Monday, August 25, 2014

the magnetic pull

After 10 months tied up at Breakwater Marina Townsville feeding our rapacious kitty, we departed for Magnetic Island on 17th August. Hooray!

Our time in Townsville consisted of work, work and more work. We had the occasional road trip to sightsee when our days off coincided.

Our first day trip was to Ayr a little south of Townsville where we picnicked near the carpet snake totem (Gubulla Munda) in Plantation Park. This park is of importance to the Juru people (Birri-Gubba nation) who bore their children on the creek's banks, buried their elders and enjoyed ceremonies. This sacred site also holds the remains of elders returned to their traditional lands after having been taken to the UK as curiosities.

Our next trip was to Mission Beach where we all enjoyed a paddle and drooled over this beautiful beach which has a sad history. Mission Beach was originally the Hull River settlement where Aboriginal people were taken  (allegedly in chains). Locals referred to this settlement as 'the mission" and the beach became known as "Mission Beach". A massive cyclone in1918 destroyed the settlement and no attempt was made at reconstruction. Instead, the Aboriginal people were removed to Palm Island, which was chosen as the preferred location for a new government settlement.

cherished Jack's last road trip
...before a quick drive through of Tully with it's belching sugar cane mills.

We also day tripped to Charter's Towers and the Hervey Ranges. We enjoyed long weekends travelling to Cairns to drop our tattered genoa to a sail maker for a cut down and UV strip - any excuse for a trip! Our first trip coincided with Marg's birthday so we splashed out and stayed at a high rise motel near the marina, Ruby supposed to be spending her nights in the van. The first morning Marg went to give her an early walk, only to find her sleeping under the van. Princess had apparently decided the backpacker vans offered company so exited and enjoyed a night on the town. Thank goddess she had the sense to return to the van!

Cairns waterfront by night

and by dusk
 Cairns was a little disappointing as it feels similar to the Gold Coast with it's rapid development, although we were both very excited to eat authentic Vietnamese food again. We drove up to Port Douglas which felt like the Cairns of our memories. Our road trip included stops at fabulous waterholes......

.....a stop at Cardwell to see the towns' rebuilding after Yasi which had devastated the area.
"Cardwell looks like a bomb has hit it. according to a woman who last night took shelter in a laundry as Cyclone Yasi tore through the north Queensland town.The coastal community was yesterday warned to expect a storm surge of up to seven metres triggered by the severe category-five storm, with thousands of people told to flee the danger zone.
It was so noisy, the banging and clattering going on. It was very scary. " 3/2/11SMH

Cardwell is functioning again, the waterfront walkway is splendid but unfortunately Hinchinbrook Marina just down the road remains a mess.
Cardwell morning after Yasi

Cardwell a few years later

Our stay in Townsville was tinged with sadness as Marg travelled to NSW to be with her beloved Aunty Beryl as she passed. It was a difficult fortnight for the entire family but also a relief when Beryl left, in her own good time with loved ones around her, to be in a pain free state. She believed she would come back as a pelican, so if you see one chuck her a fish.

Our down time in Townsville also consisted of Manatee maintenance - we refurbished the aft cabin, replaced the house batteries with AGM's, painted the deck and had a rigging check. We also spent many an hour enjoying the strand; strolling along the waterfront, enjoying a gelato, drinking coffee and gazing into the waters beyond.

Looking down the beach from our favourite gelato shop

view from Tobruk cafĂ©-our favourite (dogs welcome) cafe
and the waters beyond