Monday, May 3, 2010

Daintree Village And The First Encounter With The River

It kept raining all the way north! Good news though, there was absolutely no trouble finding accommodation for the night - guess no other tourists were crazy enough to drive out of Cairns ;-) Having a few hours of daylight left and 50% of the party battling Jet-lag it was clear that we had to do something.

Crocodile Express definitely had a name that suggested it could keep little G. awake :-D so within 10 min of entering Daintree Village, we had sorted out where to sleep and gotten ourselves Daintree River cruise tickets that would allow us to cruise all week if we wanted.

Sailing up and down the Daintree River was a great choice, doing the same in a boat with a roof was priceless! Finally being able to shoot the camera without having to expose it the the wrath of the elements was a joy.

Being out of your usual habitat, you realize how important it is to have a good guide - your vision is just not tuned into the type of wildlife you can find along a tropical river bank unless you are used to it. We were alright in finding the birds, but if it was not for our excellent local guide, we would probably not have seen the two Green Tree Snakes.

Next was the sales argument of the trip: You cannot really call your cruise "Crocodile Express" without delivering a few "salties". Once again, our guide delivered in the most impressive way possible .. obviously he knew where the croc had been seen earlier during the day, but still he spotted a croc so hidden, that it took 3-4 passes with the boat before some of us tourists got it and after that, he had to pull out the laser pointer and put a green dot directly on the creature to give everyone a view.

My pictures are not great, but conditions were such that it was warmer for the saltwater crocodile to stay in the water than to crawl onto land, hence exposing very little skin above water .. my companion had brought her underwater camera, but vigorously refused to help by doing her part of the photography and the opportunity of getting a couple of "different" croc close-ups. :-D

We spent an enjoyable 1h45m on the river before getting back to land. Accommodation was less than 200 meters from the jetty. While checking in we also managed to book tickets for the early morning birdwatching cruise with Chris Dahlberg. One of the events we had been looking forward to and which would prove to be one of the highlights of the trip. :-)

Fantastic feeling to get into a dry cabin and to put on some dry clothes! We had a great supply of tasty camping food, that could equally well be cooked in the cabin kitchen. While cooking we could enjoy the views down over the paddock where the Cattle Egrets had teamed up with the cows .. not all of us where 100% alert at this point and as it got dark and the Cane Toads started jumping around the cabin, only yours truly made it out of bed to immortalize the event.

Fantastic day and with a little luck it would not rain the next day ...???


Jarrod said...

Not quite what I imagined it would look like.

AGL said...

There is quite a bit of farm land bordering the river just around Daintree Village, as soon as you move further up or down river you get the feeling of truly being in the wilderness - I will include some pictures of that in the next blogpost.

Cheers Allan