Out to the MotherShip – Sun 17th 2010

Beautiful calm morning- watched the local croc float lazily up and down in front of the house.

Crocodile at Portland Roads

The mothership had arrived so I bravely went out where no Seamus had ever trod before. Used Alan’s penis err outboard extender for the first time. This is a clever device (a bit of plastic tube) that fits over the throttle thingy of the boat so one can stand up towards the centre of the boat and thus keep the nose of the boat down a bit on solo trips. Works quite well, although I did nearly throw myself overboard at one stage. So I loaded up an empty gas cylinder onto the trolley, wheeled it down in the water to the boat and put the cylinder in the boat.

Then out to the mother ship, where I had to wait in queue (ya know there’s no fucken handbrake on a boat!) – anyway bounced off a few boats, talked to Ian from Wattle Hills then moored and asked what to do? I had to go up to the captain’s quarters, introduce myself to Gavin, ask about my account and what the usual protocol was. He did not have our account on his computer, but was happy enough to write it down on a post-it note and give me a new gas cylinder.

This all got sorted and I headed back to shore – and actually went fast – I think I even had full throttle for a second or two!

Calm morning, bananas and coconuts – Sun 17th Oct 2010

Another beautiful calm morning – Geoff told me that this was a typical wet season day – sea as calm as a millpond in the morning and windy during the afternoon.

bananas in bunch outside kitchen

Had my bananas fresh from the bunch for breakfast.

Watched a coconut man trim all the coconut palms (part of the local council beautification scheme for Portland Roads)

It was fascinating to watch – he climbed up with sharp spikes on his boots and a rope around his waist, then clawed his way up the tree, carrying chainsaw, big pruning saw and a myriad of other weird and wonderful tools.

I later grabbed quite a few coconuts for us for later on!

Gregor told me that he always keeps one in a dinghy – good food source in emergency.

Our coconut stash

Arrival Portland Roads – Tuesday 7th Sept 2010

The tow major rivers on the road in are the Pascoe and the Wenlock. These are impassable for much of the wet. The Pascoe is longer and often deeper than the Wenlock.

Pascoe River crossing on the Lockhart Road on the way in to Portland Roads

Pascoe River crossing on the Lockhart Road on the way in to Portland Roads

We visited Lockhart on the way in. I couldn’t work the diesel bowsers, so had to ask some aboriginal kids. The local store wasn’t too bad and did have quite reasonably fresh vegies. Cate talked to the manager, who knew Alan quite well.

We then thought we might try the local doctor/medical centre. We parked on the road outside and were immediately accosted by a woman who basically told us to fuck off – until we said we were about to start care-taking Alan’s place for a year. Then everything was OK.

We were told later by Alan that she was a very nice person who was the head nurse (and I think administrator) but that she was very protective of her medical centre – it has been set up for the local aboriginal community and apparently tourists do often become a nuisance there.

Leaving Kuranda – Friday 3rd Sept 2010

We were, as usual, running late – it was after 6pm when we finally drove out of Kuranda. Cate was driving the Suzi, Zoe and I in the OKA. Boomer still had to be picked up from the refuge at Mareeba, and Cate had to drop off library books at Kuranda.

At about 9.30 pm we really, really annoyed the dog refuge woman as it was well past her bedtime. She angrily thrust a confused Boomer into Cate’s arms and stomped off.

Boomer whined continuously on the floor of the back of the OKA, until he had climbed up into Zoe’s lap where he fell asleep.

We ended up camping on the side of the road (I think where Col and Rees had camped) just the other side of Mt Molloy. Put the Suzi on the a-frame before heading into Mt Molloy for breakfast  – then off to Cooktown. I had expected it to be a bigger town; I was knackered and we needed groceries so we stayed overnight in the local caravan park and stocked up on food on Sunday morning.

Then headed off to Musgrave Roadhouse via Lakefield National Park. Stopped at Isabella Falls for a paddle – beautiful spot. Kept driving up through the national park until Kalpower where we stopped for dinner and a shower. It was very hot and very muggy – too hot for comfortable sleeping so we decided to keep on driving. The corrugations after Kalpower were the worst I’ve ever experienced. The second spare was on the tyre carrier on the back of the OKA – we just lost that in the bush somewhere.

Ended up camping on the side of the road on the other side of  Musgrave Roadhouse.

Had a great breakfast at Musgrave, then headed off to Portland Roads. The road into the Iron Range National Park was corrugated with a few tricky dips to negotiate.

We stopped for dinner and a camp on the side of the Wenlock

Boomer waiting for dinner

Boomer waiting for dinner

– beautiful spot although some-one had pinched the best spot before we got there. After dinner we headed off to the river crossing intending to have a swim, but saw a vehicle parked in the middle of the river with 2 people in the vehicle swinging spotlight torches vertically from the river surface to the sky and back again. We watched for 15 minutes but could not work out what they were doing. It looked a little as though they were fly-fishing with torches attached to their rods.