During the night, it rained – heavily at times – which made for a comfortable, cool night.
In the early hours, I tied up the curtains by my bed, in order to better smell and hear the rain through the open window. I had the advantage of sleeping on the awning side, so could open my sliding windows. The ones on John’s side were not able to be opened at all. I thought that might have something to do with the venting of the gas hot water service being on that side?
The morning was cloudy, but looked as if it would clear. Everything smelt fresh.
I got up before 8am. John slept much later. Couey opted to keep him company, all curled up on top of the covers on my bed – which experience had taught me to cover with an old sheet, as soon as I was out of the bed.
I had my breakfast, sewed, listened to my little portable radio, sitting out under the awning – a usual sort of morning.
John had been having some problems with the leg that had impaired circulation (due to blood clot residue from a few years ago). The skin gets very dry and cracks; one of these had turned into a sore that looked, this morning, to be infected. He said it had been really painful through the night. He asked at the office and they gave him details for a doctor in Innisfail. He phoned, and got an appointment for 4pm.
We sat around for the rest of the day as John did not feel like doing anything, due to the sore leg. He spent the time on his laptop. I sat outside and sewed, every so often taking Couey for a walk around the block.
John went off to the doctor and came back with antibiotics and a therma skin ankle support that would be an alternative to the pressure stocking he was supposed to wear, but didn’t. The ankle support would allow him to wear thongs but still help the leg circulation.
I made a potato salad for tea, and an Asian style pineapple one too. John had the remaining maryland,too.
Cloud had built up again in the afternoon, and there was heavy rain at tea time. I went out to drop one side of the awning a bit lower, to allow the rain to run off. A lot of water builds up really quickly on that sort of roof. John accused me of fussing too much as I went out, but went quiet when he heard the water pour off!
John played his computer game after tea. I started a letter to friend M.
It was a comfortable day – not too hot, and with a cooling breeze under the awning.
Later in the afternoon, there was a heavy cloud build up and maybe some thunder in the distance – a bit hard to tell. It felt very “tropical” here – very green and lush.
Under the influence of this environment, John decided that he would definitely like to continue on to Cairns, after here. I would enjoy that, seeing how it had changed since 1998. It was not too steamy yet, in these parts, and I was enjoying the environment.
I phoned Lake Placid Caravan Park, in Cairns, and booked us in for 4-7 nights, exact length to be determined after we arrive. We had stayed there before and found it pleasant and well sited.
Before lunch, drove into Innisfail, through the several small villages strung out between Flying Fish Point and town. It was a very pretty drive, and only 7kms. I mostly needed to get mince for the dog, but got some “people” food too. Because this trip was being longer than originally planned, I was running low on dog’s dried Eukanuba food. It is not stocked in supermarkets, only pet shops, and did not seem to be available in Qld. So I was eking it out by replacing some with mince, which dog seemed quite happy with. The food I bought for us included a pack of three chicken marylands, and two pieces of good ham, which I would cut up to make ham steaks to cook.
After lunch back at Bus, I sat outside and sewed. John spent time on the laptop.
A passing lady stopped for a chat. She was a widow; every year she towed her 16 foot van up here, from her home in NSW, for the winter. She’d just had rotavirus for a week and said it had been going around the area. Of course, I immediately started to wonder if I was feeling totally well!
I roasted the chicken marylands, for tea. There turned out to be four of them in the 2kg pack I’d bought this morning. Roasted some vegetables (potatoes, pumpkin) to go with them – all in the electric frypan. Boiled some green beans too, and made gravy. I intended then to keep two of the cooked marylands for tomorrow night’s tea, but John was hungry and ate a second one. Oh well, tinned fish for me tomorrow.
Although it had been hot here, yesterday, the temperature through the night was very pleasant.
When we’d booked in here yesterday, I’d been able to order Saturday papers, so walked the short distance to Reception/shop/office and collected those for the day’s reading.
After John’s brunch, we put the front shade onto the awning, to keep the afternoon sun off out sitting area, and to give us a bit more privacy from passing traffic. There was a slot along the awning roller that the shade edging just slid into, and along. Easy.
