Captain Cook must have been having a bad time when he landed on this part of the coast. It is not clear whether the names refer to the land or his predicament, he apparently landed here to make good damage to his ships.
The coast is punctuated with beautiful white sandy beaches partitioned by tropical forest tumbling to the water’s edge. The coast road, striking up again after the Daintree chain ferry, switches over forested bluffs before sweeping down to these isolated waterfront treats and then up again into the trees. Continuing like this the road transfers from a metalled surface to dirt just beyond Cape Tribulation. This is where the fun really begins. The river crossings were definitely the highlight with the steep, rutted inclines beaten into a close second. The raised dust in places was so thick that the only way you could make out fellow on-coming travellers was if they had turned on their headlights.
We continued in this enjoyable vein until we shot past a down at heel sign advertising affordable camping with “croc free” swimming! “That’s it shouted Anna” and we were indeed rewarded with the most surprising gem of a campsite!
After 3km down a dirt track with strangler vines hanging across the road we arrived at a farmstead that looked as if it belonged on the film set of Deliverance! The door was open but no-one in the seemingly deserted house came to the door when we knocked so we ventured in! Rather than backwoods’ bogers (thank you Ant for the local lingo) we were met by South African hospitality and shown to what proved to be the most delightful campsite. We were invited to camp wherever we liked and to help ourselves to firewood from the bush for an open fire – Puckle, this was heaven!
I am sure to sate their curiosity about the Britz mobilers Bruce and Carmel wondered over and introduced themselves.
Always conscious that this is the place were the world’s most deadly spiders and snakes live we tip-toed around the woods picking up twigs and logs to burn. Bear Gillean’s patience with his sticks and washing line ran out before our fire burst into life and so we resorted to using matches. I fear we have some way to go before we can qualify for a walkabout! This was the closest we have come (dared to come?) to wild camping and it was a truly memorable night sitting by the campfire and gazing up at the most amazing display of totally unfamiliar constellations – we really are half a world away!
As the fire died down we turned in, I think we managed 10 o’clock; the PA’s were improving. The scuffle and rustle of nocturnal quadruped living arrested sleep’s embrace momentarily. However nature’s call that is usually heeded sleepily turns to a shouted command in a tent and I had the chance to enjoy the fantastic Southern Hemisphere star show, twice, fully awake.
Our final awakening of the night was to hear the most beautiful and unusual dawn chorus, what makes the song ‘Robert who’ we want to know?