Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mission Beach to Cairns

October 12

In the morning I left Michael at the campsite and strolled the 100 metres or so to the shops. It's a well-designed little enclave among coconut palms.

On the beachfront, a group was at work climbing the palms

to cut down loose fronds and coconuts, which they were piling into a wheelbarrow.

Quite a few coconuts tried to escape onto the beach, where they were scooped up by passing holidaymakers. I'm not fond of raw coconut or I would have snaffled one too.

We left Mission Beach rather regretfully, passing more signs for cassowaries but not seeing any.
We did, however, pass banana plantations with the ripening fruit bagged for protection.

And shortly after we joined the highway again, we were passed by the local bikers,

who may have been heading out for a game of golf.

At Innisfail, one of the larger towns, we decided to check out the local crocodile farm. The chances of seeing one of these monsters in the wild is slim, and your chances of surviving the encounter are also slim, so this seemed the best option for our continued health.
We happened to arrive at the same time as a busload of French tourists.

There were lots of crocs, mostly just lying around open-jawed (waiting for something to fly in perhaps?)

One of the employees, waved a chunk of bacon to encourage a little action for the battery of cameras, calling the individual crocs by name: David, Russell, Big Bruno, Maureen.

On enquiry I was told that this chunk of meat was their sole feed of the day; that they stored extra food as fat around their necks; that a pig ( or small child) would last a crocodile for about 4 months; that they were able to lower their heart-rate to a point that allowed them stay submerged in a semi-comatose state for as much as 4 hours before needing to come up for air.

Also in the croc park we finally got to see a cassowary, even if it was behind a fence.

All that was now left to see was a cane toad. We had hopes of Gordonvale in this respect, but all they had was a mosaic wall,

and a play area for kids with cane toad sculptures.

And so we continued uneventfully on to Cairns .

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