John went off to bowls in Innisfail, taking the Terios.
I walked Coeuy around some of the streets, on her lead. There was no beach here to speak of, just narrow areas of rocks and stones, probably erosion protection. So beach walking was not an option and others were limited, unfortunately. The attractive looking oval and grassed area behind the caravan park was part of the school, and no dogs were allowed, sadly.
I spent some time on the laptop, playing around with possible schedules for the rest of our trip up here and the travel home.
From about 2pm onwards, I could smell the pork for tonight’s dinner roasting at the nearby dining area – very tantalizing and I regretted not being able to partake.
John didn’t return until after 6pm – well after the pork diners had begun eating. He had not enjoyed his day. He couldn’t “get” the way the green ran, and so bowled poorly. He also clashed with a lady on the other team! However, he did buy a club shirt – short sleeved, which he usually doesn’t wear – in a cool fabric, purely because it had a great print of a cassowary on the back. Cost him $50, but worth it for the bird. He reckoned that should evoke some comments when he wore it back at home. Wonder if our home club could be persuaded to put a powerful owl print on their bowls shirts? (The powerful owl is a threatened species, and there are some found in our local home area.)
Our tea was pasta with a bottled sauce.
John watched football on TV, after tea. He got very cross with the performance of “his” team, Carlton, who lost. Don’t think he’d rate this as one of his better days, overall.
FRIDAY AUGUST 23 FORREST BEACH TO FLYING FISH POINT 187kms
Considering we hadn’t done a pack up for a month, we were pretty good at it, and departed at 9.15. Dog let us know she wasn’t happy that the kennel was mobile again.
Overall, the drive north was enjoyable. Certainly, the weather was varied. Blue sky, with some white fluffy clouds when we left….not to last.
The scenery was likewise varied, at times quite dramatic, with mountains often quite close to the highway.
We trundled past our old friend, the Victoria Mill, for the last time on this trip. Stopped at the fruit stall on the northern outskirts of Ingham, to buy a couple of pineapples.
There were several stops for roadworks, between Ingham and Cardwell, but none was for too long. There were major roadworks happening on the Cardwell Range, where there was also a noticeable smell of hot brakes – not ours!
The impacts of cyclones on Cardwell, since last we were here, were huge. We stayed here in 2009, but the town was hardly recognizable as the same place. The rainforest vegetation that existed, between the road and the beach, had gone, and the view out to sea was open in a way that it wasn’t before. Actually, it looked like most of the beach had gone too. The centre of the township looked very bare.
Around Tully, we ran into heavy rain, and the skies remained grey and looming. As Tully is reputedly the wettest town in Australia, this should not have been surprising. Average annual rainfall here exceeds 4 metres, with its rainfall record being nearly 8 metres. That’s a lot of rain in a year. Something like twelve times as wet as Melbourne.
Refuelled Bus at a BP servo just south of Innisfail. $1.599cpl. Cost us $86.65. Around the 6kms to a litre of fuel seemed to be a fairly consistent performance, now we were towing the car. Slightly more or less, depending on terrain and general driving conditions.
We had no problems navigating through Innisfail and out to Flying Fish Point. The GPS and I agreed to leave the Bruce Highway south of town and take the Mourilyan road. This was a tad hilly, but avoided the centre of town and took us across the South Johnstone River, straight onto the Esplanade and along to the bridge over the North Johnstone River and the road we wanted. Nice and easy.
Back in cassowary country – roadside signs warned about taking care and watching for wandering birds on the roads.
Flying Fish Point beside the Coral Sea, is a little enclave of houses by the wide inlet that is the mouth of the Johnstone River, a few kms from Innisfail. This far north, the Dividing Range never seems far from the coast, and this little township is on a narrow coastal strip, with forested hills rising behind it. Really very scenic.
At the Flying Fish Point Tourist Park, we were given a site with a slab. It was parallel to the central roadway through the park, though, and close to it. So we heard all the passing traffic. Found that there was also regular passing foot traffic, too, that cut around the back of us to go to the shop/office, and the park’s general gathering area.
