July 3, 2012...Mission Beach

 We packed up and were on the road by 10am, not the earliest of starts, maybe those few days off made us a little rusty?  Mission Beach is our destination today.  The countryside really changed today.  The area is becoming more rainforesty, tropical and lush...  a joy to the eye.  Sugarcane fields are becoming more frequent, with their slightly sickening sweet smell beginning to fill the air.  Road kill is also becoming more frequent.  Rotting carcass stench combined with the sickening sweet smell of the sugarcane is a "Pheeew" cocktail, almost knocks you out!  I found myself holding my breath until the smell dissipated in my helmet, and reached back to see if my vents were open or closed.  We turned off and enjoyed the tropical foliage as we wound our way through the rainforest into the Mission Beach area…taking much caution, looking out for cassowaries that inhabit the area.  I have to tell you that the government has posted quite humorous large signs warning of the potential damage to a cassowary and your car…love the signs!  I couldn't believe it…I saw a cassowary in the bush off to the side of the road.  I had never seen one before, and they look just like their picture! ha ha ha  There, a backpackers van had pulled off the road, I slowed down, decided to stop and get a solid look.  Missy was out of her van approaching the cassowary with an apple…hmmm this could be trouble, they are not very friendly creatures!  I decided to stay on the bike just in case Mr. Cass decided to attack.  Missy was spooked, phew for her sake, and she tossed the apple at Mr Cass, who was not interested in fruit but made his way back into the rainforest.  Kev was radioing in my ear, "that was not the best place to pull off the road", and did not realize what I had encountered!   

Cassowaries look like a prehistoric colorful scary emu, and you can bet your booty that I wanted to see more!  We passed the Mission Beach City Council camping site and decided to see if they had any room for us…we were in luck, one space left next to the creek and beach…Perfect!  That creek looks a little iffy, I don't know if there are crocs up here, but that water does look sus!  I parked my bike between the creek and our tent, just in case!  We set up camp and then took a stroll into the small beachside community…a very laid back, quaint town nestled in-between the beach (that looks directly out to Dunk Island) and the rainforest.  We were digging this scene… totally! We strolled back and decided to start on dinner...usually easier and best to get started before the sun goes down.  It just so happened that tonight as the sun was setting this magnificent full moon was rising over the Coral Sea directly in front of our camp site.  All dinner preparations came to a full halt…it was time to grab the glass of wine and walk the 15 meters onto the beach, slouch down beside a palm and watch!   Heaven!  Bush sushi for dinner made the night complete!!  Bush sushi is rice cooked with miso soup, canned salmon and soy sauce.  Now a very strange thing did happen while we were in the tent, something that I'm still puzzled about?  It was only about 30 minutes after we had zipped ourselves into the tent…We heard an open mouth, caustic, throaty hiss, and it was not human!  The hair raised on the back of my neck, and I had goose bumps all over…it happened again!  Kev said "what the heck was that?", without hesitation I said "a croc?" Kev scooted up tight against me, "Really?" he said…"that's my gut feeling" I said.  I kept listening for dragging or rustling sounds, but it didn't happen…the scare was over!  We both didn't want to leave the safety of our thin nylon tent and finally fell asleep.  Dawn broke once again with the familiar symphony of bird calls.  We were eager to get up and check the area for any signs of our so called mind made croc?  My theory is this…a croc traveling down the creek towards the beach encountered Phe Phe in his path, hissed at this unfamiliar intruder in his way and continued on?  Now maybe I am just full of it, a good story teller, or simply just have a very colorful imagination…we will never know…actually I think I posess all three qualities…ha ha ha!!

Our campsite at Mission Beach

Our campsite at Mission Beach

Steps from our campsite

Steps from our campsite