Synchronized swimming, huge trees, turtles and dolphins

Cape Tribulation, Goodbye Rachel (Dec 19th)

We continued towards Cape Tribulation – the most northern point on our roadtrip. It took five minutes for the ferry to cross the Daintree river, after that we were driving in a rainforest on a very windy road. There’s something magical about turning the wheel left and right over and over again – it feels like you’re actually doing something, like you’re driving the car, not just sitting in it. I loved looking at the trees above the road as they merged together and at times it seemed as if I was driving in a tunnel.

The waterworks started near the beach at Cape Tribulation. It was sad to realize that we reached the farthest point in our journey. This was it. The end. I didn’t enjoy that moment. I guess Greg Anderson was right when he said „Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.“ Yeah mate, finishing sucks.

Later today I needed to get Rachel to the Cairns airport. On the way there we had our last swim – we did some synchronized swimming 😀 because Rachel wouldn’t stop talking about it in the car. I admit, it was fun and I liked it. We had our last burgers at Hungry Jacks (they make a mean veggie burger too) and said our final goodbyes to Rachel at the airport.

Me and Pete visited the Cairns lagoon and the Crystal Cascades (a bunch of waterfalls about 10-20 km from the city). We spent the night again in the park with the hippies. They were still there. Peace! Make love, not war!

Atherton Tablelands (Dec 20th)

The sun wasn’t shining as brightly as before, the birds were singing sad melodies and the grass wasn’t as green anymore – Rachel was gone. Pete was very moody in the morning, he didn’t feel like doing anything  – not even fishing which is one of his favorite activities. I missed Rachel too. I missed her like a vegetarian misses meat or like Arnold Schwarzenegger misses da choppas. Rachel was a wonderful travelmate and she made the trip very entertaining with her expert commentary. I hope our paths will cross again some time in the future.

We drove the the mountains in the west. That area is called the Atherton Tablelands. Again the road was very windy with beautiful scenery.

We visited the Cathedral Fig – it’s a huge tree which probably inspired James Cameron to make the Avatar movie. We also climbed the tree. It was massive and really cool!

We drove around Lake Tinaroo along the Danbulla Forest Drive and visited the  Curtain Fig which was another huge tree. Later we checked out some waterfalls, swam under the Millaa Millaa. Since the wet season had not yet begun there wasn’t a lot of water coming down from the waterfall. Nevertheless if you swam under it and looked up you’d see the sun shining back at you from each water drop. It was lovely!

Our next stop was a place called Innot Hot Springs. We were curious about the hot springs. Same story – everything was very dry. We found a little creek and the water in it was very hot, at least 70-80C. I imagined it to be different. I though they’d have massive swimming pools with people chilling in them, similar to Iceland. Anywho we touched some water and immediately after that left. Fail!

The day ended with a swim in the Paradise Waterhole (in the Paluma Range National Park). The water was nice and warm. Our trip to Hartley’s croc farm taught us that crocs like warm water and that scared us a bit. We probably spent only 5 paranoid minutes in the water.

We continued towards Airlie Beach in the dark. Pete was driving and I tried to catch some sleep. He claimed he saw several roos who weren’t yet roadkills. I saw nothing. Pete was probably hallucinating. We didn’t find a good place to camp and spent the night in the car a bit out of Airlie Beach. It was terrible, at least the mozzies got a good feed.

Airlie Beach (Dec 21st)

We spent the whole day at the Airlie Beachi lagoon. That’s all we did. Hey, we thought the world was going to end and this was a good place to spend our last day.

We camped in a rest area near Rockhampton.

Yeppoon, Emu Park, Bargara, Mon Repos (Dec 22nd)

We drove through Yeppoon and Emu Park, looked at the ocean and continued towards Bargara. Most of the day was spent at the Bargara beach. We waited until the evening to go see the turtles at the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery.

The show started at 19 because the turtles only come to the beach in the dark to lay eggs. It was crowded, there were at least 150 people.

A guide took us to the beach where a turtle was already digging a hole/nest in the sand. It was huge – 101 cm.  We watched as it finished digging and started to lay eggs. Once 10 eggs were laid the staff lighted the turtle up (they didn’t torch the poor thing, they used flashlights) and people could start taking pictures. I found out that turtles lay eggs 5 or 6 times in a season, and about 100-150 eggs each time.

We were also allowed to touch the eggs. They were similar to ping-pong balls, you could press a dent into it and it would pop out.   At the end of the tour we watched the turtle cover the eggs with sand and go back into the water.

We drove to Tin Can Bay, slept in the car, fed some mozzies and had a miserable night.

Feeding dolphins at Tin Can Bay (Dec 23rd)

It’s possible to feed dolphins at Tin Can Bay. They swim right to the beach and you can give them a fish. We saw 4 dolphins: a 9 month baby, then a 21, 25 and 35 year old dolphin. The dolphins didn’t do any tricks, sometimes one of them stuck its nose out of the water to sniff around. You could almost see a smile on the dolphin’s face because it knew people would feed it soon. It was interesting to see these majestic creatures and to feed them. I liked it!

Once the dolphins were fed we drove home to Brisbane. Home sweet home with all its luxuries: a warm shower, wifi, a bed, fridge and washing machine.

By the way, Pete financed most of the trip’s expenses. He’s my squeeze! Soon my financial situation will be so bad that I will be sending emails about the millions I inherited from a distant relative who was killed in an airplane crash. I will need to transfer the funds out of my country, I will need your help and bank account details.

Thanks Pete and Rachel! It was an amazing trip!

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