This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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1998 Travels September 4


I did a couple of loads of washing.

In the afternoon, we drove to Mossman. I posted letters to various people, that I have written over the past few days.

We looked in real estate agents windows – a favourite pastime of ours. We do find the lush green-ness of this area really attractive, but are aware that living here would not be so pleasant in the summer, wet season. Or when there was a cyclone!

Used public phone to call GW re our tax stuff. Bought a few groceries.

Back at Wonga, a fellow resident had caught a huge golden trevalley, off the beach. It was nearly 30lbs. They cooked it on the BBQ and we were all invited to help ourselves. It was very nice too. I cooked some chips to go with it.

09-04-1998 golden trevalley.jpg

That is a big fish!

The bad smell we noticed when up the beach yesterday has reached down here. It seems almost like some sort of chemical and makes me feel a little sick. We wonder if there has been some sort of spill from a passing ship?

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1998 Travels September 3


We had a fairly early lunch, because we wanted to go for a ride on the beach when it was low tide.

We rode as far as the mouth of the Daintree River. The sand was firm, as we thought it would be, but it was still hard work, needing constant pedalling. It was a “different” cycling experience – a bit of a Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid one. Most enjoyable and sure beats the hell out of working!

09-03-1998 04 cycling on beach Wonga to Daintree and back.jpg

Lovely wide beach at low tide

However, there was quite a nasty smell on the beach – kind of a strong, soapy odour.

We saw a big mob of migrating frigate birds fly over. They have distinctive long tail feathers.


In the mouth of the Daintree River

09-03-1998 fun on wonga beach.jpg

Hard work cycling, but what a glorious place for it

We actually cycled 12kms on the beach!

Late in the afternoon, went for a drive around some of the back roads, through the farm lands between the coast and the mountains that rise up so steeply from the relatively narrow coastal section. It was all very lush and green – such a fertile area.

Tea was a sausage and tomato stew.

We phoned K on the mobile – to tell him we have it. The signal and sound was very patchy, but at least we managed to make it work.

My mouth has been rather tender, still, today, but God it is good to be free of that acute ache!

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1998 Travels September 2


We drove to Cairns.

Went to Lake Placid Caravan Park and booked us in from 10th. We were impressed by this park when we visited H and M here. So, the commitment is made, now. I have tried my best to change John’s mind – even invoking the more pleasant weather at Wonga, with the sea breeze – but to no avail.

Checked out mobile phones and bought one. This is a first for us. It cost $50. Now we just have to figure out how to work it – and be very careful about using it. At least with public phones and phone cards, we knew exactly what we were spending each time on phone calls. And when one has to walk or drive to a phone box, it means the call is fairly necessary.

Found out that we can do an absentee vote in Cairns, ahead of the election day. Another problem solved.

Shouted ourselves to the luxury of a coffee and John had a cake. I chose not to eat.

Went to Landrover – Trinity Motors – to make them aware of issues with Truck, while it is still in warranty. Mostly – the slightly “popped” rivets in the roof. Not sure whether this is from the weight of the roof rack, with the spare wheel and jerry cans of fuel up there, as they were on the Cape trip, or from general flexing in extreme situations, like some of the creek crossings, and the bog at Ussher Point. Whatever, it will need fixing.

Then it was off to the dentist. He did the main part of a root canal filling on an upper left molar. It took a lot of anaesthetic and then he had to put some directly into the nerve. It was badly inflamed – that was not news to me! It took an hour to do – a time of great tension for me. I had pins and needles and numbness in my arms and hands, and legs/feet, but tried to relax. Kept telling myself that I had no option, and that anything was preferable to the pain of a few days ago. That session with the dentist cost $330 – more than a month of caravan park fees!

John went shopping while I was suffering and bought himself a computer atlas program on CD – only $6. He stocked up on beer and wine.

It was dark by the time we got back to Wonga. On the way, the anaesthetic began to wear off and my mouth was sore.

