Tuesday, January 29, 2008
How bittersweet it is on this last day of my holiday. I'm back at Trinity Beach after five days staying north of the Daintree River, exploring Cow Bay and Cape Tribulation. It was a perfectly blissful time, every minute a pleasure: playing on pristine golden beaches, eating exquisite food in beautiful settings, waking up to the green glow of dawn filtered through the triple canopy, lounging around in crystal clear swimming holes shared with brave little fish, discovering all kinds of exotic fruit, falling in love with the foliage, the butterflies, the geckos, the bats, the birds... even the enormous spiders.
This whole Northern Queensland trip has been delightful, every day has been relaxed and warm yet has had its own character. In summary:
Day 1 was the Day of the Fruit Market in Cairns
Day 2 was the Day of the Night Swim and the Fruit Bats over the sea at Yorkey's Knob
Day 3 was the Day of the Frog in the Redlynch Train Station
Day 4 was the Day of the Backyard Ulysses Butterfly
Day 5 was the Day of the Baby Crocodiles on the Daintree River
Day 6 was the Day of the Cane Toads on Trinity Track
Day 7 was the Day of the Brush Turkeys in Mossman Gorge and the Kuku Yalingi Walk
Day 8 was the Day of the Cassowaries* and the Red Legged Wallaby with Papaya at Crocodylus
Day 9 was the Day of the Bandicoot , the Tiny Grey Frogs and the Little Bats
Day 10 was the Day of the Bespectacled Bats in the Orchard and the Little Fish at Emmegen
Day 11 was the Day of the Turquoise Dragonfly and Golden Orb Spiders at Cape Trib
Day 11 was the Day of the Pied Imperial-Pigeon at Trinity
Cassowaries are big birds, related to the moa and kiwi of New Zealand, with long blue necks, red wattles, aqua eye masks and a fat body covered with fluffy kiwi-like feathers. Afterwards we were told that only 1 in 400 visitors to the Daintree sees a cassowary in the wild. We saw four of them in two days.
Sitting on the front porch of our rain forest cabin one morning, enjoying a fresh papaya and the majestic Strangler Fig dominating the patch of forest before us, we suddenly realised that a giant cassowary, about 2m tall, was stalking deliberately across the forest floor directly in front of the porch railing. I scrambled for the camera but couldn't get a good shot in time and instead kicked myself for being distracted from just enjoying the bird itself. When a wallaby hopped past our cabin a couple of minutes later I didn't make the same mistake and concentrated on imprinting his cute furriness on my memory rather than trying to take a photo.
Back in the same spot for evening drinks we watched the same (or another) cassowary take exactly the same path in the reverse direction-obviously a commuter route! The next morning I was up early, back out on the porch on my own, writing rain forest poetry, when who should come cruising back again, to make another majestic pass for my eyes alone. And finally, as we were clearing out the cabin and loading up the truck, we both enjoyed a final sighting- me through foliage and Santo almost eye to eye with the bird (who can be dangerous, with its big feet, sharp beak and hard high crest).