A Night Out Watching My Mates Catch Fish

I got talked into going fishing, instead of sleeping yesterday arvo. I’m glad I did go. I took the dogs too, down to Our beach.
I played with the dogs & my friends fished. S, caught the first and biggest. She pulled in a 65cm, really healthy Barra. Then, through the night they caught four fingermark in the 50cm plus range. Watched a nice sunset, and moonrise.

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Midway through the night, one of the boys hooked what at first thought was shark. But it turned out to be a protected QLD Grouper. I managed to get one photo with torch light before it swam offΒ  after being freed from the hook. To give you an idea of its size, That mouth opening would easily fit your foot in sideways. The mouth is about 30cm across. It was bigger than the carcass in the second photo. I found that on the beach a few weeks back.

1.5m 50kg est. QLD Grouper.

1.5m 50kg est. QLD Grouper.

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A QLD Grouper carcass found on Walker Bay beach, near Cooktown QLD.

A QLD Grouper carcass found on Walker Bay beach, near Cooktown QLD.

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The Photos I promised

These pics are associated with my previous post.

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Must See Saturday Morning near Cooktown

We had to show you these. We popped into the markets early and grabbed a big pawpaw (papaya), a dozen passionfruit, a kilo of bananas and half a dozen avocados for a total of $15.
Then we went to the beach. Barely a breath of wind and a beautiful 29 degrees. The water was crystal clear and fish were running along the gutter,30 metres offshore.

We love this place πŸ™‚

Oh. A fisherman friend dropped 10 kilos of Spanish Mackeral in yesterday arvo. Big fillets about a kilo or more each. And thick!

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It’s All About Us

Hey gang

4:20pm πŸ˜‰ Tuesday 13 September 2011
After getting cleaned up at the Dragons Lair, we headed out to Walker Bay. First we checked the North end, then headed to the South to find some shelter from the trade winds. We found a nice hidden clearing about a hundred metres (330ft) in from the beach. The thick coastal scrub just lifts the wind over our heads, but also lets the breeze flick in a little to keep things cool and fresh.

I learnt a lesson today. Tina should not have shopped by herself at the supermarket. She insisted though.
“I haven’t been in their for ages! I’ll do the shopping.”
Tina purchased some avocado, bread, tomatoes, eggs and potatoes. Cool. She also bought a tray of herbed steak, a cold chicken, some cheese kabana. Enough cold meat for three days. Cool too. Except we have no fridge or ice. πŸ™‚
Now, we could have eaten the chook last night. But…we also had two live crabs that our bama mate had given us. They were happily resting in the mangrove leaves in the old blue Styrofoam esky we’d found at the Annan.

A Quick Diversion

Bama Explained
The term ‘bama’, pronounced ‘bumma’, is the local term in both guugu yimmithir and kuku yalanji languages for person or people. However, over time it has become the respectful term for differentiating between local aboriginals and white people. White people can sometimes be referred to as migaloo (whitefella), but that’s generally reserved for tourists who travel up here around the same time as the whales migrate North. We sometimes think there was an in-joke going on when the White humpback whale was named.

Crabs
Our somewhat famous mud crabs are arguably the best tasting crabs on the planet.
Mud crabs are most commonly found in tidal saltwater, mangrove lined rivers and creeks. They’re also found in mangrove lined coast.
Now, some people may argue with me, but in our humble opinions, the best way to cook Australian Mud crab is thus:

Assuming a 1 kilogram (roughly 2lb) mud crab.
It must be alive! If you can’t get live green mud crab, ignore this and buy a cooked one.
Euthanase it.
Squeamish people avert your eyes. Either place in a freezer for an hour,or spike it between the eyes with something sharp.

Preferably get a big pot of fresh clean ocean water,about 5 litres (1.3US gal) and bring it to the boil. Immerse the crab and allow it to come to the boil again. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes, then take off the heat. Let it sit in the hot water for a couple minutes, then remove and immerse in a bucket of cold saltwater.
Leave in water to cool for 15 or 20 minutes before eating.
Oh, if you put thick layers of fresh mangrove leaves in your esky with your crabs, they’ll live for days. Keep the esky in the shade and open it for fresh air a couple times a day. Replace the leaves every couple of days or so. Only mangrove though.

