Friday, May 19, 2017

Port Douglas...Shops and Crocs!

The short trip from Cairns to Port Douglas was pretty uneventful. We’ve come to accept that the wind on this coast, at this time of year, is always going to be 20 – 25 knots…luckily the swell is not too bad as the reef gets closer and closer to the mainland, and makes the water a little calmer.

We arrived in the afternoon, and were even more impressed with Port Douglas than we were with Cairns. Beautiful, green landscape with a smattering of palm trees! It reminded us that we were slowly getting to the tropics again! Afterall, we were now at 16 degrees S once more!  (Brisbane lies at 26 degrees south).

Arriving in Port Douglas

Port Douglas's 4 mile beach

Our time in Port Douglas pretty much mirrored that of Cairns. We spent the first afternoon getting acquainted with our surroundings, taking a walk up into the quaint village of Port Douglas. Lots of cute shops and restaurants…really only one main street! 

Lots of trees and cute restaurants

I particularly enjoyed this billboard!
The next day was again dedicated to boat tasks. Dave secured the dinghy, and we finally sorted out and rearranged our bow lockers, something that’s been bugging us for a long time! I spent all day on the computer, getting ourselves registered on Indonesia’s new online yacht registration system. We also decided to enlist the help of an agent in Indonesia, who will help with clearing in. While it’s possible to do it all yourself, we read reports on how it can take a couple of days as you get sent from one authority to another. Other reports from yachties that had used an agent, described a 2 hour check-in process as the agent taxied them around and the process was really smooth. We decided the fee charged for this would be well worth it, considering we don’t speak the language, and have heard of many reports of officials demanding bribes. So that all took some time to organize, but at the end of the day, we felt good with the progress we had made, and other than a final shop and filling up the LPG gas, we were pretty much ready to go! We also picked the brain of a local here, who gave us some pointers on where to go (and not to go) between here and Thursday Island. We don’t have much time to get there before our visa expires, but it was still good to have this local knowledge and we filed it under “nice to have”!

Gaby is enjoying experimenting with photography - Cool Runnings in the marina at Port Douglas
So that left a day free on Saturday, May 13th, and we did the same as we did in Cairns, and hired a car. We used it to run our final errands in the morning, and then we set off on a drive to see what we could see. And what did we see…??? Crocodiles…that’s what!! We decided to take a river boat ride up the Daintree River. It was beautiful in its own way. Brown water, muddy banks in parts and thick, green foliage. And in between, lots and lots of crocs! They varied in size from tiny, small, medium, and one rather large fellow! Our guide was entertaining and knowledgeable, and his dog, Duke, kept everyone amused when we were not looking at crocs!

The Daintree River

Dense foliage...lots of places for the crocs to hide...

Duke, our guide dog (or rather, our guide's dog), on the lookout!

Gaby, do you realize what's behind you?

Yep...that's what it was...we actually wondered if it was real, but then we all saw its eyes move...ugh!!!

Dave and Rosemary enjoying the boat ride

Spot the croc...I told you some of them were tiny!  This one's name is "Big Joe"  (I circled him to help you find him!!)

This is the biggest one we saw.  His name is "Bender".  He had apparently destroyed a couple of thousand dollars worth of crabbing equipment, easily bending the metal crab pots.

After a lunch of beef pies, we drove, literally, to the end of the road, where we found the small town of Daintree, but it was nothing like Kuranda, which we had enjoyed so much on our field trip in Cairns. On the way back we made a short stop at Mossman Gorge, but didn’t have time to do any more rainforest walks, and we felt we’d “been there, done that” during our short time in Cairns. So it was back to the boat and after we stowed the last of the provisions we bought here, we set off for a farewell dinner with Rosemary, as she would be leaving us the next day. It was hard to believe her time with us had come to an end…it seemed to have gone so quickly! 

Not much more to Daintree than this!

And this

On Sunday morning (Mother’s Day) we took a slow drive back to Cairns to drop Rosemary off at the airport. She has flown back to the Gold Coast and will be staying with her brother and sister-in-law (Brian and Gaylor) for 2 more weeks before making the long journey back to Florida. We hope she enjoyed her stay…it was definitely not what any of us had imagined it would be, but she got to see first hand what our cruising life is like…the good, the bad and the ugly! After saying our sad farewells, we drove back to Port Douglas. I told the kids to enjoy the peace and quiet and the stable boat, as this was the last time we would be in a Marina for a very long time!! Early on Monday morning, May 15th, we left Port Douglas for Cooktown, on our continuous quest North.

Dave and Rosemary enjoy a few last moments together at Cairns airport

Last Selfie... Bye Granny!!  Thanks for everything you did for us while you were with us.  We will miss you!!!


  1. Good luck for the next stretch. Exciting. I know so little of that part of the world so look forward to reading about it.

  2. We love all the updates and smiles!!!! Hysell Family