11th Jul 2012 - 24th Jul 2012
Port Douglas getting back 17
Wednesday 11th July.
Today the place is like a circus. The noise is horrendous starting with the stupid leaf blowing guy across the road at the pub car park 7.30am. 8.30am a stump muncher starts up next door, then a chain saw followed by a mulcher. Guests in 106 complain, not surprisingly. 104 are moving out today anyway, happily because at the time of booking we were full, so I give them a lift with their luggage to their next place. Rooms 102 and 103 have cut short their time with us by 3 days. Annie can’t stop swearing. John says he won’t charge the guest even though he can. By midday I am also ready to swear blue as the noise is driving me nuts, so having finished cleaning 104 I take off on the bike. I can clean 102 and 103 later.
Thursday 12th July.
Work hard to catch up with all the room changes. 106 to 205. 204 to 103. 201 missed her flight so she is staying another night for free (John felt sorry for her as she was so upset and couldn’t stop crying!). That guy is too good.
Friday 13th July.
Everybody seems to be checking out today. The noise problem went away so that is not relevant. Just the end of the school holidays I think. So much work to do that I am relieved when a text from Kingsley arrives saying his plane arrival tonight is delayed by an hour and a half. After cleaning 6 rooms though there is no time for a nana nap and off to Cairns I drive to collect my precious son. How wonderrful to wrap my arms around him. He travelled the cheap way so is hungry. We head straight to an Indian restaurant 5 mins from the airport for dinner and a catch up then drive back to PD in the dark. Never mind. He will see the beautiful scenery on the way home next week.
Saturday 14th July.
For me it is the final 2 races of the sailing series today. I leave Kingsley the car but he chooses to relax around the pool then joins us at the club later for the prize giving. Erin and Charlie are working well in the cockpit and today a new young spunky Argentinian laser sailor is with us, Jose, and I try to pass on my foredecky knowledge so he can take over when I return home. We come third in the whole series which is not as good a result as we would hope for but we have sailed to the best of our ability and have cemented a small team feel which is great. Celebration dinner at the club loses Erin and Charlie as they both work at the club now and Jose with other commitments but Kinglsey and Catherine join us, also AJ, a young spunky friend of Charlie’s and a new club member Robyn, about my age, who lives about 100m from me. Catherine is in entertaining form again which is fun as it gives Kingsley a sample of why I enjoy myself here in Port Douglas. I need to drive Catherine’s car with Mike and Catherine home after. Kingsley drives mine with Robyn. We all divert to have our banana spilt desserts at the chinese restaurant again - almost too much to eat then squash into my apartment for a cuppa tea to sober up.
Sunday 15th July.
Mike invites Kingsley and me and Erin to sail out to Low Isles even though the wind is blowing up a bit. We throw off the lines and the rain starts, and it hoses down on us. By the time we turn around, just out of reach of the other moored boats, we are all soaked to the skin. Rain here is seriously tropical when it arrives. We dump everything and head to the town for a coffee and dry out. The rain stops so off we set again past the channel buoys but actually not that much further. The wind must be well over 20kts. Low Isles is not visible in the gloom. All a bit silly so we turn back. A putter up the inlet is a much better idea. Kingsley spots the first croc half on the bank and half in the water. It is a small one. We see 2 more each increasing in size to around 3 metres. I wonder later with Annie at the increased numbers each year and she says the big ones eat the little ones so the numbers stay about the same. I guess that’s a good thing. When we return to the dock it is hot. We are loathe to just go home so we sit on the boat for an hour or so nattering, telling stories and drinking all the beer brought for the trip. Kingsley had a great day. I am happy.
Monday 16th July.
Today we are driving up into the hills to visit the Mareeba Coffee Works. It is a long drive winding up the mountains through heritage rain forest behind Mossman Gorge before hitting the straights through pleasant farmlands. The Coffee Works Museum is a tribute to coffee from around the world and of course the local produce and it’s history. It has an astonishing array of hundreds of coffee makers of all possible styles and sizes. The tastings of coffee and chocolate have my eyes popping and the drive home is a little faster than the speed limit.
Tuesday 17th July.
We are up early today to join the boat Calypso for a day on the outer reef. The weather is overcast and pretty windy so I am a little sceptical we will see much snorkelling. Only 25 people on board so at least it is not crowded and the staff are very cheerful. An hour and a half later we reach Opal Reef. Into the water we drop and find that the water is warmer than the air. Good. The coral is sort of the same to me. Other people are marvelling at it and I feel spoilt because I have seen it all before. There are plenty of fish and no sharks (that I saw). We snorkel at 3 sites and each one is better than the last. They plan this. The sun appears and visibility is pretty good and there is a huge Maori Wrasse under the boat waiting to be fed. On the return journey, yes, we stop for a couple of whales frolicking nearby. What a bonus. They spout water high in the air about 50m from us and both execute perfect dives with tails held high. We both sigh in contentment. Another good day.
