We had big plans for the day. Well, not really. They consisted of lounging around the pool, hanging out, reading, and relaxing until we had to head up to Daintree for a wildlife cruise on the Daintree river.
It was very relaxing. I started reading “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling. He has some great TED talks that everyone should watch. That, along with this one:
If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, then there is something wrong with you.
We also had a visitor to the pool. He was quiet and didn’t bother us.
At around 2 pm we packed it up and headed north up to Daintree Village about 1.5 hrs away. Along the way we stopped at the store so Jason and Cynthia could buy some towels. I had carefully left the bug juice on the stairs, so we had to buy some more that. Doh.
We got to Daintree village and headed down to the boat ramp and waited for Murray, our guide, to show up. A boat pulled up and a dude got out. He asked us if we were Cheryl. Nope, not Cheryl. We told him we were waiting for Murray. “oh, I was just helping Murray, he got his boat stuck.”
It was low tide which is a great time to see the wildlife, but it can also make navigation a bit tricky, as is evidenced by Murray and his stuck boat. Alex was quite friendly and we chatted. Cheryl did not show up.
Alex said “well, it doesn’t look like my folks are coming, so I’ll just lend Murray my boat.” He texted Murray and a few minutes later Murray showed up in his car. We piled into the boat and we were off. Two guides for the price of one.
Just as we pushed back from the dock we heard a splash in the water – a croc right next to the dock area.
The Daintree river is a slow-moving, winding river that is brackish and influenced by the tide for about 20km up from its mouth. I guess when it floods it can be quite impressive and rise 6 to 10 meters.
We headed up stream for awhile and saw a few birds. The one with a yellow face was cool, but Murray said they were a dime of dozen. He called it “melted cheese face.” I still thought they were cool. I guess I’m just not a hard core bird watcher. I just like the cool-looking ones, no matter how common.
We headed back down the river and passed another boat. They said there was a croc under a tree just a little further down. Cool. We came up to it and I couldn’t see it. Finally, Alex pointed it out. It was tiny. Maybe 2′ long. Murray said it was a 2018 model. It was still pretty cool-looking. Much grayer than I would have expected. Murray said that the more they hang in salt water the browner they get.
We continued on down the river. I was struggling to try and figure out my new lens. It has all of these settings that I am not quite sure how they work, but clearly they are important because I just couldn’t get the focus to work right. Ugh. Plus the light was pretty low so it required a pretty high ISO setting.
We say another croc. A bigger one. This one I would definitely not want to go swimming with. He was about 4 feet. Murray said there about 3 really big crocs in the Daintree that are 12 to 14′ long. Not so big they would eat a cow, but they do pick off the calves. They will attack anything that is smaller than them. I am 5′ 9,” hence, I will not be going for a swim in the Daintree river. If you are 15′ tall, knock yourself out.
Next up was this cool heron fishing along the bank. He stabbed a few fish as we watched him. I loved the way he moved through the mangrove trees.
It was clear the Alex and Murray knew where everything was located. That definitely made having a guide worth it, because it was hard to spot a lot of the critters. This was especially true for the tawny frogmouth. These look like owls but evidently are not owls. They have really weird looking beaks and can blend into the trees really well. This was one of my favorite birds we saw.
A little further down the river we saw two azure kingfishers doing a mating dance. I guess people come from all over the world to see the kingfishers here. There are two types in North America but 10 in Australia. The colors were amazing. Sadly, I had trouble getting them in focus. Doh.
It was a very peaceful cruise down the river and there were a bunch of herons and other birds along the shore.
We spotted a few snakes hanging up in the trees.
And a bunch of other birds
The river was absolutely beautiful and the fading light of the day created some fantastic colors on the water.
We couldn’t identify this wildlife though
We finished up the cruise as things were getting dark. It was really a pleasant trip and I am glad we got the private trip. Murray advised us we should watch out for snakes on the road. Doh! I guess they get some pretty big pythons in the Daintree.
It was dark and Jason was a trooper to drive us back the windy road to Cairns.
We chatted and listened to music. Then we started chatting about the one thing that inevitably will arise in any conversation if you talk long enough. Poop. Or scat. Or whatever you want to call it.
Somehow we got on the topic of Wombats and their poop. We are a high-brow crowd. Cynthia made some outrageous claim about wombat poop. We doubted her. We googled. And sure enough, wombat poop is quite interesting. Far more interesting than you could have ever imagined. And not just the poop itself, but how the wombat actually makes the poop.
Wombats, for those you that don’t know, have the driest poop of any mammal. Yes. It is true. It takes an amazing 14 to 18 days for the food to go from its mouth and out its rear end. Hence, it is quite desiccated by the time it exits. Fascinating. You eat a spicy burrito, you think everything is fine and then 2 weeks later you wonder why things are painful.
But don’t guess yet, there is more.
Wombat poop comes out in cubes. Yep. cubes. Why, you ask? They poop little cubes and leave the cubes on rocks to mark their territory. If they were round poops like kangaroos, they would roll off and the next thing you know, some new wombat is encroaching on your space.
So there you have it. Your scatological trivia for the day.
I wonder why we have trouble finding people to travel with?