This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 22


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.

A train of freshly harvested sugar cane on the way to the mill

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.

On the road to Ingham

Back at camp, we walked Couey on the beach, for the last time.

Superb beach at Forrest Beach

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!

A happy dog…

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.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 21


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.

Low tides create wonderful shallow pools in the sand

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.

Low tide patterns

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.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 20


It was again a hot day.

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….

No words needed…

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.

The catch

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.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 19


Another hot day.

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.

Tide a long way out…

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.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 18


A hot day again, but not as humid.

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”.

Sugar cane harvester beside newly harvester area

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.

Recently planted cane in front of last year’s planting

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?

A siding on the cane train line, with some empty carriages

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.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 17


It was a very humid day.

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.

Taking the easy way to the beach…

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.

The night was a bit cooler and not as humid.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 16


Today was quite humid. Big clouds built up through the morning, then there were a few drops of rain at one point in the afternoon. It seemed more pleasant after that.

After breakfast, we did a lovely, long, beach walk with Couey. She cavorted in the shallow pools, rolled lots of times in the damp sand and generally had a good exercise workout. Despite the vigorous sand rolling, her coat is so thick that the sand does not penetrate too far. A brush down with the rubber horse grooming brush gets rid of it all, so we don’t have a problem with sand in Bus.

I washed clothes and our bedding. Then we drove into Ingham to shop.

We were stopped at the Victoria Mill by a long cane train, so I got out to take some photos. On most of the main roads, like this one, crossings have warning lights, but the many crossings one encounters on the back roads, do not. On some of them, the tall cane comes almost right to the road, so there is not much of a line of sight for trains that might be approaching. Fortunately, they trundle along fairly slowly. I was quite taken by a graphic road safety sign we saw a few times, featuring a cane train and a crumpled car, with the caption: YOU’RE FASTER – HE’S HEAVIER.

Cane train carrying newly harvested cane to the Victoria Mill

At Victoria Mill, an overhead conveyor takes the processed sugar from the mill, across the road to tall silo like structures at the train loading facility.

The overhead conveyor for processed sugar

From here, the sugar is loaded into a different type of train, with hoppers instead of open bins; these go to Lucinda and the ship loading facility there. These are still the same narrow gauge trains, though.

Loading the hopper carriages with processed sugar

 We did a food shop at Woolworths, and because it was well into the afternoon by now, I bought a quiche for lunch. John had a pie.

Back at camp, the neighbour parked two sites up, B, gave us two whiting and a flathead. The couple had returned here after a sojourn further north somewhere. John said he remembered them from when we were first here. Most days, the man does down to the southern creek mouth to fish. His wife drives him as far as one can go by road, to a walkway that goes between the far houses at Cassady Beach, but he walks all the way back when he’s done fishing.

John had to go down to the fish cleaning table to deal with the gift. He was away for ages – talking! He came back with only five fillets of fish, having somehow mislaid one piece of flathead.

I cooked fish and some fries. As the fish fillets were small, John had those and I had a couple of eggs with my chips. He said the fish was delicious. It was certainly fresh.

M phoned to see if John’s medicine had arrived yet. We had a good chat.

The night was hot and humid – not great for sleeping.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 15


I took Couey for another beach walk in the morning. John, who was up relatively early, came too, so dog was much happier.

John went to Macknade bowls. They were having a “Pink” fund raiser day, so he borrowed my pink T shirt to wear. It did not look as big on him as I had expected, but he wasn’t very happy when I commented to that effect. He did not enjoy the day; said that the various novelty aspects that the women had thought up “ruined the bowls”. He got back about 6.15pm.

Macknade Mill

My shoulder reconstruction had ruled me out of playing bowls. There is a silver lining in most things.

During the afternoon I tried to download books to my e-reader, from my library’s free borrowing site. No success. I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong. It was all still quite unfamiliar and I couldn’t remember how I fluked it, the first time. The manual, which itself was a book on the reader, was really hard to navigate around, and so not much help. I found it all very frustrating. I do not cope well when machines refuse to co-operate with me.

Once again, we went to tea at the hotel. Thursdays were the $10 steak and schnitzel meal deal nights, and we hadn’t tried that, to date. My pepper steak was alright – a bit bland, and I wasn’t sure what cut it was, but it was huge and I couldn’t eat it all. John liked his schnitzel, and finished off my steak. We’d done that now, and probably wouldn’t repeat it.

