Monday, August 6, 2012

The Cougar and Black Adder go North Part 3

Here we go, part 3 and some serious fishing.
The next leg of the trip is up one of my favourite sections of the Au coast. It is spectacular in so many ways and has to be seen, driven to really appreciate it's diversity and beauty.
Leaving an uneventful Prosperpine behind us, we drove to one of our favourite camp sites at Tully Heads, just a short 460 km.

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We stopped just north of Townsville for a much needed break, and on leaving found that the boat springs, which we knew where getting near their use by date, had started making some horrible noises, but the The Frost Mango was calling so we continued on out way cautiously.  This is a must stop and the ginger ice cream is just wonderful, even if it is breakfast time.

We set up camp as close as possible to out favourite spot. Two severe cyclones have been through this area since our last visit, so the landscape had changed quiet dramatically. The campsite has survived well apart from loosing most of it's bigger trees and had added a few permanent sites, one of which was right on out favoured corner.
The first day we had a quick fish on the Hull, just to get the boats out and check everything was still in working order, followed by a trip into Tully and the compulsory fact finding mission to the local fishing shop. We also enquired about springs for the trailer, but as we had feared there was nothing available as they are not standard and of course had to be ordered in, which would take far longer than we planned to stay.

Later Steve and Brad went for a bit of a reccy to find the bush ramp onto the Murray. We weren't sure we would be able to find it again as it has been a long time since we have been back to Tully and the old motel that marked the turnoff from the highway seemed to have disappeared, a victim of the cyclones we thought. However the highway had moved about 50 meters to the West and with a bit or driving around, the old highway was found, the motel still standing and the road in much improved with more black stuff and less bull dust. Even the track into the ramp was signposted and much wider than it had been on our previous trip. The only negative was that the bilabong was right up over the road and the water was deep, although the cruiser made it through OK. So that was our destination for the next day, after checking tide times as this is a high tide only ramp.

Luckily the water was dropping, as you can see it was at the cougars limits to get through without having to do some serious waterproofing of some sorts.

The drive in was easy and although the ramp has not improved at all, in fact I think the drop off is even worse than I remember, out boat went in without too much trouble.  This was Lou and Brads first time here so Steve is giving them a few pointers as to where to position the trailer, it's a bit tricky.

The photo doesn't show how steep the entry is, but I can tell you when your sitting in the boat, it's not too pleasant.

We were soon cruising our favorite creeks in perfect conditions.

And we found plenty of fish, the Barra were only small but the Jacks made up for it. Here are just a few of what we caught over the next two days.

Returning to camp, hot, tired and fished out.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The cougar and the Black Adder go North Part2

A long time coming, but here it is, part two of the trip which was an uneventful and disappointing leg made even more so as I have now forgotten a lot of what happened which is always a problem when you don't record events in a timely manner. I really must get together some system to do this on the road.

So Cania Gorge to Proserpine with a look at Airlie Beach, 792 km with a couple of stop offs on the way.

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After being "stuck" at Cania for a couple of extra days, our first stop was Biloela to stock up on supplies and have a look at Callide Dam, which was also full and starting to fish again. 

This is the view Louise and Brad had for a lot of the trip as, being the slower vehicle, we set the pace which was a bit sedate for the cougar at times I'm sure.

The dam was looking beautiful and you can see the clouds still hanging around after a week of rain. The cattle were enjoying the new greener environment and as it was late afternoon by the time we arrived, were coming down for a good long drink and an afternoon siesta.

The map came out and we discussed whether to put the boats in or fish the banks, to have diner here or drive a bit more, where we might spend the night and all the other important things of the days events when on the road

As you may have guessed by that little yellow figure down there, the boats stayed on and the boys went for a flick along the edge of the dam. Lou and I dragged out a couple of chairs, a half bottle of red and a very large bag of chips and settled down for an hour of so peace and quiet, ha!
As we sat and contemplated the little pleasures in life, we saw some surface action and thought the boys had found some fish in the warm shallow water, but no it was some ducks coming in and landing just behind those trees. The first few ducks turned into what looked like hundreds and soon they drifted out from behind the trees. 

 What do you call a large collective of ducks? A raft came to mind as they certainly look like one, so I had to google to see if I was correct, which I am - but - and heres a bit of useless information for you;
In the air they are a Flock, on the ground a Brace or Badling and on the water a Raft, Team or Paddling. Who would have thought there were so many names for a lot of ducks.

Our own afternoon siesta was soon interrupted by this.  What appears to be a cute inquisitive calf turned into a right pest. Once it decided we were no threat, it proceeded to use the boat as a personal scratching post and teething ring.  Stretching the elastic tie downs on the boat cover and watching them snap back became a favourite past time and soon the boat was covered in slobber and the engine was taking a bit of a beating as it was a very convenient head scratcher. No amount of shouting and arm waving worked and I even took off a slap / thong / flip flop and gave it a good whack on the rump, didn't batt even one of it's lovely long eye lashes. There were lots of photo's and even though Louise had  retreated to the safari pen and taken video inbetween bouts of laughing, it has all mysteriously dissapeared. I thought I was being quite forceful in my attempts to shoo it away, but looking back at the video later was rather pathetic and completely ineffectual. 
Luckily the boys were still in radio range and we put out a mayday as it had now found the trailer cables and we were in danger of loosing all the lights. Brad appearing over the top of the ridge with arms and legs in full flight had it running back to mum at long last.

We spent the night at a free camping spot a couple of hours drive away and the next day prepared to tackle our old nemesis the Development Road going north from Dingo. It was a long hot drive and luckily uneventful apart from one heart stopping moment when the cougar and a large coal truck seemed to share the same piece of tarmac. The cougar was leading today to give them a change of view as it is a boring drive at the best of times.

We arrived at Proserpine to find exactly what we had feared, flooding, a dam spilling over and no fishing. We stayed a night hoping to try the river rather than the dam, but was windy with a fast moving tide and not even the slights hint of fish.  We also drove out to Airlie Beach and was thoroughly disappointed, what was probably once a lovely spot is now a completely over built, commercialised center with no appeal at all. But that is the beauty of a road trip with no set itinerary, we moved on.

Till next time, which won't be months, I hope!