Thursday, August 4, 2011

Daintree Rainforest

Today begins our last day in Cairns.  I’m a few days behind in my blogging – so let’s see if I can get you caught up on what’s been happening the last few days.  

On Saturday, July 30 we were picked up by our naturalist guide, Alan Gillanderes who takes care of us the next two days.  Our first stop is a visit to the Cairns Swamp.  Here we get an introduction to the area plants and birds.  Our first spot was a beautiful Blue-winged Kookaburra. 
Blue-winged Kookaburra
Later we came across a green ant nest. So naturally, the thing to do was to pinch one by the head and bite off the abdomen.  Tastes like lime.  Maybe we should pocket a few to go with drinks later.
Green Tree Ants (Yum)

From here we continued to the Mossman area for a rainforest walk with Robert, a member of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal tribe.  “Kuku” refers to the main tribal name and “Yalanji” refers to the language spoken by a particular group.  The tribes are divided geographically by language group.  Robert showed us how his ancestors used the plants in the rainforest and how they made paints.  He also told us about the initiation for the boys, what happens when someone did something viewed as wrong, and how ladies used a cold stream for birthing. 
Dreamtime walk
After a tea and damper (Aboriginal bread), Robert showed us the 4 different techniques used in playing a dijeridoo. 

After a quick lunch, we were on to the Daintree Rainforest. We stopped at a few spots for a view over the Coral Sea. We had a few really nice hikes through the forest identifying plants and birds while being on the look out for the elusive Cassowary. 
C assowary Crossing
We checked into the Ferntree Rainforest Lodge and walked to dinner.  It was a nearly dusk and as we walked down the street, I suddenly saw a huge bird fly overhead – oh wait – that’s not a bird – that’s a bat!  The Spectacled Flying Fox group were heading out for their evening forage. 

Sunday, July 31
The next morning we awakened to the bats’ return as they came to roost in the tree near our window.
Spectacled Flying-Fox (BAT)

Dubuji Beach - looking back towards Cape Tribulaion
After a morning walk on the Dubuji beach (above), looking back towards Cape Tribulation,  and another quick look for a Cassowary, we were off to Port Douglas.  In Port Douglas we visited the Wildlife Habitat Park.  First up – renewing that 1985 Koala photo.
Laurie and Glen the Koala
This park is divided into habitats – Rainforest, Wetlands, and Grasslands.  Koala, Tree Kangaroo, Agile Wallaby, Red-legged Pademelon, Grey Kangaroo, and, finally, the Cassowary! 
Tree Kanagroo
Agile Wallaby w Joey

Agile Wallaby
Grey Kangaroo

This afternoon was spent at Cooya Beach as we joined Linc, Kuku Yalanji tribesman, on an exploration of the tide pools and the mangroves.  We were joined by a few families as we learned to throw a spear, hunted for mud crab, and searched the mangroves for mussels, periwinkles, and other edible goodies. 
Marylin's spear throwing technique

Mud Crab

Our guide, Linc, w the children
After pulling our legs out of the mud of the mangroves, we walked back through the tide pools to the beach entry point and headed back to Cairns.

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