Ah, that’s better! A power point and full reception! You Beauty!
As I mentioned in our last post, we had decided to make camp in the Byfield National Park, along 9 Mile Beach. That is if you can really call it a beach. We met a few locals while we were camped and they each had a long board which they fully intended to get use out of. We just weren’t sure what sort of use they were planning to get. There was 9 miles of beach and not a surfable wave in sight. Not by spoilt southern standards anyway. Even minus good surf though, we were having so much fun here that we ended up extending our original 3 night booking for a further 2 nights just so we could have more time to enjoy (and fish!!). Oh, and if anyone knows a friend of a friend who’s brother knows a guy who’s cousin has a tinny and trailer for sale – $2,000 or less – in the Mackay region – Brendan would love to get their number.
Now about the fish – We were informed by the local tackle shop owner that the beach itself is actually used for commercial worming so the bait pump we bought in Bundaberg came in very handy. Brendan was pulling up cluster after cluster of the little beasts. They’re hard little buggers to grab onto but we were finding that many it didn’t matter if we dropped a few here and there.
Oh how the fish love their worms! It was hard to pull Brendan away from the beach all week. “Be back in a bit” he would say, and return 3 hours later! He was pulling in plenty of (undersize) whiting and I even managed to get a few small dart. Although we (Brendan) were disappointed not to catch anything legal, it was great fun pulling them in anyway. Fishing is really quite enjoyable … when there is something biting that is.
Brendan was getting a bit desperate for phone service so on Sunday we headed back into Yeppoon to make some calls (check facebook) and attend church. The service we ended up at was a uniting service run by a female pastor. It was a large congregation with enough kids to run a Sunday school, but not enough little ones for crèche unfortunately. Slightly more formal than we are used to but I think that is the style of uniting services (please correct if I am wrong). The members were friendly enough, but not overly welcoming like we have experienced in some of the smaller churches we have visited. It was a little disappointing that in a service that ran for over an hour the actual input went for under 10 minutes.
It is at this point that I would like to pose a question to the audience – Who broke Queensland??? While the days are beautiful and sunny with max temps of 26 or higher, the nights are FREEZING!!!! The hot water bottle has been getting its biggest work out since we camped at the snow 3 years ago. As soon as twilight hits you can feel the temperature drop. The change is unbelievable. I didn’t think it was meant to get this cold in QLD ever, especially not north QLD. What happened???
We tried to make the most of the daylight hours so we werent forced to stay outside after dark. After speaking with the local Ranger we decided to take a day trip, do a bit of 4WDing and try our luck at finding a crab or 2. Around the point and in a bit there is a beautiful little bay which is popular with sail boats and small motor boats it would seem. With the tide coming up we went hunting for yabbies. I don’t know about Brendan but I think I found this the most exciting part of our trip so far (Yes, I know i’m lame). It was so much fun pumping them up and then trying to catch the little buggers without getting nipped. River even had fun watching them crawl around and then poking them with a handy stick she found in the sand.
They were there in abundance too. Some holes containing 3 or more fair sized nippers. We ran into a slight problem though and that was when we realised half of them were full of eggs. Do you know how hard it is to hold a yabby, get all the sand off its belly and check for egg sacks without dropping it for fear of being nipped??? Quite hard is the answer to that particular question. It took us a fair while to separate the ones with eggs from the ones without and get them back in the peach tin before they dug themselves back into the ground.
Despite that small little mishap, it proved to be worth it for this was our most successful day of fishing yet! We pulled in 4 whiting well over legal size (Brendan 3, Angela 1) and probably would have caught more but River was feeling a bit left out with the fish getting all the attention. Brendan even pulled in a Ray of some description and had a jolly old time trying to cut the line without getting swiped by its ridiculously long tale. We were having so much fun fishing we completely forgot about putting out the crab pot. In hindsight we probably should have done that first as we spoke to a couple afterwards that had just pulled in the granddaddy of all mud crabs, 1.5kgs, right where we would have deployed our pot! Oh well. You win some you lose some.