Tea was sausages and eggs for John. I did not want to eat!

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1998 Travels September 1


It is the first day of spring – not that it makes any difference up here. There are not the flowering bulbs and wattles of a southern spring.

We relaxed at Wonga for much of the day. Read. Walked on the beach.

My face is definitely swollen from the problem tooth. Still need Panadol sometimes, but clearly the penicillin has eased the acute problem.

08-24-1998 08 Wendy.jpg

The face is rather lopsided!

Drove into Mossman and bought groceries – $111 – and a book each from the bookshop there. That was a treat for us that cost $40.

Tea was a haricot bean stew, that I thought was quite tasty.

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1998 Travels August 31


We relaxed around Wonga. Walked on the beach. John drove up to the bottle shop at the nearby  hotel to get beer.

John has decided that we will move to Cairns before the Commonwealth Games start, and stay until after the AFL Grand Final. Although our TV reception is now better here, John thinks it will be better still in Cairns – and he will have good bowls, for when he gets sick of watching sport on TV. I would prefer to linger here, where at least I can walk on the beach instead of not having much to do around the van, in a caravan park away from the sea. Here is nice and cheap, too.

Tea was pasta with mushrooms and garlic sauce.

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1998 Travels August 30


I am feeling much better, though still with some tooth pangs. I think I am reacting somewhat to the codeine  and have a bit of a gut ache during the day.

It was a lovely day, today. The sea looked all silvery and beautiful. This is so idyllic – sitting outside, watching the sea through the palms, listening to the sound of the waves at night (at least, when the tide is in). There is a cooling sea breeze most of the time. The sea water is warm – but only for walking in the very shallow edge of the sea! Too many nasties are possible, further out.

08-30-1998 02 from Wonga Snapper Is.jpg

Snapper Island on a hazy, silvery day at Wonga Beach

John did some ironing in the morning – yes, we are being neat and civilized tidy again! He then went off to bowls again in the afternoon.

I cleaned up the van and repacked the books and maps, that we keep in a crate in Truck, to put away the Cape material, and keep out what might be relevant to the Cairns and Tablelands areas.

John phoned daughter R at lunch time – she is interested in flying up and joining us and seeing some “outback”. She is pleased to hear that we are thinking about getting a mobile phone! So, while John was at bowls, I roughed out some possible travel plans, in case she does join us: options for one, two or three weeks.

The federal election has been declared for 3 October. We will have to investigate our options for casting our votes.

John enjoyed his bowls, but the triples team is not now going to eventuate. Good – one less reason to go to Cairns!

John’s 58th birthday is coming up soon. I am still considering buying him a flight with the mail plane, up the Cape.

Some new people who have come in and are camped near us say they were at Mission Beach three days ago – they got 18 inches of rain, IN ONE NIGHT!. The water around their campervan was knee deep. I wonder if they ever have issues with floating vans there!

I still do not have much of an appetite. Tea was french toast and bacon.

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1998 Travels August 29


I felt a bit better again today, but still a bit feeble and needing regular rests and naps.

John went to the local shops and bought milk and papers.

John went to bowls at Mossman in the afternoon.

I did some putting of photos into the album, which was about the extent of the activity I felt like.

It rained really heavily, for half an hour, late in the afternoon.

The two men John played with have agreed to enter a Triples competition with him, in Cairns, in mid-September. Now that John’s aerial repairs have improved his TV pictures, he is happier about staying on here; as it is such a beautiful place to be, I would like to stay much longer. However, John thinks the Mossman Bowls Club is pretty poor – he reckons Cairns is much better for bowls. As you would expect it to be, given their relative sizes!

So – I do not like my chances of persuading him to linger here as long as I’d like to. I found Cairns uninteresting, earlier in the year. I love having the beach here, to go for long walks on, and we do not have to go far to visit some great spots.

Tea was apricot chicken and rice.