End Diversion

Anyway, we decided to cook and eat the crabs instead, and sacrifice the chook to the dogs in the morning.
Dinner was fresh Annan River mudcrab, boiled in Crystal clear Walker Bay ocean water. Accompanied with ripe Avocado, tomatoes, lettuce and soft multigrain bread and butter.

We went to bed early, listening to the ocean and the breeze we’d become so used to before Tina was diagnosed with the GBM.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

We both had an interrupted sleep. Tina was awake more often than me, listening to the radio and quietly shushing Jack when he barked at a hog or wallaby in the undergrowth.
I woke around 11pm. Then at some hour after that, I woke with an overwhelming urge to throw up.
After emptying my guts, I felt much better and slept til dawn, about 6:15am. Tina was fine. Not sick at all. Just not very tired.
I did something silly while cleaning up last night. It may have contributed to my sickness 😦
This morning, Tina had some steak and salad for brekky. I took our long bucket out to the beach with Jack to get some washing water. There’s a good 25 to 30 knot Sou’Easter blowing off the ocean onto the beach. Our spot in behind the 4 metre high, dense vine scrub is well protected, but the wind still rips through the canopy at the edge of the clearing, letting us feel her freshness when a gust rolls like a wave into our camp.
Which leads me to the beauty of Pig.

Pig, of whom I think you are intimately aware, provides our cooking fire, warmth and entertainment during our nights here in Paradise. Pig can contain a fire and its ash in a 20 knot wind. I reckon it could handle more though. The mesh on the vent at the bottom of Pig, Pigs Arse, holds the ash until it has completely burnt. The ash can’t start another fire outside Pig. The only evidence of Pig that you’ll see after we leave a camp after a few days, is a small pile of ash that might, but probably wouldn’t fill a 10 litre (4gal) bucket. Thankyou Legend Of The North, Pig is good πŸ™‚

Tina weighed herself Tuesday morning at the Dragons Lair. She was 67.7kg (10.6 stone 150lb).
Prior to the Dexmethsone treatment, well actually, the Thursday Tina flew from Cooktown a month ago, she weighed 58kg (9.1st or 128lb).
An extreme appetite is a common side effect of Dexmethsone. There are others as well, some quite serious. I think it is either the Dexmethsone or the omezaprole that lowers your immune defenses. We have to be careful in case Tinas system weakens.

Today will be a quite lazy day for us. We’ve gathered wood, collected water, cooked breakfast, checked the weather on the radio, and decided to do a lot of nothing today.
Images today are of The Penn rod we found washed up on the beach. Which reminds me. I forget when we’re in range to Google this rod. Do any of you fisher folk have a replacement value for it?
There is also the float we found that will be for JJ or The Legend, a few obligatory Jack and Floyd shots (puppehz izz cute), and whatever else I have a whim to show. πŸ™‚
For example, Tina dozing in her ‘Fraggle Rock’ t-shirt πŸ™‚
Pig is there with his Blue 5 litre enamel pot (another gift from Legend). See the ash pike? That’s from boiling two crabs, boiling the billy twice, pan frying steak this morning,and boiling off the crab water this morning.
OK, here is a Tina-ism. It might give you an idea of where her head is at at the moment. Her confusion with naming things is more pronounced early in the morning, or at night when she is tired.
“These guys taste pastel!”
…said whilst eating weet-bix with creamy mixed powdered milk at 10pm one night. Pastel=like cream…duh!
…and Aussie kids are weet-bix kids! Sport, team, guys…
If you don’t know weet-bix, Google them too.

Lunch time!
A Tuna salad of Avocado and raw Broccoli florets with seasonings. Too nice on a tropical Wednesday.

We have plans for next month while waiting for the Pensions to come through. First,Tina is adamant that we attend the Wallaby Creek Music and Arts Festival. We’ll get a Centrelink payment on Thursday the 22nd before Wallaby Ck, which runs from the 23rd to the 25th. The tickets will cost us around $200 for the weekend, but dogs are banned. What do we do with Jack and Floyd? I heard a place in Rossville will board dogs for the two days. Jack and Floyd would be very well behaved, but I guess rules is rules.