There was a place to park the car, and an area in front of Bus where Couey could be safely tethered.
We paid $198 for our booked week – $33 a day with one day free. This seemed very reasonable, considering the quality of the park, with its formal gardens and sites. It was sooo good to have modern, spacious and clean amenities again! The pool looked inviting too, but somehow, I didn’t get around to sampling it in the time we were here.
Most of the sites were amongst tropical gardens and trees, but maybe seemed a bit on the narrow side. Ours seemed like an afterthought, tucked in where it would fit. But we were fortunate to get in at all, so there was nothing to be gained by being envious of others.
Found out that it had rained quite heavily here, last night, but there was no sign of it by the time we arrived – great drainage. It was quite hot and rather humid.
After setting up, we had to drive back into Innisfail, so John could check out the local bowls scene. My trade-off was a visit to the Information Centre, to collect material about the area. We had never before stayed anywhere on the coast between Mission Beach and Cairns, so it was new to us.
We stopped by a farm stall on the Esplanade and bought some bananas. Had seen a number of banana farms by the highway, as we travelled today.
Innisfail looked to be an interesting town, but we were there at school get-out time, so it was a bit too busy to be tootling around unfamiliar streets, trying to look around.
Did see, though that the Johnstone River, formed by the junction here in town, of the North and South branches, was huge. It drains from the high ranges of these parts, and, of course, the annual rainfall is high.
Back at Flying Fish Point, John decided to follow the road past the park, along the coastal strip, and see where it ended up. It became a narrow, winding, gravel road that followed the contours of the coast and hills for a way, through rainforest. Then we were stopped by a gate at a small turn around area. Just back from that was a small parking area, so we pulled in there and walked down a short track through the coastal forest, to a very pretty beach – Ella Bay.
Because I thought we were in National Park, we didn’t linger here for very long, having the dog with us.
Another vehicle had pulled into the little parking area, when we got back, and a couple of Asian-appearing men appeared to be looking for a place to set up a tent camp. I was not sure this was actually allowed, as there were no amenities of any sort here, nor signs indicating it was for camping.
The fellow campers at the park were very friendly. We were told about happy hour by one, so I went along, to gain more of a sense of the place, and mixed with the ten or so who were also there. John eventually arrived, too. There were regular organized “events” here, like a roast pork dinner tomorrow night, for $10 a head. We would not sign up for that, because John already knew that he would be bowling in town, and may be late back.
It was obviously another fishing oriented place – many of the sites had boats parked.
I made hamburgers for tea, with the lot. They were yummy, but impossible to get one’s mouth around, and very messy to eat. Worth it, though.
The weather was pleasant again today – not too hot.
I phoned the caravan park at Flying Fish Point, and got in, tomorrow, for a week. Given how popular it seemed, and how busy it still was here, I was rather surprised. Then I went up to the office/bottle shop and paid for our extra night’s stay – $30.
We drove into Ingham to shop. I would miss the pleasant drive into town, and the changing mosaic of activity in the cane fields.
John had found a blown fuse in his dash cam charger, and replaced same, but it kept blowing the fuse. It was an e-bay “bargain”, so there wasn’t much he could do except look for a new, and better charger.
Back at camp, we walked Couey on the beach, for the last time.
Got to just beyond the end house at Cassadys Beach. She had a really good frolic. It was a happy dog when its people were in one place and she could do her dog work of minding them properly!
We did some preliminary packing up.
I cooked John’s flathead in batter and made fries. I had a piece of red emperor that I’d bought in Ingham – guaranteed no bones!
Had a text from son. He’d enjoyed the letter I wrote a while ago. I’d texted him a photo of John’s fishy catch, and he responded to that.
The weather was very pleasant today – warm rather than hot.
John went off to bowls at Macknade. I was trying to get him to decide what we are doing next, and when, because our current tenure here runs out today, and I needed to know what to rebook. He said he’d make up his mind after bowls.
I was ready to move on from here. Whilst the beach was beautiful, and the beach walking exercise was great, I’d had enough of the general grottiness of the place.
