did not get much sleep that night, not due to unruly children, but due to the humidity and lack of air in our tent. But like the brave intrepid explorers we are we got the boat down to the water and set off for a day’s fishing. Bynoe harbour is a glorious place with umpteen creeks and estuary’s that hold an abundance of marine life. Or so we are told! We were still relatively new to this fishing thing and did not really catch much that day but did get to explore and see some beautiful landscapes and ocean vistas. By the middle of the afternoon we were both very hot (and tired) so we decided to pull the boat up on the sand and take a quick drive back to the nearest Bunnings to buy ourselves a fan, so we could get a good night’s sleep.

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We put the anchor up on the beach checking the rise and fall of the tide, so we would be able to retrieve the boat when we got back (being just over a 2½ hour round trip). Other boats were pulled up on the sand, so we thought, this should be no problem, give it enough anchor rope so it does not get marooned as the tide moves, she’ll be right!

Happy that the boat was going to be ok, off we set to get ourselves a bit of old fashioned air-conditioning. The drive out was much easier not towing the boat and we soon got on the Stuart highway heading towards Palmerston and the promise of a cooler night’s sleep. We were feeling quite happy as we drove up the Stuart highway, that was when we saw the sign “10 mins to McDonalds”. Now I know this was childish, but mike and I just looked at each other, obviously having the same thought “nah we can beat that time” and he put his foot down just a little bit more. That was when we came around the corner and lo and behold a speed trap was on the side of the road. Serves us right, yes, we really should not have been speeding, there is no excuse. As the police officer heads on over to us we just look at each other and shake our heads, we were old enough to know better. Now what do you say to the police officer when he asks, “what was your reason for speeding sir?” We calmly accepted the fine and drove off sedately to finish our mission.

Lesson number 3 – The sign is not a challenge it is for information only and speeding is not clever.

So, we picked up our fan and drove back to camp (under the speed limit I may add). We got back and went to find the boat. Yay it was still anchored, it had not drifted off with the big tides. The only problem was it was not in the water as such. The tide had come and gone and left us with a 5-meter tinny sat on the sand not too far from the water. So near and yet so far when you must push, and skull drag it back into the water. We gave up and went to get some dinner while we waited for the tide to come back in a bit. Eventually we did get it in the water and then back to the boat ramp without too much drama. It could have been worse, thank goodness the anchor held!

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Lesson number 4 – Always be aware of the tides (unfortunately this is a lesson we have not learnt too well but those stories are for another blog!)

So, we eventually got a good night’s sleep (due to our old fashioned aircon) and enjoyed our long weekend, fishing and exploring the beautiful area of Bynoe Harbour without any further hiccups or issues. All in all, a good weekend with some lessons learnt and even some fish in the boat.

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From the Banks of the Jardine

The Jardine river in the far north of Queensland is a huge body of water that starts in the mountains of the Great Dividing Range and meets the sea near Mutee Heads.

It is the largest perennial river in Queensland. For those of you who are a bit shy to look that up, it means it has continuous flow in parts of its river bed all year round. The catchment takes up the whole of the Jardine River National Park, about 3,282 square kilometres of mostly uninhabited country. So, needless to say, this river is huge!

It is also beautiful, remote, pristine and peaceful and has become my favourite place in Cape York.

Banks of the Jardine

We had travelled to the Cape with two other couples and spent some time up at Loyalty Beach near Bamaga. We then decided, on our way down, we would camp at the mouth of the Jardine to spend a few days off the grid, fishing and relaxing. Off we set, in convoy, heading towards Mutee Heads and then down the dirt tracks to some camping areas on the banks of the Jardine. Now one set of friends were towing a camper trailer (you may be familiar with them from my other blogs, yes it was the Drabbles). That camper trailer had issues! One set of bearings was almost shot, and the brakes were welded on. So, we took the Prado off down the tracks to ensure that the slopes and conditions were ok for the Drabbles to follow.

As we came around a corner we encountered some very deep and soft sand and oops, just like that, were stuck. So out we get, removing the max tracks and started digging. We radioed back up to the convoy to let them know not to take the right fork and set about extracting ourselves from the very, very, very soft sand. Now it was little eerie in that we had no response on the radio, we were surrounded by bush in the middle of nowhere and we were struggling to get ourselves out of the sand. In the distance we could hear a strange noise, a mixture of whining and grinding, getting louder and louder. My imagination was running away with me and I decided that we were going to be captured and sacrificed to some remote god in a spectacular fashion. The noise grew louder and as I looked over onto the other track (the one we should have taken) I saw the culprit! Here came the BT-50 freewheeling down the slope whining and grinding its way through the right-hand track sans camper trailer, (without getting stuck), to then end up in front of us, closely followed by the Greens in their Patrol and camper trailer. When they had had finished taking the good old Michael out of us and managed to stop laughing long enough, they hooked up the snatch strap our little Prado and dragged us out of the sand. Off we went again.

