Cape York Day 27 - Seisa to Cairns

Wednesday, Aug 19, 1998 at 17:17

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

(Day 16 TLCC Cape York Trip - Josephine and Trevor)

All up at 6.00am to leave camp at 7.45am. Our first stop was the Bakehaus in Bamaga. After everyone had bought their last goodies we left Bamaga not at all feeling disappointed. Only a few kilometres out of Bamaga we stopped to have a look at a DC-3 which left Brisbane on 4/5/45 and crashed 5/5/45 killing all on board. We felt sad to think they died when the war finished only 2 months later. We moved on towards Muttee Heads which was an army radio base during the war because of the deep water for landing. Before leaving Muttee Heads we had a look at the gravesite. The graves are of the pioneers of Saibai Island who formed the exodus to the Australian mainland and established a temporary settlement in 1947 before moving to the present site of Bamaga. We left here at 9.25am with the intent to arrive at Fruit Bat Falls again for morning tea. It was interesting to see that a Bailey’s bridge was still in use on Muttee Heads. They were used during the war as a reasonably quick, strong and transportable bridge. On arriving at the Jardine Ferry for our return journey we found a different driver to the one who took us across the first time. The Aboriginal driver on the North bound journey was not interested in talking to us but the Caucasian driver on this trip was over-brimming with information which our tail-end-charlie Bill listened to with great interest. It takes just 40 seconds to make the crossing by ferry and it takes just 6 cars at a time so the front of the convoy had to patiently wait for the rear to catch up. We had a situation with broken convoy procedure over this event which confused things for a while but was soon resolved.

Car 3 nearly drove into the back door of car 2 but avoided the accident by steering the vehicle up alongside car 2. Josephine tells us this was because her driver slowed to avoid a bumpy section jarring her bad back and then suddenly Tony and Oliver were upon them. This was not the first time they had received a warning about close driving! Even though there was a slight drizzle this morning the driving of this trip has been extremely dusty making necessary driving distances between the convoy quite large. Thankfully the rain ceased before we arrived at Fruit Bat Falls so we stopped for a combined morning tea and lunch break. After stopping for about an hour we moved on towards Captain Billy’s Landing. We traveled through yet another of the many burn-off areas that we’ve seen this trip. Apparently, the burning is done at this time of year not only to reduce the bush fire hazzard but also to assist in cattle spotting from helicopters during round-up times.

At 1.15pm we heard a call on the C.B that Tony in car 3 had engine failure. The timing belt had broken. We stopped for 10 minutes to assess the situation and it was decided that Tony’s car (the four-runner that had proudly proclaimed Na-na-na-na-na on Day One when he snatched out the jeep) should be towed by Jeff’s 80 series into Captain Billy’s Landing.

Arriving at Captain Billy’s Landing turnoff at 1.45pm with 30kms still to go, Collyn asked Bill to take the convoy into the site whilst he travelled with the towing pair. The convoy all got confused with the change of order and Josephine placed fines on car 5,6 and 7 for jumping the queue. Arriving at Captain Billy’s Landing at 2.30pm it was decided that it was too windy down on the lower level, so we drove up to the top and set up our tents amongst the trees. After setting up it was a lovely spot with a cool breeze coming through the trees. The only problem we encountered was the green tree ants but with what we’ve endured they are the least of our problems. Trevor once again removed and cleaned the carburetor of the jeep. Tony too worked on his vehicle to see if he could work around the broken timing belt. Everyone else took advantage of the low tide to inspect the bat caves. After dinner a few of us called it an early night while the rest had a late happy hour. The evening was cool with a lovely sea breeze making it pleasant for sleeping.

This being my second and last trip report I’d like to thank Collyn Crowhurst for a wonderful trip and the rest of the group for their terrific company.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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