29 July 2013
We decided we'd head to Mission Beach from Cardwell - it turned out to be a fairly short drive. The morning started out cold and drizzly, but the weather improved so that we had a lovely sunny and warm afternoon - yay for warm weather!
Anyway - Mission Beach is actually a series of towns along one long long beach - there's Tully, South Mission, Wongaling (pronounced WONG-ah-ling - keep the ng soft, no harsh G sound in there), and then Mission. And maybe North Mission.
We drove around and looked at several campgrounds, and finally chose the Dunk Island View Holiday Park - situated on Wongaling Beach, with (obviously) a nice view of Dunk Island.
And the town park and info center had various beautiful posts creating an artistic gate - I loved the mosaic made of colored and fused glass, it was just so gorgeous - all the colors of the sea and sky and islands!
So, as you can tell, I took a lot of photos.
After settling in and all that (and believe me, it takes a while - we have to plug in the cord for electricity, maybe top up the water tank, then move the folding table and chairs from the living area to the cab of the van, as well as Richard's large piece of luggage - and that's just the basic stuff!) we decided to take a walk on the beach.
There are various paths through the dunes, as we've seen throughout the country, as well as in New Zealand. Years of not protecting the dunes has led to loss of the plants that help stabilize the dunes - so now, hindsight always being best, there are new laws and plans to protect the dunes and thus prevent the erosion and all the environmental impact that is caused when the dunes disappear.
We arrived at the beach - a rather narrow strip of soft golden sand, not powder soft but pretty nice - with fabulous views of the various islands - some of the Whitsundays in the distance, and Dunk Island close by. Blue blue sky, so welcome after the past several days of grey drizzle. And blue to turquoise water, with waves making lacy patterns of foam against the shore.
There were people walking their dogs - this is a dog-friendly beach - so I'm guessing there aren't any nesting turtles or birds or anything endangered on this beach.
And the usual collection of people just walking, or fishing, or flying kites. As the shadows grew longer and the light more golden, more and more people gathered on the beach, waiting for the reflection of sunset (since we're facing mostly east here on the east coast), or hoping the fish were biting. Didn't see anyone getting more than a nibble - but I'm always hopeful.
The kite was really interesting - it was almost like a series of parachutes, or the curved rectangular parachutes of paragliders. And each one had its own little tail. They seemed to be attached with line, so from a distance they looked like a series of paratroopers coming in to land on the beach. Took me a few minutes to realize what they were.
We'll stay here for at least two days, maybe get in some sailing or snorkeling - though we both think the water is a bit cold. But the Outer Reef beckons, and the shallow water is, in theory, warmer.
Then we'll bypass Cairns (pronounced CANS, like a person from Long Island asking for a CAN of soup) and head north to Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation, maybe even Cooktown. Off the beaten path. The more adventurous side of Far North Queensland.
But we have to return the camper van to Cairns on August 6, so we have just about 8 days left. Then we'll go back to the hostel/hotel/motel route, and stay in Cairns and see what we think of that town.
And then, August 14, off to Samoa. No idea what we'll find, except big people -
there are more Samoans in the US National Football League than any other non-USA ethnic group. BIG people. With a very interesting culture.
Should be fun!