Day 83, Friday, 10.04.2009

14.09 144.15 Flinders Island. 55km 7am  to 4:30 pm. Can you believe I lost my camera sliding simply off the  extension cable? Enjoying  freshwater here!

(Note from Chris Cunningham: Freya has a back-up camera, so she will still be able to take photos. Beyond Cairns (April 4) Freya has come to a less populated stretch of coast where she will not often have access to the internet to post blog entries and photos.)


Flinder’s today, with a rainwater tank for a nice shower and filling up my fresh water bags!!!


I was heading towards Cape Melville, with it’s HUGE granite boulders a really spectacular cape! It looked like a giant played marbles and left them piled up in what way ever…




There was a pile of rocks at Cape Melville where someone marked a freshwater spring with huge white letters “WATER HERE”, but as Flinders Island was close, I didn’t stop. 




I pulled out my camera from under the deck net to take a picture of the lovely peaked Hales Island, and then it happened…my camera came off the in Cairns newly bough extension hook and slipped off my hand into the water…shit!!!!!

It was less about the value of the lost camera which could be replaced than about all the lost pictures from Cairns to here!!! I should have downloaded them already every night…but I was too tired…my cussing at myself was heard miles over the sea, I reckoned.

But then I thought what are 5 days without pictures in a year’s trip…can’t show them all on a slideshow anyway. I may be able to “borrow” some pics from guys who have camped on the islands before…we’ll see.


It was actually a quite shallow sandy spot between Hales Island and the mainland, so in a flash I pressed the “COB” button on my GPS (“camera over board”) and marked the spot.  I wouldn’t jump in there on my own with no diving or snorkling gear, but I reckoned a well equipped diver has a good chance to find it there! Position S14°11.116’ E144°32.212’, an Olympus 1030 in a red neoprene case…whoever passes there with diving gear may please have a look! Reward offered!


I was landing quickly on a nice sandy beach and checked in with Dave Glasheen on Restoration Island via sat-phone if he knew a boat being out there, but he could only advise me on checking with the prawn trawlers, they may have diving gear on board…


Actually, just that minute I saw a whatever smallish boat in the not too far distance passing and tried if my handheld VHF could reach it…but no response.


Paddling around the tip of Cape Melville, there was really a prawn trawler anchoring behind Boulder Rock, and I guessed give it another try via VHF…I noticed they could hear me but the response was just just swooshing sounds…so I paddled up to the trawler and was a bit embarrassed to realize I shouldn’t have called them at lunchtime…prawn trawlers work at night and sleep over the day…so I was a bit feeling guilty coming up to the boat and hoping someone would come out.



There was eventually a sleepy guy coming on deck then, and I pulled up to the stern lee for a chat. He was not too unfriendly seeing a nice lady in a kayak a “midnight”, but couldn’t help me either. We chatted for a while, and I let him go back to sleep later…


I headed over to Flinders in a long crossing of Bathurst Bay, and eventually could pull into the quiet gap of Owen’s Channel between Flinders and Stanley Island.        


The campsite was easy to spot from the water, and I had to paddle over a reef at low tide into muddy shallow water in a wide bay…a place I would have never approached on my own without knowing the campsite behind it!  The small beach was blocked on top with rocks, so I checked a bit to the right and found a narrow gap better to access through low mangroves…obviously the pull-up spot for lonely kayakers…no crocs, but scary anyway! 




I had to walk across knee-high grass to the concrete platform with a wide roof feeding the two big rainwater tanks – the grass stuck to my neoprene socks and shorts, and there were snake trails again…but a bit of civilisation was tempting!


I made the walk through the grass twice, as I was first not sure where to camp, but the concrete platform was so inviting clean with plenty of water, that there was no doubt where to camp – right under the shelter on the concrete!



I enjoyed a long warm shower, and washed a bit of gear. The picnic table was a nice change as well, although I had to cook inside the wind shelter of my tent. But I came out to sit and eat on the table again…it was just a beautiful night. No surf waves to be heard…but the banging toilet door made me using my earplugs again anyway.


Picnic tables in the wilderness are always nice, but they are usually the home of quite some spiders as well…



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