Kyrsten’s birthday

We loved our time at Daintree Wild Zoo, but we loved it even more when it was time to leave.  We left on Kyrsten’s birthday morning.  Well, day one of her birthday since, due to time changes, she had a birthday in Australia and a birthday the next day–in American time.

Lovely tropical flowers graced her breakfast table and a little stuffed wombat named after Wish, the real resident version thanks to our zoo proprietress. 

And off we went.  Hoping desperately that our next location even further north had its own bathroom!

If we thought we were in the thick of it before, we had another thing coming! As we left our zoo we crossed a croc-infested Daintree river via car ferry and entered the Cape Tribulation area.  This area was so named by explorer Captain James Cook as he quickly and effectively beached his boat on the Great Barrier Reef and soon lost men that he sent ashore to scout the jungle to unknown scariness.

This spot is known to have 62 cassowaries roaming about.  They are giant birds with bright blue and black plumage that are so precious to the area that there are speed bumps every 50-75 meters to avoid hitting them.

We were very excited to have a rare sighting of two cassowaries one day as we drove down the speed bump road.   

This area is so remote there is no cell phone service.  So I learned upon check-in at our quaint, beautifully appointed cabin in the middle of nowhere.
(This picture is what the inside looked like only it also had two twin beds in the same room.  Australian hotels really accommodate families!)
No cell service meant I couldn’t get my daily phone call in to my Addie.  She was fifteen hours behind us so every day, mid-morning, I would call her and tell her goodnight.  I don’t have words for how devastated I felt when I thought I couldn’t hear her voice for several days.

I sat in this stunning, open-air restaurant overlooking a creek that led to two swimming holes and cried and cried.  My husband knows me so we went out looking for a signal.  Would you believe that we found two bars five minutes away on the beach?
So every morning we would get up and while Christian would use the lodge wifi at the restaurant to work, the rest of us would get cleaned up and ready to go to the tropical beach to talk to Addie.  That’s how God takes care of me.  It’s the little things!
We ate lunch at a strange little restaurant and followed it up with organic, biodynamic ice cream.  Whatever the heck that is.  It was yummy and that is what we cared about.
From there we drove to a beach that a shopkeeper in Port Douglas had told us about called Cow Bay.  He said that if we hiked ten or fifteen minutes on the rocks along the beach we would come to a secluded bay.  Well, we hiked for close to an hour, treasure hunting for coral, crabs and shells in the tide pools along the way and all of a sudden we noticed the tide rising!  We all decided it would be best to save the rest of that journey for a day that we could get an earlier start. 
On the drive home we stopped at the home of some new friends of ours, Russell and Theresa who grow their own vanilla beans and sell them worldwide.  These are not your average beans! We learned all about the tedious process of harvesting one’s own vanilla.
To sum up a 45 minute lesson, vanilla beans are like orchids.  They bloom for a few hours and during that time they need to be pollinated.  These folks pollinate each blossom by hand with a toothpick.  However many hours it takes for the blossom to fall off determines the size if the bean that will grow over the next nine months. Then the beans go through a tedious drying process.  Most people around the world rush the process and get brittle vanilla beans that are a far inferior product. These beans are flexible and aromatic (and pricey), and I can hardly wait to try some of the recipes I learned about!
Our new friends recommended a restaurant to us called Lync-Haven.   Another open-air, lantern-lit gem of a place that like all other restaurants seems to be family owned and operated.  Orders are placed at the counter and then you wait for your food to be delivered to your table.
Or, if you aren’t ready to sit, you can wander through the restaurant and view the pythons and parrots and all manner of creatures in cages inside and out.
Every night as the sun sets, a little creature or two come running under all the tables scrounging for scraps.  We never did figure out exactly what they were–bandicoots, perhaps? Funny little fellas.  And as always, the resident bats flew overhead.
And tonight, we celebrated Kyrsten’s birthday at the restaurant with some chocolate cake lit up by candles we found at the petrol station and a birthday song.
Back to our cabin for some more euchre and our typical 9:00 bedtime.  Either we hadn’t ever recovered from the time change, or all of our activity had us pooped plenty early.
Plus, the next day we knew we had to have a mighty early start for a once-in-a-lifetime event…


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