Sunday, 7 October 2012

All the ways you can die in Far North Qld

We went to Palm Cove.  For a week.  My God it was good.  

Palm Cove is in Far North Qld, about 25 minutes drive north of Cairns.   We spent a week lounging by the pool and exploring the area, as far north as the Daintree, inland to the Atherton tableland and as far south as, well, Cairns, to go on a reef trip to the east.  

I think that's all the directions covered. 

But now, back in the safety of my own living room.  I'm amazed we're still alive.  Because everywhere you go in FNQ there are warning signs.  Telling you about all the things you can die from.  There were so many of these signs that I started taking pictures of them.  

What amazed me was how many people walked past this sign and went for a swim.  Or am I overly cautious?
Nature Lesson 1.  Crocs brains are about as big as a golf ball.  Two thirds of it is taken up with muscle movement.  That leaves one third of a golf ball for thinking.  You can't reason with a croc or even confuse a croc into eating something else or by zig zag running.  They're too dumb. If you see one, and there's nothing between you and it, just get the pluck out of there.  In a straight line. 

Frankly I don't think we are the crocs favourite food, because FNQ is chock full of blokes standing up to their knees in the ocean holding on to recently launched boats while their mate parks the car or beach fishing at sunrise and twilight.  Based on the amount of large utes with many antennae sticking out of them, the crocs have not reduced the FNQ male population noticeably.  I think the crocs prefer dogs, because those utes all have dogs in the back.  Mans best friend indeed.

Don't mess with a cassowary man.  Especially the males with their chicks.  Yes, the MALES with their chicks.

Nature lesson 2.  The female cassowary lays her eggs and pisses off, never to be seen again.  The male is left to built the nest, incubate the eggs and rear the chicks.  During this time he doesn't eat and gets hardly any rest.  Sound familiar anyone?  Why on earth are female cassowaries so smart and female humans so DUMB?  

Anyways, don't ever approach a male cassowary with his chicks because he will most likely attack you with his horrible clawed feet and try to smash you with the big bony bit on the top of his head.  

Go swimming at the wrong time of year and you're risking agony and possible death by stinger.  Oh what fun.

Nature lesson 3.  Just because stingers don't usually inhabit these waters between April and October, is no guarantee they won't be there.  And don't be fooled by netted beaches because they also like to ooze over the nets built to keep them out.  Conveniently, many beaches have a sign and beneath it, a bottle of vinegar, like you can buy at Coles, with a recommendation to pour (not rub) on any stinger wounds you may receive by foolishly swimming in the ocean when it's really hot.  
See, complimentary vinegar to pour on yourself, if you haven't died of shock or drowned because the pain rendered you immobile.  Nice touch. 

And don't fall into a false sense of security because you decide to stay on land.  If the cassowaries don't kill you, you could touch a stinging tree and suffer severe pain for months.  Imagine a tree so lethal, that just touching it could cause you enough pain and anguish to warrant a call to 000.  That's one scary mother. 

This is all the ways the river can kill you.  You can slip on rocks, paralyse yourself diving in and hitting  a rock or get caught and swept away by a rapid.

Alternatively you could scrape your bum trying to slide down rocks into a rapid that you want to get caught in and swept away by, because you want your girlfriend to take a photo of you doing it.  Because you're a strong swimmer and you'll be fine.  The photo perfectly captures your expression of pure fear when you realise the power of the water and how you have no control whatsoever about where it's taking you.  Luckily you get caught in a back eddy and scramble to safety, trying to look like you meant to do it all along.  

Pure joy. 
Or you could just play for hours in the lagoon pool where there are no crocs, stingers, stinging trees, cassowaries or vinegar.  Just decent coffee, deck chairs and a good book.