Thursday, 11 October 2012

September Shenanigans

The countdown was until the September school holidays and the big fella had a list of jobs to fix on my truck before he left for his Cairns TAFE safari after the hols. There was no way I was going to sit around the house for two weeks, with the outlaws Nanna and Pop, and the very thought of being housebound without 4WD whilst he was away for the 7 weeks after the hols was my worst nightmare for sure.

Luckily for me, after a good 8hrs on the hoist after work, it was a green light.  We picked the visitors up from the airport and headed up to the falls for a few days.  Fruitbat falls did not disappoint and we wallowed under the first lot of rapids and waterfalls for about an hour before moving around to Twin and Eliot.  We set up camp at our secret "no tourists allowed" spot and enjoyed our own private waterfall and wild sanctuary.

The boys headed out to visit another crew about 10mins on quad but there were too many of us to squeeze on if we included the essential esky and snacks so I opted to drive around with Nanna.  We almost got into Canal Crk's entrance but the last water barrier was a big sticky so I went to put it into 4WD and it was stuck. No 4WD.  There were a few F bombs out the window and a quick mental punching session and finally another car came past with a young group in the front and I asked them to tell the quad camp up the road that I had no 4WD and had headed back to camp.

Everyone that knows me knows very well I don't like to miss out on fun so going back to camp to wait was not going to be pretty.  The fact that I had no 4WD, four hours from home, was a slap I also wasn't prepared for.  The first hour I waited I was cranky. The second hour I waited I mellowed out a bit and wallowed in the creek. By the third hour I was thinking "hmmmm, I don't think they got my message."  My hubby had found another tourist up the road from us who'd crashed their trailer to pieces and his stomach starting churning when he couldn't find me.  My sense of direction is poor at the best of times but he always seems to find my track and come get me but this time it took him a bit longer; no harm done.

We spent another couple of days swimming, jumping and washing under the crystal clear water and then headed back into town so hubby could go back to work.

The next day we washed our bags and refilled the Trailblazer with more beers, cheese and camp oven roasts and headed this time up to Pennefather for the full moon in the hope we'd get to see the turtles lay.  We stayed in the 5star shack on the beach and the weather was spectacular to say the least.  The camp set up quickly and we filled our bellies and filled the quads ready for the night ride up and down the beach.  It was about 6:30pm when we came across our first mumma turtle on her way up the beach.  She was magnificent and very patient.  The kids crept close enough on their bellies to touch her flippers as she dropped a few dozen eggs from her own.  This close encounter will stay with them for life.  The first night we saw plenty of tracks up and down the beach.  Ghost crabs were in full force and there were also quite a number of roosting birds on the beach this trip too.  Turtles were laying all over the beach and some had climbed more than 70m up the beach, over the dunes and were laying on the road.

The local council has just recently graded the entrance to Pennefather beach and every "tourist-nufty-idiot" now spits out on the soft sandy beach rather than going the swamp tracks behind the laying areas which means we saw at least a dozen cars churning up and running over nests all day long. It was heart breaking.  Many nests have been posted with signs or have debris marking them but it didn't seem to make any difference. Hopefully the new ranger up there can sign or rope off the entrance for awhile to help them.

We woke up early to flick lures up and down the beach and feed the many large pelagic's scaling the crystal clear water. It was too tempting for me and I had to get in and have a quick swim.  We saw a little 2.5m croc on the beach who hung around us for awhile but that was about it.  We chased the schools of mullet and blue salmon but they weren't interested in our smorgasbord of soft plastics or poppers.  Xavie had a ball with his overhead but I learned that you pay a dear price for cheap line. Never, ever again.  For every cast he got right there were at least 5 that birdied which meant that no one on the beach could fish until he could.....

For lunch I made a camp oven pork belly and veal roast with the best vegies. It was divine.  I also realised that I was down the big fella this trip and still had another roast in there by mistake so we cooked it up too and dinner was yet another reason why my pants were growing tighter and tighter.

That night we saw three mumma turtles within an hour walk up the beach and lay. The kids kept saying "mum, we're the luckiest family in the whole, wide world hey mum?!"  Yes we truly are.  One turtle had a big croc or shark bite out of her shell leaving her left back leg completely exposed but it had healed over and she was obviously ok.  The second turtle had her back right foot eaten and it was flapping around like paper so digging her hole was a mammoth and frustrating effort for her. Three holes later she decided it had to be good enough and we left her in peace to finish her business.  The last turtle had been turned around too many times and had gotten herself disorientated with the fire lights in the distance so the kids used their torches to guide her back to the water which I'm sure she was grateful for and Mak and Xav were stoked.   By 8:30pm Xavier was heard saying, "Mum, I'm busted" and fell asleep on the quad and Mak's eyes were in the back of her head shortly afterwards so we headed back to camp.  As we drove into camp my headlights spotted a track right out the front of the shack and we followed it up, past the debris, over the dunes and up near the road, then back down again.  We found her buried beneath the sand half-way back down the beach and she was in the middle of laying so we watched her finish and then headed to our swags ourselves.  There must have been dozens laying that night as the beach was filled the next morning with the best writing a kid could ever read.

62 days, I think, it takes for them to hatch.  We saw them laying from July so I think I've got this weekend at the Wenlock then back to Penne for the new moon and hopefully be lucky enough to see the full cycle begin again.  What a true miracle.

A big thank you to Nanna and Pop for sharing in this adventure.  You will be surely missed x

No comments:

Post a Comment