Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bloomfield wrap-up

I'm getting a little behind myself in my posts. Too much is happening too fast for me to write about it all. I'm back in Cairns now, working in a hostel. More on that later.

The weekend I mentioned in my last post was a very exciting one. Brad and I went to visit his girlfriend Kerry, also a helpx host, in Rossville, which is about a 45 minute drive north. I got to drive the whole way there; my first time driving a left-hand drive vehicle on public roads. Despite my habit of wanting to drive on the right side of the road, it went rather well.

In Rossville I was introduced to two new species of beetles. A Rhinoceros Beetle, who's large pincers look menacing and painful but can hardly grip hard enough to cause discomfort.

No, I don't wear that shirt every day. It's just a coincidence.

And the Cane Beetle. They are a plague to sugar cane farmers. Cane Toads were introduced into Aus to try and rid the fields of the beetles, but since the beetles usually stay at the top of the canes, the toads were of no use. Now Cane Toads are a problem, and new species have been introduced to kill them off as well.

That Saturday morning was moving rather slowly for everyone, so Kerry suggested I take her dog for a walk and check out the local river up the street. I happily agreed.

Little Brother, a Rodesian Ridgeback crossed with... bull mastiff? Maybe not, can't remember. Anyway he's very friendly, and despite knowing me less than 24 hours, followed on my heels all the way to the river and back home.

The strip of fur on his back growing in the opposite direction is where the breed gets the name 'ridgeback'.

We rock-hopped up the river for a few hundred meters, and I tried my hand at some long exposure photography (2nd and 3rd pics).

It's hard to do it right without a tripod...

Later that day the three of us went up to Cooktown, the town where Captain Cook crashed in 1770. He actually crashed on the reef just off the coast, then eventually got his ship to the beach to repair. On the way there we passed Black Mountain; a large hill of black granite boulders that used to be one solid structure. Over the years, Mother Nature has split the one huge rock into many many Smart Car sized boulders. There is a lookout on the side of the road there, and we stopped for a looky and a picture.

Someone had drawn a four-foot member on the rock I was standing on. Classy.

When we got to Cooktown, we went up to... well I forget the name of it, but it was a big hill looking out over the town and the ocean. I didn't realize how small the town was until we got up there. This is basically the extent of it.

A rose compass was set in the ground at the top of the lookout hill. Each line pointed to major cities around the world, as well as some local ones, though it's a bit hard to distinguish in the picture. Just for reference, that's Tokyo and North at the top.

Found a Cooktown Gecko running around Kerry's house.

I also got to visit the local waterfall, which was deserted, save for myself. I'm horrible at estimating distances (especially in metric), but I'd say from where I stood to the top of the falls was at least 50 meters (~150 feet). The way the cliff was shaped and formed made almost like steps, and the river was 'stepping' down, forming a pool on each one. The rock face made for good climbing, and the pools for good swimming. However, I was feeling extra cautious that day, thinking about recent comments from my brother about climbing without gear, and only climbed to the third one up.

I can only imagine how amazing this sight would be in the wet season, when the water would really be flowing.

That'll do it for Bloomfield. This morning I took the bus back to Cairns, where I'll be for about a month. I'm driving a bus 21 hours at a hostel a week in exchange for room and board. Right now I have a two-bunk room to myself, but we'll see how long that lasts.

I'm going to go check if the supermarket carries Egg Nog...

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