Back at camp Brendan was all grins as he prepared our catch. He was so excited he didn’t even notice the dingo coming round for a sniff. Until that point the only sign they were around was the prints Brendan saw on the beach every morning when he went fishing. As soon as it noticed us sitting there it turned around and we never saw it again. Better a dingo than a croc I say. According to the ranger there was a 3m beauty hanging around on the beach at Easter time. Glad we missed that particular visitor.
I suppose all good things must come to an end, so it was with great reluctance that we packed up our belongings and headed out of the Natio. We were expecting visitors in 1 week so we needed to find a spot with good phone and internet reception to fill the gap and let Brendan get as much work done as possible before his sister Megan and her husband Pete arrived. According to our trusty map there was a campsite along the Highway, slightly inland, about halfway to Finch Hatton which is where we are meeting our guests.
We knew where we were going so we dawdled in town a bit, had steak sandwiches for lunch, did the groceries, made some phone calls, finally headed out of Yeppoon around 3pm. We had phoned the campsite ahead, check everything was ok for our stay, no worries at all… or so we thought.
Our GPS told us we were at the right location but we still drove past. “Was that it?” I asked Brendan “I don’t think so, but I’ll check”. Sure enough we had found the “campsite” which was actually a tiny petrol station which some land behind it you were allowed to pitch a tent on. And the worst part – no phone reception! We had no choice but to continue driving. We weren’t too far from Sarina, surely we could find a caravan park somewhere along the way, then again, surely not.
We drove for another 3 hours along dirt roads lined with cattle (lucky they were black and it was dark and hard to see!), up the steepest road in the history of the world, around some of the shonkiest bends I have ever seen only to have 2 parks refuse to answer their night bell and another 2 to be full of old folks and their caravans. We had already watched River’s favourite DVD twice and it was getting quite late, we were quickly running out of options. We ended up having to drive 60kms back south again to find an unmanned camp ground with a little bit of space left. We realised as we were setting up in the dark at 10.30pm that the reason the rest of the place was full and this spot was empty was probably because of the bindies the size of rose thorns! Brendan reckons you could kill a vampire with those things. Lucky he isn’t one or the 4 he got wedged in his foot would have sent him up in ashes.
River was treated to a sleepover in mummy and daddy’s bed as we couldn’t be bothered to set up her own. She seemed quite pleased with the whole situation, we however were not as convinced. 1 Year olds are really hopeless hot water bottles. They wriggle and squirm and kick you in the belly, or the head, whichever direction they happy to have placed themselves at the time.
Once the sun came up we saw that the place was actually quite beautiful. If we weren’t so worried about River suffering death-by-bindii we might have even stayed. Something else we discovered that morning was that it would appear no matter how much of our equipment we unpack whether it be 2 items or the whole caboodle, it still takes us 2 hours to pack everything up! You would think we would have got the hang of it by now.
Currently as I type this I find myself sitting in the sun surrounded by ducks in a little town known as Seaforth. Seaforth is just north of Mackay and we are staying in a little council camp ground right on the coast. With the Great Barrier Reef and not a few islands blocking the way it looks more like a mud flat than an actual beach and there are also signs up warning of crocs, so no swimming for River. With that in mind I suggested to Brendan that we should buy a small dog and name it ‘decoy’. Perhaps then I wouldn’t worry so much about River wanting to play near the water all the time. He wasn’t too keen on the idea though. Apparently there is no room left in the patrol for an adorable, cuddly little puppy.
We have been enjoying an awesome week of fun with Brendan’s sister Megan and her husband Pete. Soooooo good to have company!! More on that subject next time though. Oh, and should anyone wish to send us anything (say a cat for instance) there is a post office down the street, im sure they wouldnt mind holding it for us. Don’t forget to check out the gallery!
B, A & R