Australia part 4 ● The North East
I left Queensland after climbing Mount Tambourine. If it does not rain, from there you have breathtaking views of Brisbane. I said goodbye to Madame F and her welcoming family, and backpacking I headed up to Cairns, the Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest Park. During my last four Aussie days, I could visit two UNESCO heritage sites. Not bad for the end of this adventure. The Great Barrier Reef, the legendary Reef is a chasm over which I felt I was free falling. During the trip to the water’s edge on Green Island, I photographed some fish, monsters, animals of which I am ignorant, and whose scientific name I have now forgotten. Their images, however, are still deep within my heart and helped me not to let life slip through my hands. For some of these creatures, though, I can still give a definition: I met a small and think shark; some fish that I chose to call “syringe fish” because they looked like medical devices; and thousands of anemones. It was a carnival. It was a joy. No body weight. No thoughts.
Then, I went up to Cairns where two great things happened:
1. I was invited to a “barbie”, i.e. to a barbecue where I tasted crocodile and kangaroo probably for the first and only time in my life;
2. I participated in a didgeridoo competition. The prize was a half-day’s horse ride in the countryside. I do not think I have ever felt so awkward in my entire life. Nevertheless, I arrived second (alas!).
On my second last day in Australia, I left Cairns at 5am for a journey within a journey. I travelled nearly 200km to visit Daintree and Cape Tribulation Parks. I saw mangroves. I bathed in a gentle rain while I wandered through the Daintree Forest. Around me, 10-metre-tall ferns. After nearly 4 years later, it is very hard to describe the simplicity of that nature, the beauty line. Then – I saw them: crocodiles. Free, along the river. Two adults, as thick as tree trunks, and a baby crocodile as big as my hand. I was not scared while I was watching from the boat. I was in awe of these enormous beings that have been plying the Earth for many thousands of years.
It was then time to leave Australia and to go back to our shrinking Europe. I felt so full of life. My memories of that journey down under fade throughout the years but stayed on in my photos. Life goes on. The journey goes on.
“See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.