Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation (Daintree Rain Forest): Monday June 9, 2014

It finally stopped raining before 7:00 this morning.  Our plans for the day are to drive north of Port Douglas on the only road going to the Daintree Rain Forest and on to Cape Tribulation.  Any travel north of Cape Tribulation is on gravel roads requiring a 4x4 vehicle. At the Daintree River you board a cable ferry to take you to the north side of the river.  We stopped at all the lookouts, and walked all of the trails, which are mostly on boardwalks as it is a soggy wet rainforest area.  The foliage (trees, ferns, vines) is so interesting, the different varieties and the way they survive.  We walked on the different beaches, saw the bubbler sand crabs and the interesting designs they make on the sand with little balls of sand. There is another creature that makes a design on the beach, but as of yet, we do not know what it is.
The Drive into the Rain Forest
Alexander Lookout over the coast
Cal walking on Wonga Beach

Wonga Beach - Notice how far the water is out at low tide 

Dubuji Rain Forest Walk - Boardwalk

Many, many mature Fern Trees

Unusual Root System for when under water during rainy season

Basket Fern in the tree

Basket fern up close

Me Tarzan, where is Jane (Oh she is taking the photo)
Small Water Falls along the road

Cape Tribulation Beach

Bubbler Crab design on the Cape Tribulation Beach

Small Bubbler Crab - Very Quick down his hole

One final view of Cape Tribulation
It was our kind of day, exploring nature.  Then on the last walk, (we were on the board walk), I saw movement down below.  It was a male Southern Cassawary with a young one.  These are extremely rare to see. They located only in Australia and New Guinea, and only this rainforest area. They are a big flightless bird with an interesting life.  The female only lays eggs, and maybe from 2-3 males a season.  The males which are a colorful bird, sits on the nest, the eggs hatch, and he takes care of the chicks until they are 18 months old – the females are off laying eggs for other males to tend!  It absolutely amazing that we saw one! Guides in the area say they only see them about 20% of the time. It finished off a wonderful day in nature.

Cow Bay Beach

Rachel walking on Cow Bay Beach

Warning Sign for the endangered Cassowary 

Unusual sighting in the wild - A male Cassowary with a chick he is caring for

Flying Buttress Root on a Tree
North of Port Douglas and even north of Mossman, the tillable crop is sugarcane.  An unbelievable amount of acres is in sugar cane.  They go from the sea to the mountains.  The little sugar-rail tracks run north along the main road for at least 20 miles and they also are south of Port Douglas.  Yesterday we visited with a sugar cane farmer who said this area has what sugar cane needs to grow – sunlight, rain, & warmth.  There are several sugar mills in this immediate area.  We were just so surprised to see sugar cane. 

Crossing the river on a ferry

More Sugar Cane

The "Crystalized Sugar" - as we were told as a joke by a grower

More Cane rail cars

The engine moving the cane cars

Mechanized Sugar Cane Harvester
Yesterday during the Ironman race we met a Rotary couple from Jacksonville, FL and had a short visit with them.  Tonight as we were walking through downtown Port Douglas deciding where we would eat, we ran into them again.  They asked us to join them for pizza.  We had good pizza and a great visit. It began raining (pouring) as we were eating.  This is the tropics, and a rain forest area. The weather can change in minutes – from sun to rain. 

We are hoping the weather will agree tomorrow so we can see the Great Barrier Reef before we leave Australia for New Zealand on Wednesday, June 11.   

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