... and back to civilisation...
04.10.2011 - 22.10.2011
With only 2 of the Frenchmens Crew left we decided to come down from the tip of Australia via the west coast. The crazy germens had a problem with the engine mounting so they drove back to Cairns straight down the Developmental Road, Dale's car we waved goodbye on the barge as it went back to Cairns to the assessor, the newly weds help take some of Dales kids back as from 3 vehicles they were down to 2 and everyone had to squeeze in somewhere, so it was left to us and Martin and Belinda (yes we have met another Martin and Belinda) to finish Cape York in style. We came back down via Vrillya Point which was just another beach at the end of the day, but there was something so special that we could not leave. Sunsets on the west coast is something so beautiful to see and it is quite weird to be travel up the east coast watching sunsets which are setting on the west, normally you need to be in Perth and we are so far from there.
The fishing was amazing except for Rod who was eventually getting really frustrated as I proceeded to catch 8 different species of fish including a stingray, long tom, queenie, 2 types of mullet, some perch and some unknown species. I hope they were not a rare species and I caught the last of them. It was a place you could be a real "Bear Giles", we were even considering catching a 1.5 meter croc and having it for dinner, it was our first sighting of a croc in the sea and on the beach. You also get to understand the crocs as they mainly come out at night so not a good time to go swimming but during the day we swam all the time. If I had not seen that croc I would not have believed crocs swim in the sea. I was also trying to catch black tip reef sharks with the throw net, a device used in Qld but illegal in NSW. I hope I am still allowed to own one in NSW you never know. I did master the technique of throwing a cast net, you are supposed to catch live bait for fishing, well I was catching dinner.
Personally I do not think I have ever seen as many fish as we saw at Vrillya Point. Driving along the beach with polarized sunglasses on was an experience, there were hundreds of schools of fish, crabs, turtles, and stingray. I think the most amazing thing I have ever seen in the water was that day. As we were driving along the beach we saw this fin sticking out the water, and when we realized it was to big to be a dolphin and the fact that it did not dolphin dive in and out the water we realized that it was a shark, either a tiger shark or a bull shark. It was about 4 meters and it swam only about 10meters from the shore line where we had been swimming. We walked down the beach for about 30 minutes following it. You could just hear the jaws music, do do - do do - do do - do do. With polarized lenses we could see the shape under the water, it was amazing I don' t think opportunities like that come around very often but then again I am not sure you want them to.
After being parked on the beach for two days we decided that it was time to visit the ship wreck and as we were about to leave Martin asked what was leaking out of our fuel tank. Well yes it was the fuel tank and it was fuel. We had over the last two days lost half a tank of fuel, and in a place where you can't get water you can imagine the seriousness of trying to get fuel. The closest garage was about 300 kms away. It was quite entertaining watching Rod with his finger over the hole and I had visions of him hanging out the back door holding the leak while I were driving. I think Rod was quite excited about the whole event as we have carried boxes and boxes of bits and pieces for any possibility of something going wrong and finally we could use it. Out came everything, it took him longer to unpack and see what he had, then it took him to fix the hole. He became the real Magiver..... In the end all we used was the tip of a finger of a glove and a self tapping screw, which is still in place and holding to this day. Martin had done the bearing on the idler pulley and we still had no starter motor after we sunk the car in the Nolans river, so neither of us were prepared to be separated. We would travel together no matter what until things got sorted.
After a couple days southbound on the telegraph track again it was time to start heading out of Cape York, but not before we spend a last few days on the banks of Bertie Creek where we had our only rain of the Cape trip - quite a downpour, but great to cool off in, just could not go inside.
...and what rain looks like from the bottom...
From Bertie's we headed back to Coen. We were out of alcohol and nearly out of fuel and food. We pulled into Coen and Belinda decided a 2litre cask of wine will see her through a few days, it lasted 6 hours after a game of "kings" and things turned bad after that. The next day was full of moans and groans and eventually at 2pm she was feeling a bit more human.
Cairns was our next stop as that was the only place we could get our starter motor fixed under warranty. We pulled into Lake Tinaroo still with Belinda and Martin in tow and we bunked there for a few days. Rods birthday was the 18th Oct and we were due to pick up the car in Cairns. We drove to town waited around for the day and Toyota phoned us at 4.50pm to advise that the car will not be ready today we must come back tomorrow. So we are stuck in Cairns and the rain starts to pour the biggest rain fall in 47 years. I suggested we stay in a hotel, so the Shangri-La it was, although we looked terrible and had no clothes. Target was the only place open until 6pm so some clean underwear, a toothbrush and something we could go to dinner in was purchased in about 30 minutes. I was dressing Rod as he happened to get a phone call from Matthew J and all of a sudden they had lots to talk about while I am trying to find, fit and dress Rod before the shops closed. All was done and dusted, I had a dress and sandals Rod had jeans and shirt and we were ready to hit the town. We decided that a nice dinner and movies in bed was what the doctor ordered, as we are so behind on our movies. We watched 3 movies and fell asleep at least we kept up the tradition as Rod was at Victoria Falls for his 30th, Niagra Falls for his 35th, Lake Macquarie for his 40th and the Cairns Marina for his 45th. Wonder where he will be for his 50th.
We left Cairns and headed for Chilligoe as there are some magnificent caves there, on the way we stopped at Irvinbank a one pub town with nothing else, not even a shop, everything you need comes out of the pub. We got talking to some guys who were the organizers of a mountain bike race, supposed to be the toughest in the world. How come no one in Australia knows about it. It is called the Croc Trophy. It is around 1200km through some of the most desolate and grueling country Australia has to offer. There were 88 entrants which very few of them were Aussie, this is a very big mtn bike race in Europe with most of the candidates coming from there. $2500 entry fee and it is a 10 day race. 100+kms a day is not bad to do but to do it for 10 days in a row is a bit grusome. The hardest challenge was for 2 guys with hand cycles, both been shot in the back years before and here they are taking on a challenge that most able-bodied men and women could not defeat. A good days cycling was when they completed the course and it was still day light. Sometime they were still out there at 10pm at night. Absolutely amazing, to qualify they were not to receive help from any outsider, they had to complete the race with only help from a cyclist. Andrew rode with them and when they had no traction under their tyre Andrew would give them a nudge, but this did not happen very often. They were so determined and disciplined it was amazing to watch. Thank you Carlos and Patrick you were a real inspiration I feel I should never winge about anything again.
Donna's cave and this why...
...some fun with the camera
We then received an email from our beautiful daughter asking us to come home as she needs her parents. She has just graduated from uni and done exceptionally well we are so proud of her. Also Zineta has hit a wombat in her car and done heaps of damage. The kids need us so we are on our way home, we expected to get home by the 15 November we will now be home by the 26th October. Look forward to seeing everyone back home and get this wedding underway. This will be our last blog until we are on the road again in a couple of months. Thank you to our 500 or so readers you keep us inspired and hope we can encourage you to take to the road it is easier then you think, just don't over think it.