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(no pictures as the camera lady was a bit stressed, hot and bothered!)

We got to the banks of the Jardine and sussed out the camping areas. Mike and I decided that we would go scouting up to the mouth to see whether there were better campsites up there. Yet another mistake, second time in the same day we got stuck in very soft sand. Again, we had to get the Patrol to come and snatch us out. How very embarrassing! So, considering our failure, we decided to camp at our first stop, we just could not take any more humiliation.

(still no pictures of this as I was getting a bit cranky! Can’t think why)

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We made it back to the camp area only to find out that Di had photographed a map telling us there were bad sand bogs where we had just been. Thanks for the heads-up Di!!!!!! (With friends like that……. Need I say more!)

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The area was beautiful, we were camped in the next area along from the other two couples. Not that we are anti-social at all but there were some snoring issues coming from the Green’s camper trailer and I do not play nicely if I don’t get enough sleep! So, we set up our tent and then helped the others set up a communal area to cook and eat in front of a beautiful campfire overlooking the Jardine.

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We shared cooking duties for the next few days and I must admit the cooking, company, wine and views were amazing.

So, we got back to camp with tall tales of the huge ones that got away, over a few beers and a fantastic beef stew and dumplings. Wow another beautiful day in the far north of Queensland.

We stayed at this camp for 5 days in total, mainly because we were waiting for the bearings to be delivered to Bamaga for the Drabbles camper trailer, but also because it was amazing. The scenery was beautiful, the weather was great, the fishing was fantastic, and the company was awesome. But, as with all good things it had to come to an end and we had to head back to civilisation! (picture sad face emoji).

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So, on the morning of the 5th day we woke up and started packing up ready for the trip back to Bamaga. That is when I heard Di yelling, “Oi come and look at this!” we dutifully headed onto the beach in front of their camp and promptly freaked out to see the croc tracks leading up from the Jardine to just below their camp. The crocodile had obviously found something nice to eat just under the sand and then promptly wandered off back to the water again. In the immortal words of Steve Irwin “Crikey he was a big un!”

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Maybe it was a good idea to boot scoot out of there! So long Jardine and thanks for all the Barra!

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Henrietta Creek Camping Adventure

We thought Easter would be the ideal time to do a good shake out of our new 79 series cruiser and getaway for a long weekend of camping. We decided to travel up to the Palmerston (Doongan) Wooroonooran National Park, just inland from Innisfail, off the Palmerston Highway. Now at this time of year in the tropics the weather can be pretty much hit and miss. It was very damp (as a rainforest is intended to be) but we are pozzies and as such are used to camping in damp and wet conditions!

We pulled up at the camping area at Henrietta Creek and found that a car had been left at the entrance to our camping spot. Undeterred we pulled in and got stuck into the task of setting up.

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We had bought our trusted Oztent and after I had got up on the top of the cruiser to retrieve it we set it up under some beautiful trees. We also set up the shower tent, although the camping area did have toilets it had no shower and we wished to test out our new hottap outing setup (which was very welcome on the Saturday).

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Whilst enjoying a glass of wine the owners of the car turned up with some friends. Now I am not one to judge but they were definitely trying to pull a “swifty” and camp without paying for a permit. They tried to tell us that they thought that was the campsite they had booked and when I asked to see their booking/permit they said they did not have it. Once I had informed them that NP’s require you to display your permit they then tried to tell me they had paid at the honest box. Honestly, there is no honesty box, so once they realised that I knew what I was talking about they swiftly left. I do not understand some people as the campsite is only $6.55 pp per night, a small price to pay for such a beautiful setting with amenities! No sooner had we seen these people off, we had another visitor to our campsite. A beautiful Cassowary wandered through, completely unperturbed by us.

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Resident Cassowary

We then settled down to enjoy dinner and a good bottle of wine. That was when I found out about leeches. The area was very damp, and I was wearing the good old Aussie thongs. I looked at my foot and saw a blob of what I thought was mud stuck to my toe. I tried to wipe it off and then squealed, yuk!!!! It was a leech which I promptly removed (it came off easy enough with a bit of a pull). Then Mike got bit by an ant, and he cried out. Now it is unlike him to make a fuss, but he said it was extremely painful. Well no wonder it was painful it turned out to be a bull-ant (they inject formic acid!). So now that we were really in touch with nature we both put on enclosed shoes and finished our dinner and wine.

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Nandroya Falls

In the morning we decided to go for a walk up to Nandroya falls. The rain had stopped, and we thought we could do with the exercise. We set off armed with good walking shoes, water and camera. Now the walk is a circuit that starts just west of the camping area. The left-hand fork takes you up though the rainforest with a couple of creek crossings and across Silver falls to Nandroya. The track was slippery and wet and a bit rough in places due to the rains that had happened in the weeks before.

