Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Further Day At The Daintree

Alexander Lookout
A slow, slow start to a day for the first time in a couple of weeks so we could dry some clothes and shoes and other items (like camera bags) after yesterdays solid wall of water. This allowed me to catch up with my blogs which had slipped a day behind. The discipline of daily writing has been good for me, especially as I have spent ten years as a "sometime soon man". The value for me comes from my love of the craft so that it never becomes a chore, its just that sometimes other things prevent me getting to the job before a time at night when I'd rather be sleeping and with all this free air and exercise, that's usually by 8:30pm.

We crossed the river into the Daintree just after midday and in vastly different weather conditions that twenty four hours earlier. The rain was gone and sunshine was now threatening and by the time we reached our first stop, Cape Kimberley, the rainforest and mangroves had an entirely different look and feel. Without the rain, the leaves and bark of trees loose their lustre and a lot of its colour and there is no more nodding of leaves or smacking of fat drops on whatever lies below. Yet if I was a new chum who had not seen yesterday's display, I would surely still be impressed. Its the nature of this part of the country to impress. We returned to the bends and turns and this time detoured to Alexander Lookout which gives a sweeping view of the mouth of the Daintree River. This stop was packed with visitors but with patience, some reasonable shots were obtained. Running about our feet were some feral chickens who were turning the soil in search of treats.

The Rainforest Discovery Centre turned out to be our last visit of the day. Set up to allow visitors to experience the three tiers of the rainforest environment through elevated walkways and a large tower, it is successful in showing its guests all the information they need to understand about a rainforest environment in general and the Daintree rainforest in particular. Stops along the way are numbered relational to an excellent information book which is part of the entry price and also to a audio program worn on lanyards around your neck and available in a variety of different languages, in much the same way that art galleries have been doing for many years. There is even a point where spoken information can be played by the listener turning a handle to generate the energy for the recording to play.

At the halfway point of these walks, an interpretive centre hosts video, audio, pictorial and written information about the flora and fauna of the rainforest, including a press button pad which plays the calls of birds you will find in the Daintree. At first I thought, the entry seemed over priced but in consideration of the innovative and different paths to learning they have provided, I think they have it about right. The highlight for me was standing in the five storey high tower which brings you out in the canopy of the tall trees, where I spotted Pied Imperial Pigeons, Metallic Starlings and and a Yellow Spotted Honeyeater. I would suggest that an opportunity which could be taken is to have a "birdo" stationed here, pointing out the birds currently to be seen and providing binoculars to help the punters see them. If you had never been in a rainforest, you would have left with the taste of a lovely entree leaving you wanting more of the main course. Parts of this are wheel chair friendly, another plus.

It was beer o'clock, so we headed back to camp but before sitting down for the day, we wandered down to the river for one last lingering look. In the late afternoon sunshine, with the green hills and mountains as a backdrop, it was as perfect a scene as anyone would to imagine, let alone see.

This was the focus of our five week trip and as such, it hasn't disappointed us one bit. Quite the reverse. Thanks to a beauty which soaks through the pores and fills every one of the five senses, we will leave tomorrow on a high. Thanks also to the passion and commitment of Mick Casey, who has made the task of converting others through his knowledge and his love of this place so much easier by the way he leads you to drink it up and then revels as you do. Our lives have been changed by this experience and he has been central to it.

As a poet, I am inspired and ideas, currently bouncing about doing the neuron dance, are being committed to note books and anything I can write on and then stashed into safe places until I can unfold them and light a fire in the sterility of the four sensible and safe walls of my office at home. In time, I fancy creepers will run there, oblivious to those who can't see them.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a trip. Have enjoyed reading about your journeys.And Mick was obviously an enlightened sand Groper who has found his niche in life.
    By the way did you join in the dancing?


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