Chill out not flat out

Trip Start Jan 30, 2006
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Trip End Jan 13, 2007


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Monday, November 20, 2006

After leaving the glitze and glamour of Port Douglas I went as far as the buses would take me - to the end of the road. Seriously. The sealed road ends (paved) and from Cape Trib on up the coast the whole way to Cape York it is all dirt roads. The paved road ending is quite exciting because it is at a creek and only large 4 x 4s or stupid tourists even attempt crossing it.

I went to this creek because it happens to be a beautiful fresh water swimming hole with a nice cliff to jump off of. (remember those bloody jelly fish kept me out of the ocean). As I, and four other tourists), were walking through the rainforest to reach the nice jumping off point we happened upon a creature straight out of a time machine. This animal is as confused as many of the other Aussie animals. Poor platypuses (platypi?) are a cross duck, beaver and kangaroo. This animals is part dinosaur, chicken, turkey, yak, ostrich and all spray painted in neon blue with a mohawk. I couldn't even make it up. It is hands down my favourite animal in the whole world, partly because the first time I ever saw the animal was 10 metres in front of me walking in its natural habitat.

It is called a cassowary.
There is only 1200 left in Oz and only 50 in the Cape Trib area. It is about 6 feet tall and built like an ostrich. It has black legs and massive claws on its three toed feet. The body is black and looks like Jim Hensen took an old woolly mamouth fabric and threw it on top of its back because the feathers are so full and shaggy. Then the head is ... I can't think of a more explicit adjective then extraordinary. There is a horn/crest on the top that is dark black, but the rest is a beautiful mixture of blues with a bright red hangy bit like a turkey. This particular cassowary was quite friendly and even stood still for a herd of tourists to surround it and take photos. However down at the beach there was a sign warning about a cassowary that had been known to attack people with those mean claws and head butt them with that horn mohawk.

Cape Trib is also more detached because to get there you have to cross a river that is infested with crocs that can only be crossed on a ferry (which doesn't run when it floods and it has been known that food has to be airlifted it because the area becomes so isolated.) I was fortunate/unlucky - depending at the way you look at it - not to see any crocs. The week before I was there are stupid tourist (not American thankfully) was splashing the water to have the croc come closer to him, so that he could take a better photo. When of course the croc jumped out and bit his knee cap off. Luckily it was a baby croc and only 2 metres long - the big daddys get up to 6 metres long. So at the Cape Trib beach besides the killer jelly fish there was charging cassowaries, crocs, massive biting flys, deadly spiders the size of you hand, and pythons. It's a bit different from Melbourne.

Fortunatley besides my friendly encounter with the cassowary, I didn't see anything. What I did do was abide by the local law/mantra. Chill out not flat out. This was written on a sign in regards to driving slower as to not kill the cassowarys who are well know for darting across roads, now it is on t-shirts and postcards. Flat out is used in Oz when you are extremely busy. For example: How ya goin? Oh, I'm flat out mate. Oh bugger that... Ironically enough this meant that I was flat out - reading books in a lawn chair, by the pool, next to the generator that is almost silent compared to the sound of cicadas and waves. When I wasn't doing that i was staring up at the bright green rainforest and thinking about how God decided to make the cassowary and my next move in life...
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