Goodbye to Cape York

Well, we have finally completed part one of our trip arriving in Ellis Beach, just north of Cairns yesterday. We head off to Wonga Beach, north of Port Douglas today to have another look at the Daintree and hopefully spend a day on the Reef. Travelling through the Cape and in particular, travesrsing most of the Old Telegraph Line Track has been an amazing, exciting, sometimes scary and humbling experience. We had 4WD vehicles and tents and camper trailors - the explorers and early settlers nothing but two feet and a swag. The stories of people like the Jardine brothers - driving cattle to their father's property in Somerset, close to the tip - forcing a way through the rainforest, scrub and savannah to start a settlement and supplt the early administration centre for the Colony there. The men of the Old Telegraph Line were truly dedicated, brave souls who kept the line open through cyclones, extreme heat and the isolation of the 'wet'. Battling the local flora and fauna - particuarly replitilian ones with and withought legs and teeth - they cleared the line, mended the line and kept communication open. The people who lived here before white fella, working the land, living with the land and understanding it now living in a different way and trying to work with their new environment - not always succesfully. I spoke with the Director of Nursing in Weipa and the Director of Midwifery on Thursday Island (who I happened to be seated next to as the boat to TI bucked and twisted crossing the Endevour Strait and they told me of some of the challanges and opportunities servicing the health needs of the population in these remote places. Some of the patients who arrive at the hospital in TI come from PNG and to get there, ill or injured, have walked many miles and then canoed across to TI. The practice nurses working in remote communities on the Cape trying to understand, to educate and to provide the best primary health care possible despite enourmous logistical and personal difficulties - astounding and humbling stories. For M & P - Adventurers Extraudinaire! - the challanges of some of the driving on the old rutted, washed away track with the various deep, rocky, sandy river crossings with seemingly impossible entry or exits (some of which we didn't attempt valuing our vehicles and ? lives!) , the thousands and thousands of teeth shattering corregations of more variety (in height and distance apart) than I have ever seen all complemented the beautful sights and scenes that we saw. Driving through an everchanging landscape with almost a film reel of changing vegetation, soil, and topography was breathtaking. Some of our camps on the banks of the rivers were serenity itself. After a long, hot and dusty day on the road, there is nothing quite like hopping into one of mother nature's spa baths followed by a steak and a drop of red and a ceiling of stars to gaze at. Ain't life grand. We met and travelled with some great people and were guided by our experienced tour leaders. Without them we certainly wouldn't have attempted some of the tracks and crossings that we did and therefore, would have missed out on experienceing some magical, beautiful places. More from Wonga later.
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