There was a big party group in for tea at the hotel, celebrating someone’s birthday. They do a surprisingly large meals trade, at this hotel. For this party, there were tables set out on the lawn in front of the outdoor terrace, as well as some on the terrace itself, though much of that area was taken up with the tables of we ordinary diners. The terrace was a most pleasant place to be, especially when there was some cloud over the islands, which reflected the sunset behind us. One needed to apply heaps of aerogard, though. The swampy areas nearby guaranteed lots of mosquitoes and midges, once the sun was going down, as well as sometimes earlier.

What we had noticed, as a major difference from our last visit in 2009, was that there was no longer the regular arrival of “tinny” boats at the beach by the hotel, carrying people from Palm Island come to buy alcohol to take back to the islands. We had been surprised by this trade at the time, believing that the islands were “dry”. There was now a prominently displayed notice in the bottle shop stating that there are to be no alcohol sales to Palm Islanders. I had noticed, in a recent Sunday Brisbane newspaper, an item about the trial in Townsville of the mayor of Palm Island, on charges relating to an attempt to take alcohol from Forrest Beach to Palm Island, back last January. In 2009 we had commented to each other how lucrative the boat trade appeared to be for the hotel.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 14


By the time I got up, this morning, our acquaintances over the way had made an early – and quiet – departure. They left us their contact details in a note tucked under the Terios windscreen wiper – for if we found ourselves in Perth in the next few years.

Straight after my breakfast, took Couey for a beach walk. John was still in bed. She was a bit reluctant to leave him behind. A little way along the beach, which we were walking with her off the lead, she turned tail and ran off back, almost to the track back into the campground. I had to walk a fair distance back to retrieve her, whereupon she got put back on the lead and dragged along the beach until I was satisfied that we’d walked as far as I wanted. Just sometimes, I need to be boss around here!

It felt good to get walking properly again. I don’t think I could ever get sick of walking this beach, with  its outlook south along the sand, to distant ranges, and to the Palm Island group to the east. I wouldn’t like to live here in the summer humidity, cyclone and flood season, but it is a little patch of paradise in winter. Bit distant from Melbourne to have a beach house here, unfortunately…..

After lunch, had a visit from a lady we had gotten to know in the first week we were here. She had moved from the campground to stay with a local friend, but came for a walk and a chat, so that was a pleasant interlude.

I made a version of lemon chicken for tea. Cut up chicken thighs into pieces and par-boiled them, before coating them in tempura batter and shallow frying. Then added the lemon sauce – from a packet! John liked it a lot and said I should make it regularly. My improvising did not always meet with his approval, so I enjoy such success when it comes.

Leave a comment

2013 Travels August 13


The weather was definitely getting hotter in the daytime. We had to set up the electric fan in Bus.

Before lunch, drove into Ingham.

Quintessential North Queensland…

Went out to the fruit stall first and bought some more pineapples, and some zucchini. At Target, John bought a pair of shorts, having decided that a couple of the pairs he bought from home are no longer comfortable – the wash must have shrunk them! I bought a couple more of the $8 T shirts. Did a quick food shop.

Called at the Post Office on the way back. The parcel with the throw blanket had finally arrived.

I booked us in here for another week. This only cost $75, because we’d now triggered the monthly rate eligibility. That was $600 and since we’d already paid $525 for the three weeks we’d been here, we only had to make up the difference, this week. Whilst the park had some issues, to be paying only $150 a week for a powered site with the outlook we had and the access to such a brilliant beach, was really unusual value.

Went to tea at the hotel again, since it was the two-for-one meal deal night. We’d been put at a table for six, rather than two, but the two couples from “over the road” were there too, so we asked them to join us. They were very entertaining company. John had mackerel in batter and I had the excellent salt and pepper squid again. Our meals were fine, but one of the others had barramundi that arrived still part frozen and cold in the centre. That had to be sent back to be cooked properly. Another had a steak that was very well done, but he’d ordered medium rare. We discovered later that the usual cook was on a week’s holiday.

It was really pleasing that Couey could be left in Bus, with no fuss, and we could do such things. I wasn’t sure, though, how she would be if we drove off, instead of quietly walking away.