The most recent irritant was that the rubbish hadn’t been collected for nearly two weeks. There were two big skips, placed centrally, near the amenities block. Campers take their rubbish and throw it in there. There are no bins on or near sites, at all. Anyone much shorter or weaker than me had great difficulty in lifting the really heavy skip lids. The smell from inside was always pretty ripe, with a good helping of fish remains. Now, the weekly skip emptying hadn’t been happening. The skips were stuffed full and overflowing with bags of rubbish, and the smell was vile. Some of the sites that had seemed to be prime ones are not now so prime, when the breeze blows their way. Gross!
I walked Couey on the beach, on the lead, so she wouldn’t be tempted to return to Bus indpendently. She was not enthusiastic, but we got as far as the houses.
When John got back, he decided we would go north – to Flying Fish Point – on Friday. He had heard so much about the caravan park there and how nice it was, that he wanted to investigate it for a possible long future stay. After that, he thought, we’d go to Cairns, last visited in 1998.
John had collected the mail on his way back. Nothing of importance amongst it, apart from the news that daughter had a bad dose of flu.
I cooked the bream for John’s tea – wrapped in foil, with some lemon pepper, and steamed. He liked it. I had salad.
After breakfast, at about 10am, John was ready to go fishing down at the creek mouth. We loaded Couey into the car and I drove John to the walkway between the houses at Cassadys Beach, and he walked the rest of the way. He took his mobile phone with him, so he could phone me later, and I could pick him up again at the same point.
I didn’t walk Couey on the beach because I wasn’t sure how long John would last at the fishing, in the heat, and needed to be available to go collect him.
I did the usual things around Bus – reading, sewing, chatting a bit with the fishing neighbour’s wife.
We watched the antics of a couple of idiot drivers who decided they wanted to camp up on top of the sand dune area at the back of the beach, rather than in the main camp area. One was towing a camper trailer, the other some kind of homemade enclosed trailer.
As anyone with half a brain could have foreseen, they got bogged on the loose sandy slope. After churning it up for a while, trying to get out, they then proceeded to reduce their tyre pressures. Rather late for that! Dumb and dumber….
The camper trailer one had gotten a bit higher up the slope before getting stuck, so he set up camp there – I guess, deferring the issue of how to get out again. The home made trailer one had to unhitch and manoeuvre vehicle and trailer separately, with help from some other campers who were more charitable than I would have been. He had to settle for a camp down in the ordinary area, after all. Morons, both of them, but they did keep a goodly number of us entertained for the best part of an hour.
Neighbour B arrived back at camp about 3.30pm. He said John had still been at the creek when he left to walk back. I admit to being surprised he had lasted this long, in the heat. John phoned at almost 4pm for me to go fetch him.
Couey refused to get in the Terios, maybe thinking that if she went with me, she would get “dumped” in a strange place, like John had been? Nor would she get into the Bus. I was definitely out of favour. So, I left her tied to her usual place in front of Bus, where B’s wife said she’d keep an eye on her. I expected all sorts of antics as I drove off in the car. There was the usual frantic barking that happens whenever one of us goes off in the car (it happens at home too), but Mrs B said she stopped barking as soon as car was out of sight. That is useful information to know.
John had caught a bream and a flathead. He’d enjoyed the day and was happy he’d made the effort. He didn’t get very sunburned either.
By contrast, B had caught 22 whiting, 7 flathead and a big golden trevalley. He gave John a flathead, because he only keeps whiting for his van freezer. John was very admiring of his fishing prowess.
After the fisherman cleaned his fish – and himself – we went to tea at the hotel, as it was the Tuesday special. John had the seafood trio – battered reef fish, garlic prawns and salt and pepper squid. I had the squid, again. The meal cost $27 because of the seafood trio. It was all very enjoyable – the usual cook was back.
We both walked Couey on the beach, going as far as the end of the houses at Cassady Beach, so that was a good workout for all concerned.
I read. did some embroidery, sitting outside under the awning, watching the passing parade of people and vehicles.
John spent some time inside, on his laptop.
