Monday, June 07, 2010

June 7, Cairns, Australia

It’s been slow going - one month to reach Cairns (“Cans”), 750 miles. We are still in Australia, still on the East Coast, still in the state of Queensland, and still inside the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).
The record of our stops for those of you who care: Double Island Point, Pelican Bay, Woody Island, Bundaberg, Lady Musgrave Island, Pearl Bay, South Percy, Middle Percy, Mackay, Scawfell Is., Lindemann Is., Airlie Beach, Gloucester Is., Upstart Bay, Geoffrey and Maud Bays on Magnetic Is., Townsville, Orpheus Is., Dunk Is., Mission Bay, Cairns. I’m counting - that’s 21 in the month.
The trip has been pleasant enough –beautiful weather, favorable or no wind, calm seas, sleep at night, a well-behaved boat, no crowds. It might sound like heaven to you but it’s kind of dull for us.
What does it look like inside the GBR? From above the water: standard blue ocean, hilly green islands, maybe a bit of white sand beach or some rocks. To the west – an enormous continental land mass that has been unfailingly green – green hills, green mountains, green mangrove swamps, green river valleys.
And what about in the water? Without tour guides or stinger suits, we haven’t been in the water. The poisonous jellyfish are usually gone by the end of April, but not this year. The locals say the cyclones stirred them up. Now we are in saltwater crocodile territory. And of course there are sharks. Need I say more?
What about the towns? This is remote country. Towns are few and far between. They look old and worn except for a few dolled up Victorian era buildings and the impressive port infrastructure that has been built to service North Queensland’s mining and sugar cane industries. Cairns, though, is an exception -it’s an easy going, attractive town with lots of excursions, entertainment and tourists.
After Cairns we will head off to Darwin passing the very remote areas of Cape York, the Gulf of Carpenteria (the accent is on "ter," pronounced like "tear") and Arnhem Land. There aren’t many places to stop – just a few towns in the 1300 mile distance; most of the top end is aboriginal reserve requiring written permits to enter. We plan to make Darwin by July 1.

6 Comments:

Blogger Tony Palmer said...

Hi Tom and Ellen,

It is Tony and Helen Palmer from the good ship Alchemy calling.

Just caught up with your latest movements and can sympathise re the lack of wind.

Helen and I will be back on board late next week for some cruising with friends around the Whitsundays after catching up with all our kids and their kids for 5 or 6 weeks. It has been all good.

Much excitement in Australia re the changing of Prime Ministers - I read in one paper to my amusement that an Aussie Journo in the US has been astonished that the change did not make it to any news service in the US. Sort of puts Australia in to perspective doesn''t it.

Hope it all goes well for you and that you manage to get around the Visa issue you mentioned OK. Darwin is calling you.

Good luck,


Tony

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