Part 5 - The Charismatic Adventures Of Henry The Hiace
Tin Can Bay, hand feeding dolphins at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre
Sebastian standing in an unknown danger zone
Georgie and the Big Pumpkin
The Big Mango in Bowen
Sebastian in the Little Crystal Creek Falls
The skull cave, a former nocturnium
Sebastian and a friendly green tree frog
Over a month ago Sebastian and Georgie, two housemates decided they'd leave the urban lifestyle of Melbourne behind them and explore the rest of Australia.
Since then the adventurous duo have been exploring the East Coast of Australia, making their way to Mission Beach in their affectionately named camper-van Dr Henry Jones Jr. We have rather enjoyed reading their tales of adventure, and sharing their stories with you.
Sebastian and Georgie after a week of more dolphin filled experiences have arrived at Mission Beach, where they've been reenacting scenes from Indiana Jones and planning where to go next.
Part 5 - The Charismatic Adventures Of Henry The Hiace
Week four saw us leaving Brisbane. Leaving the comforts of an air conditioned room, a cozy mattress, instant drinking water and electricity, as well as the warm company we had around us - it didn’t really seem very appealing. Nonetheless we were on a deadline and needed to pursue north. Aiming to hit my place of birth, Maryborough, then continuing onto my parent’s property up in Mission Beach.
The first stop on this leg of the journey was Tin Can Bay to hand feed some dolphins at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre. We camped close by and arrived at 7:30am for the 8am feeding.
Now, let’s talk about dolphins.
With the previous teasers that I have been though so far, I had envisioned an environment where I would be given a fish and been able to say to the dolphin, “sit” “rollover” “who’s a good dolphin?” Pat them on the head and then give them that high flipper five, just before they swim away into the distance saying, “Thanks Mr Sebastian, you are a friend to the dolphins”.
To my disappointment, such unrealistic affection must be redirected for some kind of Sea World theme park and not for the “wild” animal encounter I was faced with, with an open palm approach being the only gesture allowed at the centre, as anything else is believed to seem threatening. Nonetheless, there were dolphins, the Labradors Retrievers of the sea, at my feet, and it was a fulfilling experience.
Quick History lesson: Once upon a few years ago, there was a grandpa dolphin that started a punch on with a shark, he lost and beached himself on the shore. Unable to swim and eat, he began to contemplate his life and the decisions he had made. As he closed his eyes in preparation to go to the oyster pearly gates, a fisherman came a running and said, ye shall be saved!
The fisherman nursed the dolphin for two weeks, until he was strong enough to say thank-EE-EE-Eeeee-you and he set the dolphin free.
He thought that would be the end of it, but to his surprise, dolphins like free food.
Grandpa dolphin came back with his family and thus the Barnacles dolphin centre was born.
It has now been three generations of lazy dolphins that continue to visit for a free meal. Free to come and go as they please.
I have brought this up with many people, but I am still so amazed by the complexity of communication these dolphins must have. To be able to transfer enough retained information to say “they helped me, it’s safe, come I’ll show you” baffles me. They are one smart creature and if you have time, there is a documentary called “The girl who talked to dolphins” which is a pretty radical story about a scientist who convinced NASA to fund a program for him to try and find a communication method with them.
From Tin Can Bay we headed up to my birthplace, coincidentally on the day of my actually present birthday. Strange timing, Do you believe in coincidences?
It would be here, many years ago, that my parents would meet at a hotel and fall in love, my father the painter and my mother the waitress, thankfully hanging out together long enough to give me the skills to breathe, walk and talk. It has made my current life up to this point, much easier. Cheers!
Here, I would also catch up with my Aunty Eve, who lives near Fraser Island… where we actually intended to go, however after working out the costs involved ($50 per person to get to the island plus you will need to hire a 4wd which can be done on the island, HOWEVER this is the only time you will ever be quoted a per person ($220) basis to hire a car, CRAZY) so we thought the money could be better spent elsewhere and didn’t end up going.
My Aunty allowed us to stay with her for the night and suggested we go for a drive around the town to show me a bit about my 28 year ago past. We drove past houses where I had been shifted in my very early years and the past behind them. I was also shown the tree in which my umbilical cord was buried under, The tree was very handsome looking and had great attractive features and was funny and was just an all-round good bloke… there was a 98% uncertainty that it might have been the wrong tree.
Onwards and upwards we headed north making good time, passing towns named Gin Gin and Bundaberg, suggesting to me that water in the area was scarce, and that people around here must be quite thirsty.
After seeing some birds that looked like black cockatoos, me nearly getting eaten by a crocodile from standing in an unknown danger zone, staying a night at Airlie beach, hugging a Big Pumpkin, seeing the Big Mango in Bowen, having a night in Townsville, and then a refreshing stopover at the Little Crystal Creek Falls, we headed into Mission Beach. Arriving at the perfect time of “all the labour for the day has been done” o’clock, my favorite time of any day.
My Parents live on a former wildlife park, that is 64 acres of structured land surrounded by virgin rainforest. It lays claim to the former Mission Evolve Festival, the before my time Mud Fest, the home of the Cassowary, and also the setting for my brothers wedding. It has a skull cave (a former nocturnium) that we parked Henry under to reenacted a scene that resembles something that you would see from Indiana Jones, and an aviary that is nearing it’s full conversion into a butterfly house, which my dad (being German) hopes to turn into the Octo-butterfest, beer and butterflies, can’t go to wrong (my mum has no knowledge of this and therefore no approval of any such operation has been given).
We stayed two nights, and while playing with the local pets that live in our shower and toilet bowls (green tree frogs) we contemplated what the best thing, geographically, would be to do from this point forward, as we were running out of time (Georgie needed to go to home to New Zealand for a wedding) and we still had a lot of distance to cover, not to mention the calming and inviting lands of the Aussie outback…..mate.
We decided that missing out on Darwin and the Kakadu National Park would give us enough time to get to Melbourne in time, and thus have made a new route and will head towards the northern most point for this trip, the Atherton tablelands before heading in a south west direction back home.
Armed with a full set of new tyres and a hand full of crossed fingers, I hope Henry is the Van I know he can be, and he will not let us down.
Hopefully see ya’ll alive and well next time we speak, we have an intrepid journey ahead.