Monday, 25 October 2010

Townsville to Kinka Beach

Starts don't come much earlier than today with the alarm tolling at 4:15am in order that I could have Sue at the airport for check in at 5:00am.

We went through the usual airport things including the obligatory security check. Top points to the Townsville security officers who accepted my absent mindedness in still having my knife on my belt when I presented. A lovely lady there took my offered knife and kept it in a safe place until my return. We had very little time to wait, as Sue, wheelchair bound, was first loaded on the plane and there was no time for emotional farewells, a short peck having to suffice for us both until the weekend. Sue, managing her pain and preoccupied didn't look back or perform and final wistful wave and I was left standing among strangers who just stared and waited as though there should be a postscript to the parting. I turned, fighting the first pangs which would stab me all day, collected my knife and headed for the hills ... literally, Castle Hill, a Townsville landmark which lies between the centre of town and the well healed shoreline.

Like most mornings, in a scene reminiscent of Uluru, the steep road which ascends Castle Hill is a hive of activity as people of all ages and readiness for heart attack, walk, run or stagger to the top of this 286 metre high pink granite monolith. The derivation of its name is no surprise as it looks for all the world the type of landform which would have been fortified in medieval times. As to the fixation with "conquering" the climb I am loath to offer the excuse "because it is there" as it holds no logic because the flat and go on forever Ingham Rd is there too and presumably also needs conquering but I saw no sweat jockeys there.

As I am nursing a damaged knee and for reasons of not being a complete idiot, I was content to weave in and out of people in various stages of apoplexy as I showed them how the ascent is done ... in my Forester. Some even bothered to give me dirty looks.

As I reached the summit, the sun was managing its first greeting on a cliff face of Mt Stuart, behind Townsville and beginning to light the surface of the Ross River. I was able to watch the take off of Sue's plane. I waved and blew kisses but Sue just seemed to ignore me, too intent on the imminent serving of breakfast and the movie full of tall guys that was just starting ... or perhaps the pain.

After stepping over several folks making resolutions and Labradors who wished for blind owners, I must admit that the sight of a guy pedalling his adapted road bike into the car park at the top of Castle Hill with one leg and the other, a titanium stick strapped to the side of the bike made me glad I gave up smoking and pleased I take the little pills to stop me being that determined. I got to wondering if he had back pedal brakes for the return trip.

The plan was that I was to break camp, leave the trailer with Jim & Judy Parsons for the day and follow my wife's instructions and go sightseeing. I did something very close to that plan. I packed up the car and trailer and hit the road.

The first stop was Airlie Beach, which appears to be for the beautiful people and the ugly rich. It certainly is beautiful with that postcard turquoise blue water, white sand, coconut trees lining the beaches and every shade of green imaginable, include those passing through who were subject to envy. There is even an inlet which runs into the town where you can feed the fish and watch the string rays.

I somehow managed to snag a park where no trailer parks existed, right at the beach and ate lunch and wrote some poetry, sharing a park bench with a friendly lass who claimed to be a major in literature and thought I was brilliant. A young couple nearby seemed to be undergoing some form of training for sucba diving, as they locked mouths for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time without requiring breath ... either that or the braces on their teeth were locked together, which might explain the way their heads were turning vigorously from side to side. I took lots of photos of the place to show Sue. Think Byron, think Cable Beach and then think prettier and you have the picture.

The rest of the afternoon was spent driving, as I was keen to get a long leg out of the way on the first day. The highlight was driving behind Skooby Doo ... which only reminded me of my girl again.

Sunset at Emu Park
I stopped occasionally for fuel or photos and eventually arrived at Kinka Beach about 6:30pm. I came back here because it was a place Sue loved. I had a rather nice pasta at the pub at Emu Park and was ready to head back to the digs when I spied a big, fat, red moon just peeking over Great Keppel Island so I drove up to the Singing Ship and soaked it all in and attempted to capture it with the cameras. This scene made sure I finished the day where I started it, missing Sue.

Meanwhile Sue was back in Tamworth by mid afternoon, looked after mid journey by Sarah at Sydney airport and once she was home by a friend - Robyn Crosby - and then tonight by Chris and Sam. She's surrounded by people who will look after her.

I worked on some poems and snuggled into my empty bed.

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