Wednesday 18th July.
Kingsley’s last day today so he sun bathes around the pool while I work a little. Before we drive the very scenic route to Cairns around 2pm we drive north to look at the new Mossman Gorge Centre. All it is at the moment is a big car park, small art gallery, cafe, shop and new shuttle bus to the gorge. This is a much better arrangement now. I must do the guided walk before I leave.
Maybe I am simply delaying the inevitable but on the way south we stop at a resort the Thala Beach Lodge for afternoon tea. It has very tropical wooden pergola areas to sit and stare at the beautiful water views and a lovely pool waterfalling into another pool.
It is sad leaving Kinglsey but I am definitely improving on the tear factor by reminding myself I will probably be back in Melbourne late November. Teeth gritted of course.
Thursday 19th July.
Work hard then swim and chat to guests. I’m the only one brave enough to swim in the pool water. Ridiculous as it is probably about 20 degrees. Try to catch up on paperwork but feel blah after Kingsley’s departure. Bike to town for the mail and surprise surprise there is my new ukelele. That’s a lift in spirits for me. Biking home with a box sticking out of the basket is a challenge. I unpack it from the oceans of bubblewrap and instantly fall in love with it. It is gorgeous, smooth and pretty with mother of pearl inlay. Mike comes around to perve at it kindly. He wants mine now as my gifted old one is not good enough now or cute enough. (He can only play 3 chords to date but in truth this one would be easier for his fat fingers but he ain’t getting it.)
Friday 20th July.
Work and check in 2 more guests. Bike to town in high wind along the beach – watching plenty of kite surfers again.
No mail this time so wander a little then head into the bank to take advantage of the high AU dollar. I buy a travel card with Euros on it – so now I have to go.... sometime in the next 2 years... I head to the club to celebrate my decision and search for my missing gloves. No joy. Mike joins me for a drink then we eat in town at a very average Thai restaurnant. On the way back to the car he pushes me into a video arcade because I have never been in one and we sit down to race cars around a track. This is hillarious and exhausting. My screams have the passers by wondering what on earth and has Mike in stitches.
Saturday 21st July.
The weather is very windy so the sailing this afternoon to take out a new club member, Ursula, is postponed until tomorrow. There is a working bee at the club in the morning but I have rooms to clean. Arriving around 11.30am I see that amazingly so many people have turned up that the new garden is already planted, Mike and Liz have installed new lighting and there is nothing left to do other than a little watering. Henry ‘accidentally‘ turns the hose on me, bless him. Todd, the butcher has donated a huge amount of meat for a lunchtime BBQ and another sponsor has donated grog. The party atmosphere continues until around 3.30pm.
There is a good movie 6.30pm on Austar tonight so I call Mike and invite him over for dinner and watch it but by the time he arrives I have realised that that particular movie channel is not working on my TV so after dinner we head back to the club to check the new lighting is working ok then he heads home.
Sunday 22nd July.
I apply for a housesit in Melbourne through the Trusted Housesitter website for mid November. I plan to be in Melbourne then anyway so this would be ideal. I wonder if there will be any response.
John comes over and resets the decoder so that I have all the movie channels. Hooray. Tonight The Help is on so Mike and I will try again. I ask John for a reference sometime please.
The afternoon sail with Ursula is a big hit. It is very windy with the odd 2 metre wave so us girls get wet of course while Mike battles the helm. There is a big cruise ship for us to aim for and we get close enough before turning back for the port. Ursula couldn’t get the grin off her face and gave us both a big hug as she left. Looks like we made a new club member.
The Help is a good movie and for once a man over 50 proves he can last without falling asleep.
Monday 23rd July.
Another week, not much to report. Paperwork for end of financial year has been nagging me so I plow into it. Never as bad as expected.
John gives me his reference and it makes me cry. I’ve never had one quite like it. It finishes with “the world needs more Rosemarys in it“. Probably just as well there aren’t. Toughen up I say to myself.
Tuesday 24th July.
Windy again but I take a long bike ride today around the suburbs and then along the beach to town. I worry a little about Mike’s impending bad day tomorrow when his ex-wife and daughter fly back to NZ. He is deeply affected by it all but then I’m not surprised. Not much I can do about it other than be his friend and care. The truth is he has many friends here who all care. He is such a giver, but it’s still sad to see him hurting.