20th October 2017 by emmadurnford

20th October 2017

After our very wet visit a couple of days ago to Daintree we returned today for our postponed boat trip into the mangroves. Needless to say it did start raining soon after we arrived but this time we constructed a shelter out of my umbrella and our rucksack covers over our seats at the front of the boat (seemed a good idea at the time to nab these but maybe not such a good idea).

The skipper was very good at negotiating the narrow creeks that join to make up Coopers Creek. He pointed out the different types of mangroves including one called a cannonball mangrove. Still no sign of any crocs though. We continued on and he offered for us to move back into the dry and everyone laughed when I said we were British and so would stick it out! All of us on the boat were scouring the two banks of mangroves for signs of crocs. Every bit of floating wood was a potential 'saltie'.

I sensed a little bit of desperation in his voice as he explained that crocs could be anywhere, weren't that keen on rain, were more difficult to spot at high tide. Then his voice picked up, he thought but wasn't sure he had spotted something. Sure enough and very well camouflaged was a 3 metre, 35 year old, nearly 200kg female saltwater crocodile resting on the river bank. She was massive. The skipper did a great job of keeping the boat close but not too close and swinging it around so everyone got a good look. This is what we had wanted to see and apologies to the croc at Port Douglas, much more impressive.

Lunch to celebrate at a little cafe on the beach, the rain lifted for a short while which was nice. We continued our day exploring the Cape Tribulation area of Daintree and ended up driving on a dirt track for quite some time as we had overshot where we wanted to be! A rapid and slightly dangerous 3 point turn in a large car with sheer drops (I was superbly driving!) and we whizzed back to explore the Cape where Captain Cook was forced to ground his ship.

We stopped briefly at the fruit bay rescue place where we were supposed to be able to handle the rescued babies but it had closed down supposedly for renovations but it looked more like it had been abandoned. However, just as well we ignored the closed sign as behind the abandoned building was one of the biggest roosts of fruit bats I have seen. Unfortunately the rain set in yet again which made photographing them a challenge to avoid a wet lens and shooting against a bright sky. They were making a real racket!

We started our return journey punctuated by stops including the Daintree ice cream estate where we tried their combination of 4 flavours between us - mango, coconut, soursop and wattleberry. All delicious and very unusual. The place grows all sorts of unusual fruits and matures them in ripening containers.

They also happened to have two rescued wallaby joeys in an enclosure. The larger of the two joeys was quite adventurous although he had a bandaged tail as his mother had been killed by a car and he had been injured. The other joey was even smaller and lives in a little fabric pouch. His mother was eaten whole by a python and he was rescued as he must have jumped out of her pouch at the last moment. Apparently they will be kept until they are over a year old and then will be released into the wild where past experience has shown they survive and thrive so it is good to meet such dedicated people who look after them.
Love the great descriptions you add to your photography.
November 1st, 2017  
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