We needed a get well card after our trip in Cardwell. And had a breather in Ayr.
You remember how we went to the Tully sugar mill? Well from there we had a short drive down the coast to Cardwell. The main reason we went to Cardwell is because I have wanted to see Hinchinbrook Island since I was a boy and dreamed of its tropical wildernesses and pristine surrounds. I don’t remember if I have previously mentioned my plan when I left high school. The plan was for me and my mate to buy a horse and walk to Cairns (the horse was going to carry our stuff). I believe it was me who conceived of this amazingly detailed and well thought through plan and having come up with the idea, my teenage brain had exhausted it’s capacity and skill to push it’s completion any further. That was my friends job. He was the organised sensible one. He was the guy you could rely upon to come up with reasonable, sound solutions. I was the ideas man and having had such a great one I was simply incapable of giving any more. That guy, (and he’ll be reading this burning with shame I am sure), let me down big time. If you can believe it, he actually got a job at a television station straight out of school and, get this, he didn’t even wait for the school holidays to finish to start his new fancy, fandangled job. Did he do the right thing and think…. hmmm I best dedicate all my considerable energies and talents towards turning Danny’s incredible dream into a wonderful reality by planning and organising everything and ensuring we get a good deal on the horse? Quite simply, NO, he did not. And thus my dream to explore the wonders of Hinchinbrook in the early eighties were crushed under the heel of his selfish ambition. Had he have done the right thing and got it all sorted out I might have got this travel bug thing out of system and saved my wife and children a lot of emotional and financial grief. Shame shame shame. So this leads onto the Hinchinbrook story. I am unsure of how much detail I should put in though.
I am going to start this story with a big spoiler, which is…….. we all survived! So before we got to Cardwell I did a bit of research about day tours etc to the Island and they all seemed restrictive and expensive. The option that was more open and cheaper was to hire a boat. After we set up on the Thursday I rang the number on the brochure in the office and talked to a lady who said she had a tinnie available and we could have it but we would have to keep it for a full day as the tides made it difficult to get back to the boat ramp until 5:30 pm. So we had the boat from 7am until 5:30pm. That day, as luck would have it, was the lowest tide of the year and because of the financial disaster that is the Port Hinchinbrook development the mouth of the marina is a silted up mess that can only be crossed at mid to high tide. The lady said it would all be fine. Getting out was easy enough and we headed to a day use area at the northern end of the island called Macushla. It is a tiny rocky point with sand surrounding it. There is a landing spot on the north side of the rocks and one on the south. I decided that the south was sheltered so I would leave the boat there and the north had the better picnic set up so we could stay there. I should have kept the boat with us because as the tide went out it became very apparent that it was out a long way. And by half past three there was an unfathomable amount of mudflats keeping the boat from any water. It wasn’t looking like it would be back in time for us to get back in daylight and we had no nav lights. We made a few calls to the lady who said “You’ll be right there’ll be a metre of water by 5pm.” Monja also rang some of her friends and I believe she bade them a teary farewell as she was convinced we would be stranded or drowned. 5pm came and there was 10 cm of water beneath the boat so that if we were all on it, it would simply hit the sand beneath us. I managed to slowly back it out at 5:25 in 60 cm of water. As soon as we hit deeper water though I had to gun it and we bounced and splashed our way back for an hour across the lumpy water as the kids and Monja hung on to the sides for dear life and I did my best to keep the tiller straight and keep looking for the markers with eyes that were streaming with tears after having salt water splashed into them. As we got to the boat ramp the people had just launched a boat to come to our rescue and the last of the light was fading. I called it a smashing adventure. Monja and the kids used other words and have sworn to never go near any boat I am in charge of again. I should add that it was a wonderful wild amazing place that we had all to ourselves the whole day. So really it was special.
This post has already used up twice it’s quota of words so I will just quickly say that we moved on the next day to Ayr and Alva Beach, where we caught up with Andy and Roselys and had a lovely dinner at the Ayr RSL.
We’re at Airlie now. Here are a couple of teasers….