Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Mid Year Madness & Monsters!
Since my hubby no longer has school holidays off any more it was just the kids and I off on our adventures this time. Quads hooked up, rods restrung with new line, lures stocked up and ice aboard we started our first week at Pennefather beach where we shacked up for a week of shenanigans.
On the first morning we woke up early to watch the sun come up over the back to find the manta rays feeding and cleaning in the shallows in front of our camp. The mother had her babies in toe again and there were a few shadows following them – maybe cobia. They were almost close enough to touch and we loved eating our shake-a-pancakes on the sand and watching them.
For the first few days the kids practiced flicking lures with random success. Mak picked up a nice blue salmon and then some sharks. Xavier hooked up some queenies and trevally but spent most of his time hand feeding our mullet to a small black-tipped reef shark that kept beaching itself in a frenzy for more. I think he fed it at least half a dozen when Mak decided to put a hook in hers and flick it out. Within a few seconds she was on and her reel was screaming. A 2m+ shark launched out of the water like a barra and almost spooled her little rod when the tip of it snapped off. Mak was squealing with excitement and fear and a few tourists up the beach came down to watch as she tried to haul it in. She did her best for about 10mins when the shark busted her off with one last jump. ..
By then we were on a real fishing frenzy high and were hoping to get something else when in the middle of the channel appeared something brown and large like a manta ray but had a girth like a whale; gliding just under the water. It had no fin and I racked my brain to think of what it could possibly be. There was only one explanation…… it was a monster. As soon as we saw it, it disappeared and we didn’t see it again. Maybe it was a dugong? Finless whale or shark? I don’t know…
The turtles had started to make their way up the beach at night to lay their eggs and we took both quads up and down the beach each day looking for their tracks and making up stories about what must have made the tracks and what they were doing. The kids loved this game and there was such a variety of tracks that some of them really stumbled me.
When we weren’t fishing and it got too hot we quadded up to the tunnels for a swim and a picnic. We ‘smashpooed’ and conditioned our hair and washed all the sand and bushman off before heading back to build up the fire and whack the camp oven on for tea. Each afternoon we watched the sun go down over the water, ate some cheese and crackers, washed it down with cold drinks and played endless games of “I spy” and story telling in the hammock. One night we saw what looked like a ‘pirate’ ship cruise past us and I thought it might have been a junk boat with boat people on it but then it was gone. We later found out that The Duyfken, an endeavour looking ancient boat, came into Weipa for the weekend for everyone to view.
It was the last morning when I went out the front to stoke the fire when I noticed very clear slides in the sand at the front of our shack. Excitedly I woke the kids to come look at what I thought were turtle tracks. They ended just a few metres from our swags with the fire in between us. On closer inspection I thought to myself that the girth wasn’t as big as a normal turtle track and dismissed it as perhaps a small turtle. Then I noticed there wasn’t a hole where the eggs should have been and I dismissed it thinking the turtle mustn’t have been happy with the spot and turned back. It was at least 50 – 60m to the water’s edge so it was a long way to come and just turn back. As we followed the tracks back towards the water, the sand got more moist and it was very clear to see the claw marks and it was at that moment I realised a large crocodile had walked up to us in the middle of the night…. The footprints were bigger than my outstretched hand. It was a bit close to home for me so I packed us up and we came home for the night. Friends of ours that came the next day said they saw the croc still waiting out the front the next day and it loitered in the shallow waters hoping we’d return I’m sure. It was a dinosaur about 4.5m long. Another monster…
We spent the weekend at home with Az and washed off our gear, filled up the ice again and set off on adventure 2 on the Monday out to the Wenlock river to wallow in the fresh water river. The kids flicked soft plastics into the deep holes and got some Togas and Bass.
On the second morning I dragged the kids across the river so they could reach the deep hole as it was up to my waist and the current was too strong for them. Halfway across we saw a shadow coming towards us in the water and I grabbed the kids and hoisted them as high as I could out of the water until I could see what it was. It was a barramundi just cruising on past us up the river and didn’t give a second look. It also didn’t give our lures a look in either…..
After the Penne croc incident I used the spotty each night to check the water as there’s big saltwater crocs in the Wenlock and just as many stories but saw none. Thank goodness. The camp just up from us had a small one hanging around their camp their whole trip but it was much deeper and we could see the bottom in our spot.
The kids spent the next few days running their cherubim pots and using them as livies or eating them. Both of them were getting good with their flicking and from the campsite I noticed a friend of mine walking towards our camp with a backpack on. He’d gotten bogged a few hundred metres up the track and needed help. I quadded up with my shovel but it was past that point in the sticky mud so I had to go back and the get the truck. Snatching him out backwards was easier than we both thought and before we knew it he was out and ready to continue.
We quadded up the many tracks around the Wenlock exploring for new spots and hidden treasures. We looked for croc spots and when we stopped for someone to wee we heard the weirdest noise coming from a billabong. Every few seconds there was a high pitched squeal like an elephant….or a monster. This was going to be too many unexplained monsters for me so I convinced the kids to be brave while we investigated the noise. We followed it up the bank and around the back corner and found an old windmill that was the culprit. Thank goodness!
After 11 nights camping outside, several monsters, a croc in camp and a belly full of cheese, we were all starting to crave a hot shower and our own beds as well as a squeeze or three from dad and headed home, batteries charged and ready to plan our next trip.