KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Six

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DATECONTENTSINTEREST
Late August 2001KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Seven
18 August 2001Cairns Tourists
Family
10 August 2001Hinchinbrook to Cairns
Family
4 August 2001Still More Aussie Signs
Mixed
2 August 2001Hinchinbrook Island
Family
July 2001KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Five

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This is the sixth webpage of our cruise covering the year 2001. The purpose of the cruise webpages is to let family and friends know what is going on in our lives. The "Interest" column identifies the target audience, and is intended to spare you baby-picture slide-show agony. This is one long continuous page, and clicking on any of the underlined dates above should jump your screen to the appropriate section on this page (or you can use the scrollbar on the right to navigate up and down this page). Joe Siudzinski

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18 August, 2001 -- Cairns Tourists

We spent a busy week in Cairns, catching up on laundry, e-mail, current movies, and this website. In addition to local sightseeing, we rented a car and went for a long one-day jaunt up the coast and then inland with friends Ray and Sally Roth off the FastBack 43' cat "Raptor". This area is already in the tropics, with rain forests in the valleys close to the ocean - what surprised me is that just a little inland the mountain plateaus are relatively un-humid.

Our first sightseeing excursion was a very long airborne gondola ride ("Skyrail") above a lush tropical forest, with nature-walk stops along the way. The trees are unbelievably tall, with a thick leafy canopy over everything. The photos from above failed to convey how awe-inspiring they are .

[Kathy Skyrail] View looking backwards down to the ocean.

[Skyrail View] Rainforest looks like broccoli crowns to me.

[River Gorge] The Barron River gorge, as seen from one of the Skyrail nature walk stops.

The Skyrail excursion ended in the town of Kuranda, a typical tourist trap. Rather than be sucked into that mob scene, I elected to rent a canoe and go for a peaceful paddle up the Barron River, while Kathy enjoyed the town with friends. Little did I realize how my peace would be shattered: as I came around a bend in the river, this HUGE CROC came sliding down this very steep grassy embankment right down in front of me! I spent the rest of the time nervously looking over my shoulder into the dark and murky water as I paddled this VERY SMALL LOW-FREEBOARD canoe into some of the nooks and crannies along the river, which bordered the rain forest. I think a stream of sweat poured down the middle of my back, and it wasn't from the exertion of paddling the canoe! When I returned the canoe, I asked the attendant (who had conveniently failed to mention that a surprise might be in store for me) how long that sucker was - he laughed ("oh, so you saw him?!") and allowed as that particular croc was 2-1/2 metres long and HATED THE BRIGHT YELLOW CANOES. He then proceeded to laughingly tell me about the terrified tourists who would frantically come paddling back after seeing crocs. It turns out that in this river there are only freshwater crocs, which are normally not too aggressive (especially compared to their saltwater brethren). What had surprised me about the croc (other than its size - somehow, I thought they only grew big in zoos) is how high up the steep bank it was, and what a racket and splash it made when it came crashing down - almost doing a bellyflop! For some reason, Kathy wasn't envious of my canoe trip.

[Barron River] The Barron River (as seen from the Skytrain), where my peaceful little canoe trip was so rudely disturbed.

[Kuranda Train] The return trip from Kuranda is down the mountain on a picturesque old train (the cars dating back to WWI).

[Kuranda Train] Kathy enjoying the views.

[Kuranda Train] Fairly long train to handle all the tourists.

We rented a car and drove up the coast to the Daintree River, where we went on boat excursion to check things out before possibly taking KatieKat up there. Between the snakes in the trees and the critters in the water, I don't think so...

[Daintree River] View as we went up one of the tributaries of the Daintree River. A little further up the trees overhung the river such that getting a mast through the tangle would be impossible.

[Croc] This is not Disneyland - he's real!

[Croc] He's big!

[Croc] We came back about fifteen minutes later and he had moved! Note the skidmark in the mud to his right.

[Croc] Another one.

[Croc] Can you spot the baby croc?

We continued our trip inland and went for a long hike along Mossman Gorge, a nice rain forest alongside a stream. No crocs, but pretty European backpackers taking a swim in the warm mountain stream - what a contrast to the ice-cold water of streams in the Sierras!

[JoeKathy Stream] Photo taken during the hike in Mossman Gorge.

[JoeKathy Fig Tree] By a fig tree. The tree buttresses can be massive and are needed to support the trees which grow well over 100 feet upwards.

[JoeKathy Anthill] These mounds were scattered all over the place and looked like rocks. They're anthills (I've subsequently learned that they are termite mounds), and this one was rather small - others were as tall as we are.

[Joe Pushing Rock] I will not grow up!

