Well, it’s been interesting!
We had a quiet morning, but after lunch we ventured out to explore a little. First on the list was Lake Placid, a local spot for picnics, walks and for the intrepid, water sports. I say intrepid, because Lake Placid is simply a point where the Barron river widens on its way from the heights of Kuranda down to the sea. And where there’s an estuary, and the sea, there are crocodiles. The water at this point is slow moving and no longer very clear and it seemed to us a perfect place to have a, well, terminal encounter… We stayed well clear of the banks.
On up the Barron river, then, and we reached the point where the river falls to a hydroelectric plant which supplies the area with a lot of its power. The water is low just now, so it’s not especially spectacular, but when it’s in spate I imagine the water tumbling down the gorge must be awe-inspiring. On either side of the rocky gorge are slopes thickly cloaked with rainforest. Amongst the dense ‘broccoli’ of the canopy there was a brilliant ping of scarlet: a Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius), which you can see more clearly if you click on the photo. And along the track from the hydroelectric plant to the car park, I spotted a Cluster Fig (Ficus racemosa), with its fruit sprouting directly from the trunk. They’re edible, just not very sweet.
Back onto the road, and we ventured north out of the city a way, onto the Rex highway towards Port Douglas. It was so hot, and we were very sticky, and the sea looked wonderful, so we pulled into a roadside stop for Ellis Beach, a deserted stretch with space for a few cars under the trees. Just look at that view towards Double Island, and how deserted this amazing beach is. The rainforest literally comes down to the sand, with just the merest fringe of palm trees before the sand begins. We paddled in the warm shallows, keeping an eye out for stingers, until we were cooler and ready to head for home.
Home again, into the pool for a long cooling splash about and conversation with our campsite neighbours, a cold beer and pizza for dinner, and then – bang! All the power went out: as far as we could see it was pitch black. By now, the thunder that had been rumbling for several hours had turned into a celestial battle of the gods, with lightning bolts being hurled about with abandon. When we checked the power company website, the problem was extremely widespread (a radius of over 100km north and south of Cairns), affecting over 78,000 people and there was no estimated time for it to be fixed. Alarming… Meanwhile, we turned on the 12v lights that run off our deep cycle battery and solar panel and switched the fridge over to gas, and apart from being hot (and noisy!), all was well. An hour and a half later, power was suddenly restored, to our great relief; we were getting very hot in the 31°C humidity.
We’re cool, we’re under cover and dry and we have no schedule, so there’s no drama attached to the thunderstorms which are now raging around us off and on for the next 24 hours. The rain is badly needed but very heavy, so we’ll need to keep an eye on the roads for a few days after it all moves on but in the meantime, we’ll read, blog, sew, watch movies and probably get stuck into some of that lovely food we’ve accumulated. Oh, and I really must go shopping for a new swimsuit. Mine is very old and losing its elasticity in all sorts of inappropriate places.
Still, I’m in the right place for it…