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Fleeing the Storm

blog-0151517001397736178.jpgReturning from Mossman Gorge the night before I had listened to the news reports on the approaching cyclone (hurricane) Ita. The storm was gathering strength and was approaching the area north of Cairns. I got on the computer and checked the official Australian weather reports which had the storm at category 3 and expected to reach category 4 before coming ashore somewhere between Cooktown and Cairns. We made the decision to leave on Thursday morning. We needed to arrange a refund of our payment for the SCUBA course and check to see if we could get a refund for Thursday night from the campground. Both were accomplished easily and we were on our way out of town at 9:00 a.m.

I had very mixed feelings about leaving. I knew without a doubt that the storm would affect the area and doubted that we would be able to complete the SCUBA course and that there would be no trips to the Great Barrier Reef in the next few days so we wouldn’t be able to do these things even if we stayed but it still was a great disappointment not to be able to see the Great Barrier Reef.

To leave Cairns, we had to drive 380 kilometers south to the town of Townsville. We would then turn west into the Queensland outback. The road took us through a gap in the Great Dividing Range of mountains so we avoided the slow, climbing and descending curvy roads of the mountains and were rather quickly on the west side of the dividing range.

As the afternoon wore on we were slowed by a series of road repairs, each with a series of stoplights that regulated the one way traffic. Being in the realm of the truck trains now, the lights were set for longer periods to allow these large trucks to accelerate and move though the construction zones. This made for very slow travel.

Once clear of that construction, we found a place to stay for the night at Pentland, a small town. The park was quite old and wasn’t expensive, just $22 AUS. Most parks are charging fees around $30 to $35 with a few charging over $40. We have two discount plans which give 10% discounts at certain parks and the conversion from Australian dollars to US dollars is running about 8% to 10% in our favor.

Louise found a bright green frog waiting outside the women’s restroom. This park suffered from a condition we have noticed at a few other parks, the restrooms harbored mosquitos. I suspect the frog was there to feast on the insects around the lights. There were no frogs around the mens restroom where the light was either burned out or turned off. Some parks have screened restrooms, others have open restrooms with no doors and no screens. This doesn’t seem to be a factor related to mosquitos. I believe it is a matter of having some mosquito control in the community. It also seems to help if the lights are on some kind of control to shut them off or at least shut off most of them once the evening activity wanes.


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