Sailing around the World ( Presently in Cairns, Australia. )

SATURDAY   14th  AUGUST   2010
 
06.00hrs,, All up and about, as we are off to " Kuranda" for the day,  we are like school children off to the zoo.
07.10hrs   We trooped up to the  - Shangri-La  - Hotel to catch our coach to the train that will take us up through the mountains
to this old village which was part of the rail system to the mining area of Queensland back in the 1880's
 
The railway was built mainly with Irish and Italian sweat and blood, plus a few chineese and aisian workers for good measure,
Only about 40 died during the construction of this facinating project which took 5 years to complete.
( Skipper and Aileen, were here 9 years ago, so it will be interesting to see what has changed )
An amazing thing, the last time we were there, we met Mary O Loughlin from Dublin walking down the street.. small world.
Mary sailed mirrors with our kids.........  God , thinking back, they were great days and we had great fun,
THE MIRROR CIRCUIT...
 
We arrived at the railway station about 09.30hrs, and boarded the 14 carraige train , which was hauled along by two large diesel locamotives,
The train wound its way up the side of the Mountain , through the rain forrests, over the gourges and valleys, through the tunnels, and around
 tight bends like you never saw in your life,  the steel wheels screeching on the iron tracks as she forced her way around the corners,, magic stuff.
 
We stopped on the way up for some photo's and take in the views, as we looked out over Port Douglas and Cairns,
We eventuall arrived at  - Kuranda -and made our way up to the town,  It was still a very picture, just as we remembered it from before.
We all did a bit of retail therapy, ( mostly stuff for the kids, shit !, I mean adults, and the granchildren )
The weather was great,,  clear blue skies, and very little wind, and a lovely 23 degrees, dry . no humidity.
 
We eventually made our way to the " Butterfly Farm "   now , this was something else,, The total area of the farm was 6 hectares,
and the enclosure with all the Butterflies was about the size of a soccer pitch, and attached at one end was the laboratory where
they bred the beautifull insects..  Our guide ( Sue ) gave a fantastic presentation of how these butterflies mate, breed, how long they live,
( depending on the type ) and what they eat when they are catterpillers ( 25,000 times their weight ) the equivalent of a forest,
can you credit that !  
We  saw millions of Ulysses Butterflies when we were in " Scawfell Island ", and guess what,, grab this :-  when they mate, the female hooks onto the male and feeds him a drug through her sex organs and knocks him out, and then she controls the show for the next 14 hours,  WOW,
whataway to go !
 
Sue had lots and lots of these types of stories, and the enclosure had about 3000 Butterflies fluttering about the plants, and trees,
with little trays of nector here and there , which they fed on regularly,, The average life span of the butterflies in the farm was a few months,
 
Later, we went to the Koala bear place next door,,  where they had snakes, kangaroo's,  wombats, and lots of other creatures,
We had to have our photo's taken with the Koala's and of course Niall had to get a snake around his neck for his photo'
 
14.30hrs, we made our way back to the train Station, having really enjoyed Kuranda , but we only saw a fraction of what was on offer.
Our way back was on the  - Sky Train -  This is basically a cable car system, and is the longest cable car in the World,
It runs all across the the canopy of the rain forest , down dales , aver vallies, up mountains, and eventually back to Port Douglas.
This had two stops, where the passengers could get off and have a guided tour around the floor ot the forest,
It was all facinating stuff for us, and we really soaked up the whole experience.
 
17.00hrs  We eventually arrived back to base in Cairns, Mary and niall went to the boat, while Skipper escorted Aileen to seek out the
RC Cathedral, We eventually arrived and it was a 1960's structure, ( Ugly ) but had the most amazing stained glass windows,
The church was built in remberance of those Australians who lost their lives in the 2nd World War.
Mass was celebrated by Bishop Foley,,, ( sounds Irish )  but we did not get a chance to interview him after Mass finished , as he made the
fastest exit we ever saw anywhere,
 
Later, we met up with Niall & Mary again and had an " Indian " meal ,, ohhhhhh, plenty hot man.  ................ rings of fire tomorrow.
We enjoyed that too, and then walked back through the park, which was heaving with the concert still in full swing, to the Marina complex,
where we had a night cap and reflected on the wonderfull day we just had......
 
 
Then back to the boat,, checked the emails, and hit the scratchers,    ZZZZZZZZZZZZ    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz   Z z
 
Thats it  for now,
 
Signed :- Stephen Hyde    ( Skipper )