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The scenery was beautiful, and the creeks were running very well. It did start to drizzle again on our way up, but it didn’t bother us too much as we were mainly covered by the canopy of the rainforest. We had to remove our shoes to cross at Silver falls, and I thoroughly checked for leaches before putting them back on!

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Silver Falls

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Silver Falls

We eventually reached Nandroya falls and it was amazing. Due to the rains it was running full and what a sight it was. Such a beautiful area, but very wet!!!! It was definitely not swimming weather, but we did get some fantastic photos before we got too wet.

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Nandroya Falls

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Wet but Happy

We decided to head back down and passed a couple of other people coming up to the falls, the only people we had seen on the track. There was a sign on the track saying, “alternate route 4km’s” and we thought, why not. We could do with the extra km’s to burn off the wine the night before!

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Alternate Route, Should Be Easy

Now remember I had told you the area had had quite a bit of rain in the weeks leading up to Easter? Well this track was a bit washed out, but we kept going thinking, “it can’t be that bad or they would have closed it”. In the immortal words of the young today “Yeah, Nah”! We came across our first obstacle, a fallen tree, but we managed to navigate it very well, avoiding some stinging trees in the process. Stinging trees have attractive heart shaped leaves but believe me you do not want to brush up against them. The hollow silica-tipped hairs can cause extreme pain lasting months. So, feeling quite pleased with ourselves we continued on down the track.

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Just a Little Obstacle

That’s when we came to a big tree that had fallen across the path. We could not get over it, so we had to manoeuvre around it, which meant climbing down the side of the hill and walking around and then climbing up again! Now, we are no spring chickens (and maybe a little bit unfit), but we managed the climb carefully, getting to the other side a bit muddy but relatively unscathed. Now, from this point on you will notice I do not have too many photographs as we were concentrating on getting to the end of the track alive.

We carried on, feeling a bit worried about the state of the track ahead but knowing we could not go back. We came to another obstacle and Mike had to “wait-a-while”. For those that do not know the wait-a-whiles are vines that hang down in the rain forest with hooked barbs on them that attach themselves to you and you have to stop and extract yourself from their grasp. Once he was extracted he went to walk off and flung a wait-a-while up which caught into my bare ankle. Ouch!!!!!!! I think I screamed (it really hurt as it dug in) and then was immediately worried that others on the track may of thought that something terrible had happened (if they did hear they did not come to investigate, hmm!) So, once we were extracted again we continued on a bit scraped and bloodied.

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More Creeks

We rounded a corner and my fearless husband (who was in front) tried to warn me that the path narrowed and was very slippery. Wham! He went down and all I could think of was grabbing him before he toppled over the edge and down the ravine to the Douglas river below. As I grabbed him I braced myself against the side of the cliff and dug in. He was a dead weight hanging there (I won’t say how much of a weight) as he scrambled to get his feet underneath him. Eventually he did get a ledge to put his feet on and scrambled back up to lots of hugs from me and not a small amount of hysterical laughter. That was when we noticed he had cut his leg. Now it was not too deep, but it was bleeding. The problem there was that he is on blood thinners and does not clot very well. Not a great position to be in, especially without phone signal.

Now let me just recap. We are on a track in the middle of the rainforest, we are not sure how far we have to go, and we do not know if we can get through or if we will need to turn back and go through that all again to take the other route back down. At that moment in time we were both very tired, wet and I must admit I was slightly hysterical, alternating between laughing at our situation and fighting back the urge to sit down, burst into tears and give up (yes, I know I am a sook!)

Anyhow we did continue on, with me checking on Mikes blood loss every 100 yards, and eventually got back to the beginning of the path. As we got to the fork, we saw some tourists coming up to start the trek. We stopped and told them not to go the long way as it was hazardous. This was done with a lot of hand gesturing and slow talking as they were German tourists. It was then that I looked down and saw that two of the lads had good old Aussie thongs on! I tried to tell them that they were definitely not suitable footwear for the track ahead, but I think it was lost in translation and off they went very happy! I never did find out if they made it back alive.

We got back to camp and had a hot shower (the hottap was a godsend), then rewarded ourselves with beer and cheese all the while laughing about our adventure and how we didn’t do too bad for a couple of old pozzies!

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Yum

Due to another big rain event being predicted for the early hours of Monday morning and the fact that we had more than enough adventures for one weekend, we packed up Sunday afternoon and drove home a day early. The Cassowary put in another appearance before we left, and I got a few more photos.

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See Ya Birdy

Even though we were late getting home that night, we were very glad to get home safe and sound without anything more than a few scratches and bruises and as usual one very good camp fire story.