3:30pm. Time to sneak into town and get some non-perishable food πŸ˜‰

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A Very Lazy Thursday

Today (Thu 1st Sept) has been a very laid back day. We didn’t wake up too early, and the weather was still windy and squally, so we weren’t too keen on a morning walk up the beach.
The patches of rain were broken by some sunshine later in the morning, so we took Jack and Floyd for a wander. Floyd seems to be handling the sand and wind quite well. He also has some stamina for a little pup. He managed a good 3/4 of a kilometre before we picked him up and gave him a rest.
We found a frisbee for Jack and tossed it around until he killed it. Then we started with the sticks into the ocean game. The waves were crashing close to shore and were getting up to a metre or so, which is high for here. But then it’s been blowing 20 to 30 knots as well. So Jack had some more surfing lessons and a good bath.
We also found some big cuttlefish bones. I did some artwork on one for Tina, using shells and the spikes on the end of other cuttlefish bones. It’s carved and embossed. I’ll work on the bigger one as well one day.
We had leftover stew and made dry roasted flat bread for lunch. Oh, and we found a nice size coconut and opened it. Wasn’t as nice as a green one, but it still went down well.
All in all it was a nice relaxing day.

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We Haz Puppeh!

Tuesday night was spent with a good mate Dragon, and a bunch of his friends. It was a night of good food (including a couple of kilos of prawns), good music and lots of beer and laughter πŸ˜‰ .
We went for a walk on Wednesday morning, thenΒ  picked up our new puppy on the way out of town. Yes, a puppy πŸ™‚

One of JJ’s dogs had pups. She is a Blue eyed Staffy cross. The father had Bull Terrier and Dane in him.
We picked this pup up because his coat blew me away, and he came up to both Tina and I when we first saw him. He sat between our feet while the other pups wandered around. He picked us really.
Going by his build, he should be a solid, stocky thing when he matures. But check his coat. It’s almost feral pig colours!

His name, after 24 hours of decision making, and after nearly picking the following:
Dougal
Cookie
Spike
Albert
…we decided on…
Floyd. You know, pigs on the wing, and all that.

So, check the pics of the pup and Tina and Jack and me and Jimmy the 4WD and the fire pig and the ocean and…

Taken Wednesday morning:

A big trawler, the ‘Roper Therese’ moored in the Endeavour Harbour.

The dorys and traditional canoes used in past Cooks landing re-enactments.

UPDATE
On Wednesday afternoon the weather turned a little gloomy. Not gloomy, just a bit squally.
The first photo is Mt Cook, looking West at the South East face. The mountain attracted its own cloud formation.
The other pics are looking South East down the coast towards Archer Point, Mt Amos, Cedar Bay and Bloomfield. Compare these with the earlier one of Tina and the dogs.

And just because the new pup is too cute, here are two more of it sleeping off a big feed.

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Of Crocodiles, Echidnas and Taipans

First and foremost. A BIG Happy Birthday to Tracy Macy! Happy Birthday sugary plummery! We hope you had a good day today/yesterday xxxx. We’ll FB you on Monday. She tweets as @tracymacy so follow her! She’s our titta (sister).

So, here I am, relaxing on my driftwood and bamboo lounge chair (padded with towels because I have a bony bum), in front of our flash fire place, and I got to thinking how damned lucky I am to be where I am/we are.

It’s kind of hard maybe for some folk to realise that we are very happy and very comfortable in our modest little home. Our water supply is a bunch of plastic bottles of varied capacity that we refill in town. Our toilet is a hole in the ground out in the scrub. We shower in town, or we bathe in the ocean. Our ‘kitchen sink’ is a 10 litre, square bucket. We have a 12 volt lifht for when we need it that runs off the car, and we have a gas fridge on loan, courtesy of our friend, The Guitarist. But we are sooooo content! We eat well. We also have time to make mobiles and bracelets and stuff. My work in town allows me to be home well before sundown. So, I can walk on the beach wirh my favourite person in the world, throw a stick for Jack the dog, and collect ‘stuff’ for our art.
I just bloody well love being alive now!
Not many of you know this, but 5 months ago I explained to Tina that if we didn’t get away from where we were, I would probably ‘off’ myself. We were existing. We weren’t living as such. I was making twice as much money as we do now, but it was gone before we knew it. The only good thing about where we were was that we were close to the majority of our kids and one or two special people that we care for dearly. But the place was killing me emotionally and spiritually.
So we made our move. I no longer feel ‘dead’. Nor do I contemplate suicide anymore. I am spiritually and emotionally comfortable (for want of a better word).

