FNQ: Day 5: Friday 28 April 2006

29 04 2006

Another rest day. The intention was to go to an outer reef on the Great Barrier Reef today, but the weather was 'iffy'. Heavy rain overnight, very cloudy, and the waves were pounding a little too loud on the shore. So I called and postponed the trip until Monday – again, dependent on the weather. We've purchased Dramamine in case it's a bit rough on the boat going out and back, so that's not a problem. However, thick cloudy skies mean that the sun doesn't shine into the water as well, which means you can't see the fish and the coral as clearly.

Instead we decided to try the cable water skiing as Dave wanted to give that a go. Unfortunately, they were putting new equipment into the water when we arrived, and the 10-15 minutes wait grew to well over 30 mins before we decided to come back either later in the day or tomorrow.

Quick change of plans, and off we went south of Cairns to Innisfail. We'd visited Innisfail the last time we were here and it's a very typical Australian country town. However, 5 weeks ago it was in the direct path of Cyclone Larry (a category 5 cyclone/hurricane/typhoon), so suffered a lot of infrastructure damage, though – fortunately – no loss of life.

While there's a bit of an ethical question for me about being a tourist in a town damaged by such a tragedy, the other side says that the town needs all the support it can get, and if that means turning up and purchasing some local goods and services, that has to help the economy in a very small way.

The damage to houses, trees, and plantations (esp. bananas) is pretty extensive. Many houses and businesses still have tarps covering some or all of their rooves, and road crews were visible cleaning up vegetation and damaged roads. Evidence of flooding could be seen at all river crossings too. However, the town of Innisfail was bustling with people and most businesses were open.

In the spirit of consistency, my husband and I had steak sandwiches for lunch (Dave had a Hawaiian burger) at a little take-out cafe in the main street of town (Pete's??). Excellent tucker! And cheap too – $6 each for the steak sandwiches and they were laden with goodies!

After our large lunches we wandered down to the river foreshore at the end of the main street, and saw up close the damage that a cyclone can do. Three HUGE trees in the park were just ripped out of the ground. Clean-up crews have removed all the branches that were hanging over the path and over the boats moored there, but the bases of the trees and their root systems were still exposed. The power of a wind to do that to a tree is hard to comprehend. Strangely, many rooves of businesses lining the foreshore were still intact – I'd have thought that a wind that could rip a massive tree out of the ground would have had no trouble ripping sheets of iron off a roof across the road.

River foreshore at Innisfail

We drove back to Palm Cove, dropping Dave off at the aboriginal theatre (Tjupakai?) near the Kuranda Skyrail while we got some groceries and refuelled 'the tomato'.

Dinner tonight was a stir-fried chicken with fresh ginger (from Innisfail) and chili, salad, and a multi-grain bread also from Innisfail. We may not have contributed much, but we did throw a few dollars into Innisfail's economy.




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