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Published: July 20th 2010
On Sunday we joined the Peninsula Development Road (PDR) again and headed north to the turn off east into Iron Range National Park. This road was in good condition although it had lots of dips. There were only two noteworthy creek crossings - the Wenlock River and the Pascoe, which was a wide, sandy bottom crossing that was pretty shallow. Our only stop after a morning tea break and a firewood restock was at the Mt Tozer lookout, although we did drive into the inland camp sites at Rain Forest and Cooks Hut to have a look just in case we couldn't get a site at Chili Beach. We had been told that Chili beach, where we were intending to camp, fills up quickly and by the time we got there all the sheltered sites were taken so we ended up in an exposed site being buffeted by the southeasterly trade winds that were pretty strong. The beach itself was scenic with palms and rainforest bordering on white sand. However Chili beach is quite littered at the northern end, as the ocean currents deposit lots of rubbish on the shore there. It was sad to see what rubbish washed ashore from
places as far away apparently as Vanuatu and the Philippines. It did make for interesting beach combing though. Amongst his beach combing finds Thomas found a light bulb that was intact - surprising considering it had survived a strong high tide the night before and had been 'swimming' for an unknown length of time. Annelies and Thomas also found a Nautilus shell washed up on the beach and plenty of sea beads
(seeds of a rainforest tree). People had also obviously had lots of fun with all the debris as there were several totems made up of old thongs and a dressed up 'coconut lady'.
Despite intermittent showers coming through, we did manage a camp fire in a sheltered hollow space and had a yummy roast lamb, jacket potatoes and vegies for dinner. Some other campers also put their spuds in our fire to cook. We set off for a night Spotlight walk after dinner and spotted a Papuan Frogmouth. We weren't very successful seeing snakes or other wildlife.
As Monday morning was the World Cup 2010 final between Spain and the Netherlands, Thomas, Mark and Annelies woke at 4 in the morning to get the laptop running
to watch the game on the internet. It was pretty amazing that the Telstra mobile reception was enough to stream the game online. They had to move out of the tent into the car to hook the laptop into the inverter as the extension cable couldn't handle the high current required, but it also helped with sound quality because the wind whipping around the tent, as well as the constant flapping of the canvas was very loud (Alex had very little sleep that night). Unfortunately the Netherlands didn't win!
After breakfast we headed into Portland Roads, which was once home to a substantial jetty in WWII but is now a quiet fishing village. It was a lot more sheltered around the point from Chili Beach. We had been told the night before of a café at Portland Roads called “Out of the Blue”, which was appropriately named and delicious so we shouted ourselves to a cooked lunch. We shared fish and chips and a seafood plate and they were yummy. Later in the afternoon we walked towards the northern end of Chili beach and Mark and Thomas scrambled across several rocky outcrops towards Cape Weymouth to have a closer
Chili Beach - High tide
Note all the debris/rubbish
look at Restoration Island where Captain William Bligh and 18 loyal crew members landed in 1789 following the mutiny on the Bounty
. On the way back they saw a small group of Red-Capped Plovers
on the shore as well as another 'bird' taking a shower at the edge of the beach in her 'birthday suit'- Thomas had a large grin on his face (as did Mark)! Our camp area that second night was much quieter and we stoked up another camp fire that evening and had damper for dessert.
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