This Matrax ad was filmed at Chili Beach in June 2010. The film crew stayed at Portland Roads Beach Shack which gave them a good base to explore the area and easy access to Chili Beach.
One dark night we heard a strange hissing noise. This is a worry when you live in the tropics in a house that is open to wildlife. On investigation the hiss was regular and occurred whenever we walked past this particlur post on our deck. Once we worked out that it couldn’t be a snake we got close enough to find this feisty little Rhinoceros Beetle. One of the largest kinds of beetle.
We have often seen them since. Boomer is particularly fascinated. He so wants to play with them.
A Blue-winged Kookaburra flew past me while I was driving from Lockhart River to Portland Roads. Apparently they are common on the cape and Southern New Guinea. I had never seen a Blue kookaburra before, it was a very quick glimpse but quite striking. There seem to be lots of bright blue creatures here, birds, butterflies. Down south Kookaburras are coloured to blend in to their environment. Just another amazing site on our regular trip to Lockhart River to pick up mail and groceries.
Spotted March 13, 2011.
Photo by Jon Clark. Used with permission. See Jon Clark’s Gallery on Flickr
We were just talking about how much wildlife we have – we see some amazing creature most days.
It was dark, Boomer started barking and wagging his tail wildly. I was about to tell him off; he usually barks at squeaky branches other weird noises. Then we spotted this guy in the dark, sitting on our clothesline.
He is a [wiki]Papuan Frogmout[/wiki] (click to read more in a popup from wikipedia) He is huge, he just sat there watching us curiously while we took heaps of photos, posing this way and that .
He does indeed have red eyes; they glowed red with the flash.
I just wish we could have taken a better photo though, we were trying to use our new Nikon but it just would not focus as he was in the dark, we tried shining a torch on him but then he had an orange glow, we haven’t had the camera for long so have heaps to learn. This was taken with my old Kodak which did better. Later I realised we should have put it on manual. Hopefully he will visit us again. He has flown by quickly so hopefully he will visit us again.
We are now experiencing “the wet”. It’s generally very humid but quite a few days are reasonably cool and quite pleasant. Mostly when it does rain it really pisses down, but we also get soft gentle rain.
Our daughter Zoe loves it when it does rain – it’s warm and fun and just fantastic just to play in. She found her own locally grown umbrella.
We have stairs up the side of our shack and then all the way up to the top shack (where our guests stay) – during a big downpour the stairs act as a wonderful waterfall.
The water just pours down the hill and then re-shapes our little front beach.
We also hear the frogs at night.
A. Yes, you can visit Cape York in the wet season.
Most people think that it is impossible to visit Cape York in the wet season. It is true that the major rivers flood, cutting off road access.
1. Hire a 4×4 from Lockhart River Car Hire
and stay at the Portland Roads Beach Shack, or
The road from Lockhart River to Portland Roads does not cross any major rivers. It is graded and well drained, so the rains do not make it impassible. Occasionally Chili Creek may rise and make the crossing difficult, but it is tidal so will recede within an hour or two.
Skytrans flies in to the Iron Range Airport at Lockhart River 4-5 days a week.
Lockhart River Car Hire has a fleet of vehicles that are utilised by workers in the area in the dry season.
Paul and Laney Piva from Lockhart River run the local family owned business.
Jun (the guide) found a cuscus in one of our mango trees just up the road; came running back to tell us – of course we were all terribly excited and very thankful that he’d made the effort to let us know.
We watched it eat a couple of mangos for about 30 minutes. Thanks Jun!
He also sent us the following photos.
A tiny little cameraman sailed into our bay today.
Our bay is approx 220 kms south-east of Bamaga at the tip of Cape York, and about 800 kms (by road) North of Cairns.
I was surprised – I assumed that it had been launched from the point just up the road about 250 metres, and I hadn’t seen a car and trailer drive past.
So I wandered down to talk to him.
I should say here that his boat is tiny – it is an eighteen foot (yes that is about 5.5 metres) catamaran called “Muckle Dayley” after his second daughter.
It is basically 2 canoes bolted together with bit of mesh between them and a mast.
He hadn’t actually come from around the point, but from Port bloody Morseby!
And that IS Port Morseby in New Guinea.
The Muckle Dayley is an eighteen foot two inch Prindle catamaran.
Prindles are generally very well regarded in the sailing world as rugged and durable cats.
Zoe and I stood with him next to the “Muckle Dayley”. You can see just how small his boat is.
That being said I wouldn’t do what Greg is doing. He told us about having crocodiles nudge him in the night when he was sleeping on the thin nylon mesh that is his deck.
This is 30 cm from the sea! My sphincter puckered as he told me.
He had many adventures along the way – met lovely, hospitable people living on tiny little islands just off New Guinea. On one of these a man swam out to pull the “Muckle Dayley” in to shore, then put him up for the night, fed him royally from their meagre food stores and sent him on his way again.
He encountered the hugely strong tidal currants of the Fly River, met a lovely couple, Shelley and Justin, and their two boys on Thursday Island (coincidentally we also had met them a year or so ago).
His living quarters on his cat were tiny – I was gob-smacked at just how small a space he had on the boat. It really was tiny; he also had to tether everything or store it in the 2 waterproof bags he had. Water was stored in the hulls in 1.5 litre bottles.
He had a small dome tent, and a little folding chair.
Small solar panels powered batteries for his phone, GPS and UHF radio.
He did have a lifeboat, again just looking at that scared me.
(And, yes it is the surf ski!)
He left on a quite windy day and last we heard was on Lizard Island and was about to sail to Cairns where he planned to end his voyage.
I was very impressed with what Greg had done – it was a pleasure to meet him.
Boomer was barking ferociously at something behind the kitchen wall. I thought it must have been a snake, so very gingerly peered around the corner.
I caught it in a bucket – to give you an idea of it’s size – it only just fitted on the bottom of the bucket (about 200 mm in diameter)
Either it or it’s sibling lives in a tunnel under the main (only) Portland Roads road. This crab has at least one tunnel that crosses under the road. Earlier in the year a roadworks crew re-bitumen-ised the road and covered one of it’s entrances. Not discouraged in the least it just re-dug it’s way through about 40mm of compressed gravel and bitumen. Bloody impressive and you can bet I kept my fingers well away from it’s claws.
I heard a strange scuffling, scrunching sound outside our verandah. Looked over the edge and on the lawn noticed a small 80 cm or so long python inexorably dragging a much larger cane toad back along the grass.
The cane toad appeared stunned and although obviously alive, struggled very little. The python was only about 25-30 mm in diameter and the toad about 60-65 mm. The snake dragged it back about 3 meters to its lair in a rock wall. The cane toad grabbed onto grass and rocks on the way with its front claws but other than did not struggle at all. I was worried that the toad would kill the python once it was ingested, but wasn’t quite willing to tap the python on the nose and say “No”.
It took the python about 25 minutes to get the toad back to its hole in the wall.
It then slowly engulfed the toad – this was repulsive but fascinating.
The snake finally swallowed the whole cane toad – the whole process took over an hour.