Under the influence of B, our fishing neighbour, he decided to go fishing tomorrow. It would be the first time on this trip. He drove to Halifax to buy a bait pump and some other gear – and spent the best part of $100. Whatever he catches is going to be expensive fish! But it is done for interest and enjoyment and I am pleased to see John interested in fishing, again. He spent some time getting all the gear ready.
Tea was Mongolian lamb, using a bottled sauce. John didn’t like it much.
John wanted to go driving. We had done very little driving and exploring since getting here, mostly because we did a lot of that in 2009, and there really wasn’t much that felt “undone”.
Went first to Taylors Beach, where we had stayed in 2009, because John had no recollection of that. It remained in my memory as a caravan park with small sites, not enough room for all the boats that campers squeezed into all available space, and where John, in giving me directions to reverse the caravan onto site, backed me neatly into a palm tree. Also, despite the name, there was no beach, just a river inlet.
When we got to Taylors Beach, John said he still really didn’t remember the place. Fair enough – it wasn’t a memorable stay.
We cruised past the caravan park, which still looked packed out, then stopped at a park area on the river edge. The tide was out, and moored boats were lying on the sand. We continued on.
The route took us through Halifax and on to Lucinda. John was fiddling about with his dash cam, the latest toy, which would not record for any length of time. It indicated that the battery was flat, which he couldn’t explain. I noticed there was no red light showing on the charger which was plugged into the cigarette lighter outlet, so John worked out that there was a charger problem. So he stopped fiddling with it whilst driving, and stopping regularly to try to fix it – for which I was grateful. That was tedious. I am definitely not a “gadget” person.
The big caravan park at Lucinda was full. We’d noted it four years ago as a good-looking park; one populated in the winter months by regulars who stay there every year for months at a time. I find such places can be “cliquey”, especially when so many of the people are into fishing and boats. It was academic for us now, anyway, because it doesn’t take dogs.
John did not feel like walking on the beach there, or taking the path and overhead stairs to go over the sugar wharf complex to the old barge jetty, where people fish and there are great views across the channel over to Hinchinbrook Island. So we cruised around in the car, looked at the village, then drove out the Dungeness road to the upmarket Hinchinbrook Cove Marina and Resort. That area was as we remembered it, with quite a Sunday crowd.
Back at Lucinda, bought lunch from the take away shop. John had a hamburger with the lot, for $11; he said it was great. I bought some chips, for $4 and two potato cakes, which cost $1 each. The chips were alright, not great, but the potato cakes were awful and I didn’t eat them.
We ate at a table in the very nice foreshore park, with its view of the long sugar loading wharf. There was a steady procession of caravans and motorhomes arriving, parking, and occupants going for a walk and look around. I wondered how many of these had assumed they would be able to get into the caravan park in such an out-of-the-way place, without a booking?
Drove back to Bus and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
Talked for a while with the fishing neighbours, who had done a lot of travel and fossicking. They recommended some caravan parks for when we head south again: Cape Palmerston, Woodgate and Kinka Beach.
A light tea was in order. Coleslaw, pineapple salad, followed by strawberries and yoghurt.
I texted daughter asking her to send our mail tomorrow. Once we left here, I didn’t know where we would be, or for how long……yet to be decided.
I drove to the shops for the papers, and mailed a letter to son and a postcard to grandson. On the way, I stopped at the CWA Hall, where a sale of used goods was happening, and dropped in four pairs of shorts that John had decided were no longer comfortable; they were almost new. He tried to convince both of us that they’d shrunk in the wash…
The newsagent doubles as the Post Office, or vice-versa, and the package of John’s pills were in. I texted M that they had arrived.
John went off to bowls at Macknade. I read the papers.
I spent much of the afternoon inside Bus, with the fan going, working on the laptop. Downloaded the card from my camera and emptied it. Named photos, then saved them to a thumb drive as a backup.
Decided it was a no-walk day. Too humid, the soles of my feet were a bit sore from the sand, and I didn’t feel like dragging reluctant dog along the beach.
John enjoyed his bowls but came home quite tired due to exercise in the humidity.
Made chow mein for tea, a favourite of John’s, based on mince and a packet of chicken noodle soup. It was not gourmet cuisine, but nice enough and easy to make.