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1998 Travels August 28


John went off early and phoned the local dentist, at his home. His wife, quite rightly, wouldn’t allow him to be spoken to, but made a 10am appointment. When John came back and told me of this, I managed to convince him to cancel it – the local guy made it clear back in June that he can do no more, and the pain does seem to be easing a little. I know John was only trying to help, but there is no instant fix in this case. I continued taking the Panadeine Forte. Think the penicillin might be working by now – it usually takes a day or two to kick in, and that has helped by reducing the infection that must be in there.

I felt pretty weak and washed out and spent most of the day sleeping/resting.

John washed Truck inside and out, which took hours!


Thoroughly cleaning Truck involves much unpacking – and then putting it all back again!

We went for a small walk on the beach, where a kind person took a photo of us sitting on that same log that Pat sat on in the TV documentary series “Grey Nomads”. That program was a real inspiration for us, last year.

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We are grey nomads on the Grey Nomad log

John took the TV aerial apart, trimmed the wires and rebuilt it – the result is an excellent picture, the likes of which we had never had here – we were both amazed.

The moment of reckoning came……after the beach photo, John shaved off his beard! A pity, as I think it makes him look much more the picture of a true grey nomad. But he finds it uncomfortable.

I made steak and kidney with suet dumplings for tea. John wanted something more substantial than the easy camp meals we have been having for weeks.

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1998 Travels August 27


I did more washing – loads of our clothes.

The tooth started aching in the morning and didn’t stop, despite Panadol. I started on the penicillin I’d carted up the Cape and back, in case.

We did a 5km bike ride to the BP servo, to post letters in the post box there.

The tooth was REALLY bad by afternoon! It is like it has just been waiting until we got back to civilization. I phoned the Cairns dentist to try to advance my appointment, but he is heading off to Brisbane later today. He arranged for me to pick up strong painkillers, from the Mossman chemist, so we drove there and bought those. Cost $23. Got some groceries too, while there.

Got fuel at Wonga servo – 70cpl.

Panadeine Forte had no effect on the tooth, but later I took Endone. That slightly dulled the pain, but sent me floating off into dream land!

John’s tea was eggs and ham. I had no appetite.

I had a very restless night, with hallucinations and counting down till it was time for the next dose, to ease the pain for a while. I had to get up to pee a lot – must have been dehydrated by morning. It certainly is strong medication.

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1998 Travels August 26


It is sooo good to sleep on the van bed again, after so long on the lilo. Bliss.

I phoned the Cairns dentist and made an appointment – for a week away. The toothache has been a bother for much of the Cape trip, despite painkillers and toothache remedy. Corrugated roads and toothache are not a good combination! Still – it lasted the distance as only an ache that came and went, so could have been worse.

08-26-1998 Wonga Beach.jpg

On the beach at Wonga – looking south

I did washing – 2 loads, that included sheets and towels from the trip. Our sheets are the old fashioned flat ones, carried for use with the lilo, as the fitted sheet sets we use in the van don’t suit. The doona cover needed a wash too.

Did a bit more packing, and relaxed.

Sorted the mail that had come here in our absence – mostly ordinary stuff, but there were letters from V and a former colleague – nice to receive.

08-27-1998 from Wonga looking north to Daintree.jpg

On the beach at Wonga – looking north towards the mouth of the Daintree River

I made roti breads for lunch, and corn and crab cakes for an early tea, as John booked us in to Mossman for bowls tonight. He must get straight back into it – having been deprived of a bowls fix since Weipa.

We left a bit early for Mossman, so I could get a few groceries on the way and got to bowls at 6pm, in light rain. About 7.30pm, they decided not to start the bowls at all, due to the continuing rain. In the meantime, they’d all had a lovely social time, drinking. Waste of time and effort as far as I was concerned – I was not very happy about it.

We were told that Dengue Fever is still a major concern in this region. There have been over a thousand cases this year. Nearby Port Douglas has had a high number of cases.