We have reached Cairns and are now far enough north that even Australians say “That is far up north.” The city is in the tropics so, despite it being winter right now, is a shorts and T-shirt place with lots to see and do outside.
We sailed the last few miles from Fitzroy Island at an extremely leisurely pace but managed to sail all the way up the ship channel in to the middle of the city where we anchored directly across from the marina. With the dinghy we can be on land in five minutes but have to time the river crossing to avoid huge ships, warships and ferries.
This is our first city since Hobart back in Tasmania so we had a nice long list of city jobs. Luckily we had pre-ordered some parts we needed and, thanks to Andrew Laming – our man on the ground, we already had an appointment organised with a notary.
We spent four days visiting the businesses that we needed and in between Andrew introduced us to a great breakfast location, a roof top bar, a trivia night, the Australia versus England ladies football game and an art gallery. For us two sailors, city life was a little exhausting and we slept well every night.
The trivia night was an evening of extremely difficult questions that were often impossible for non-Australians to answer – cricket, local television and politics are not our strong areas. But, with three Australian doctors in the team, we did fairly well and answered every medical question perfectly.
We watched the first half of the football on a huge screen in the park and the second half in a bar. We were amazed to learn that the ladies football game was the most viewed event on Australian TV – ever! We asked about men’s soccer but were told “No one watches that!” In Germany no one cares about women’s football and here the Matildas were bigger that cricket and rugby.
In the art gallery there was an exhibition called the Pillors of Democracy. Initially you think that there is a spelling mistake but the title is a play on words suggesting that the pillars are actually colonial inventions that hold the aboriginal people in pillory. A thought provoking work particularly as we have now reached the part of Australia where the aboriginal Australians are much more visible than they have been until now.
“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” That is what the bible says but instead we went for a bike ride from Cairns out in to the tropical rain forest and along Freshwater Creek to the Crystal Falls. The route was only fifty kilometers but took us out of the city and deep in to the original forest. The canopy provided shade, the river kept the air cool and round every corner there was something new to discover. The route is at Alltrails. On the way back to the boat we diverted through the botanical gardens and then treated ourselves to a plate of prawns on a fishing boat in the marina.
Life is good!
“Wirlankarra yanama. Yurlu nyinku mirda yurndarirda”Aboriginal quote
“Go with a clear, open and accepting spirit, And the country will not treat you badly”