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10 August, 2001 -- Hinchinbrook to Cairns

From Cardwell, peacefully sailed up to Dunk Island and got a little exercise with a three-hour hike around this beautiful island. From there, a brief sail to overnight at Mourilyan Harbour, then on to Fitzroy Island for another overnight stint as the weather deteriorated, and finally a nice downwind zoom in a 25-knot breeze to Half Moon Bay Marina behind Yorkeys Nob just north of Cairns.

[Scenic View] Just another pretty view in paradise - KatieKat as seen from the beach on Dunk Island.

[KK Plane] Hmm, parked on the flight path to paradise. Photo taken by neighboring Ray Roth on the 43' catamaran "Raptor".

[KK Ship Plane] Not only on the flight path, but here's a little cruise ship that started to anchor next to us. Paradise can get crowded! Happily, they moved away.

[Plane] As we were sailing up to Fitzroy Island (just flying the spinnaker, no mainsail) we were buzzed by the Australian Coastal Patrol who then came on the radio and wanted to know some details about us. The government has a very active and intensive effort at keeping drugs and illegal immigrants out of the country.

Kathy posing in front of Frankland Islands
(for the benefit of friend Brenda Frankland)
[Frankland Islands] [Frankland Islands]

[Cairns] That's Cairns in the distance. Tried to show how windy it was as we sailed past.

[Sign Crocs Marina] At our marina - what, me worry...?

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4 August, 2001 -- Still More Australian Signs

[Crocodile Warning] And you thought I was kidding! The Estuarine crocodiles ("Salties") are the big mean ones you don't want to mess with! The males can grow up to 7m (22'), although most are less than 5m. They are very cunning - will observe humans for any repetitive patterns and then lie in wait (e.g., guys don't pee off the same spot on the boat every time, and on shore look over your shoulder as they've been known to sneak up behind someone fishing on a bank).

After hearing of many stories regarding crocs and boat tenders (we've been told they love to pop inflatables - but then, Aussies have a great sense of humor... at least I think they were kidding...), we just secured BikeBoat to the targa bar ... something about being exposed with flashing legs blithely pedalling along...

[Crocodile Warning] What I found cute is that the green sign shows swimming permitted between the flags ... does that mean the crocs know they shouldn't go there?

[Witchcraft Sign] I kid you not!

[Macca's Sign] Macca's?

[Car Care Sign] Complete car care includes panel beating! That's ok: imagine what Australians think when we call it a Body Shop!!

[4x4 Sign] Yes, SNORKELS - they're a common sight! There are many photos around of SUV's fording flooded streams with water up to the hood (bonnet). Seems that most are diesel, anyway, so as long as the intake has air coming in the darn things can chug along underwater... must be hell on the carpeting.

[Drag-Away Sign] Don't mess with this boss!
"Tow-Away" is the expression normally used in Australia, as it is in the US.

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2 August, 2001 -- Hinchinbrook Island

Continued our wandering up the coast from Townsville - anchored at Magnetic Island, Orpheus Island, and the spectacular but most uncomfortably bouncy Zoe Bay on the east side of Hinchinbrook Island (that night a strong east wind brought in some miserable swells and chop). So exhausted were we the following morning that we didn't even take BikeBoat ashore and climb up to the allegedly beautiful pool and waterfall for a swim. Instead, we sailed around the island and went up peaceful Gayundah Creek off Hinchinbrook Channel separating the island from the mainland. Dropped anchor and veg'd out for a couple of days in a wonderously serene and isolated anchorage amongst the mangroves - warm weather, but still too cool for mozzies.

[Approaching Zoe Bay] Approaching Zoe Bay on the east side of Hinchinbrook Island.

View aft in Zoe Bay while it was still calm
[Zoe Bay Anchorage] [Zoe Bay Anchorage] [Zoe Bay Anchorage] [Zoe Bay Anchorage]

[Main Saloon] Kathy ready to throw the pillow at me for showing the mess in our main saloon as we motor up the Hinchinbrook Channel.

[Kathy Hinchinbrook Channel] Approaching Gayundah Creek.

Anchored in Gayundah Creek.
Note the moon in the righthand photo.
[Joe in Gayundah Creek Anchorage] [Gayundah Creek Anchorage] [Gayundah Creek Anchorage] [Gayundah Creek View]

[Gayundah Creek Mudbank] The tide is out.
Can you spot the CROCODILES on the mudbank?
We can't either (but there is this unexplained track in the mud...)

Nervousness about crocodiles? Nah...
[Kathy Binoculars] [Kathy Binoculars] [Kathy Binoculars] [Kathy Binoculars]

[Gayundah Creek Rainbow] A very serene place, indeed.

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