Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Crocodile Rock

Posted from Cairns, Queensland at 1:56 pm, May 29th, 2024

A lot of the time Australia feels very similar to home, but then something happens to remind you that you’re in a whole different world. This morning we joined two other Americans on the lodge’s outdoor deck for breakfast when I noticed an eight-foot long python climbing a tree just behind our table. One of the servers was on her way out with coffees, focusing intently on trying not to spill anything, and when she looked up to see that she was eye to eye with a very large snake her tray nearly tipped, she did an immediate one-eighty, and I’m not sure whether the coffees ever got delivered. In a similar vein, this evening we’re staying in a big hotel in downtown Cairns, and just after dark I waded out into the sea of humanity looking for an ATM, withdrew my money, and heard a noisy flock of birds in a tree in the median. While looking closer to try to identify them, a massive fruit bat flew over my head, and I quickly realized I wasn’t hearing birds. Australia isn’t totally dissimilar to home, but when it’s different, it’s very different.

In addition to the adventures above, our day started early with a 7am ride to look for crocodiles with the Daintree Boatman – you’d have to be a crazy insane person to spend six weeks in Australia and NOT devote at least one morning to driving around in a tiny boat looking for 17-foot man-eating reptiles, right? The weather was foreboding, and we eventually got rained on, but we did manage to spot a ton of neat birds, a tree full of giant fruit bats, and eventually a couple of crocs made appearances as well. Following the boat ride we said goodbye to the friendly staff, spiders, snakes, lizards and frogs at the lodge, and headed down to Mossman Gorge for one last hike through the rainforest. Aside from some wild pigs the animals in that part of the rainforest were hiding from us, but it was good to get one last walk among all of the strangler figs, vines, and other jungle residents.

Tonight we’re in Cairns in preparation for boarding a boat in the morning for a week out on the Great Barrier Reef, a place that has been on both of our bucket lists for many, many years. There may be intermittent internet access while out on the reef, but if the journal doesn’t get updated for a few days please wait a bit, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve met an early demise, and I’ll still try to write daily entries even if there’s a delay before they get uploaded.

Bee Eater, Daintree Rainforest

Our day started with bee eaters posing next to the boat dock.

Azure Kingfisher, Daintree Rainforest

Surprisingly, following the rainbow bee eaters, the birds got even more colorful when the azure kingfishers started posing for us.

Python, Daintree Rainforest

The poor girl serving breakfast nearly tipped her entire tray when she looked up and saw this guy in a tree two feet in front of her.

2 responses to “Crocodile Rock”

  1. What great bird pictures! Love the vibrant colors…..
    Have a wonderful time on the Great Barrier Reef!

  2. These birds are unbelievable! I love them so much~
    That is one mighty python…or is it a monty python??? Hmmmm, definitely not to be laughed at, that one.

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