But enough of that maudlin stuff. I’m supposed to be writing about Crocodiles, Echidnas and Taipans. But first, since our last post, Tina has made half a dozen more shell and driftwood mobiles. We’re thinking of hitting the markets one weekend to see if anyone wants to buy some of them. $10 each sounds fair don’t you think? Check out the photos. Some of them tinkle, but some don’t. But they’re all very organic and pretty.

OK. Back on track. Last week we saw our first snake near our home. It crossed the path we use to go bush to our ‘business’. I’m pretty sure it was a small (1metre) Taipan, but it could have been a Brown snake. We decided not to get close enough to check the scale count to properly ID it. We just let it go in its way. It was a very nice snake though. No doubt we’ll see more as the seasons change. Hopefully they’ll help control the rodents. Jack has killed two mice so far. Jack is NOT a pig dog. He barks at wild pigs, but is smart enough not to chase them. God idea too. The pigs we’ve seen here are twice his size.

Crocodiles.
For those of you who don’t live in croc country, you may be a little surprised to know that big bitey saltwater crocs are just as at home in the ocean as they are in estauries. There was a 14 foot (4.5 metre) croc tagged in the Endeavour River a few years ago. The tag had a beacon attached. This crocs movements were tracked as it moved around. They (DERM) found that this croc regularly went up every creek that fed the river. Then it would travel 20 plus kilometres out to sea and cruise the Great Barrier Reef. Then it would do a bit of a coast run before heading back up river.
Now, we’re croc aware. We know they’re about, so we don’t really think about the signs that are common around here and other croc friendly parts of the tropics. So, as my civic duty demands, check the photos from our favourite beach. It’s less than 10 km from town. Funnily though, the ‘recent sighting’ sign has been there for nearly a month. However, recent sighting signs in town are removed after a couple of days. Maybe they don’t want to scare the tourists
πŸ™‚

Echidnas
The very last thing I expected to see around camp was an Echidna. I mean, we’re pretty close to the beach. I’ve seen them in the mountains, the desert and the bush. But for some strange reason I hadn’t even considered that Echidnad might like to hang out near the beach. Well there ya go. The Echidna in the photos was nearly inside our home. Time for some edjamacashun. Echidnas are monotremes. If I recall correctly, there are only two animals in the monotreme family. One is the Echidna. The other is the Platypus. Both are egg laying mammals. And both are completely dissimilar to each other. One has a duck like bill and beaver like tail and spends most of its life in still, freshwater creeks. The other is spiny, likes dry country and lives mostly on ants.

Anyway, I’m off for now, but check the last pic. It’s a random view from where I’m sitting. Wish You Were Here to enjoy it. Especially you Twistyman, and you kidlets. Oh, the tent is our guest house. We sleep in the back of Jimmy. So remember, if you come for a visit, you’ll be sleeping in luxury on an airbed in the mansion πŸ˜‰
Lastly. Do a Google for Geoffrey Gurrumal Yunupingu. The go to YouTube or somewhere and find some of his music. Gurrumuls music is just too cool to not sample some of it. Seriously.

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Another Walk at Walker Bay

In this episode we take a new friend to Walker Bay beach and just miss a crocodile.

Sunday was a good day. We cleaned the Big Kitchen and then took our new friend to Walker Bay. She has no transport so we have decided to show her a few of the cool places around the area.

Mary has had quite an adventure in Australia already, with some relationship turmoil as well. I won’t tell tales, but imagine being thousands of kilometres from home and walking away from your partner and nearly everything you own. A good exercise in self discovery.

OK, so we went to the beach. Our art installations are still standing! We’ve had some big tides this week, so I expected they’d be washed away. We also just missed a beach loving crocodile. See the pics of the tracks below. Jack the dog found a 30 centimetre Seahorse exoskeleton too.Β  Oh, and compare the big stump pic to the one in our previous Walker Bay post. This beach is very fluid. Last time we went there were two creeks flowing into the sea, but now there is just the one. That’s where the croc tracks came from. The rest of the pics are just my happy snaps πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy.
Tonight I am going to attempt to catch a fish again…suuure.

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