I’m sitting here in Port Douglas feeling a very familiar feeling. Reluctance. Reluctance to tell the current story of our travels because I am well aware that so many friends and family are not in a position to even go out of their homes right now. I am a person who is very attached to community and to the wellbeing of the whole not the few so when it comes to writing about a life in which we are free to do as we please I get tongue tied. I feel reluctant to write which means I procrastinate and before I know it a month has passed and I have not written a word.
So I am going to challenge myself to do something a bit non-linear and out of character and that is to jump forward in our time line to the last few weeks and write about a few places I didn’t even know existed until recently.
My sister came for a 10 day visit and we did a bunch of touristy things. She got caught in the short Cairns lockdown and we waved her off from Cairns airport just as it lifted. We then headed back to Port Douglas and Rick then got down to the serious business of kiting and talking about kiting and making friends with other kiting obsessives.
One of these friends mentioned a place called Australian Kite Surfari that was tucked into a sand dune on a big, long beach between Cape Bedford and Cape Flattery. This place is unique for a few reasons. Firstly, it is smack bang in the middle of Hope Vale Aboriginal Community’s ancestral lands. The owner is a white guy but has strong relationships with the elders of the tribe and is there under the umbrella of their good will. He is a really interesting guy with a myriad of stories. The second unique thing is that it blows nearly every day for about 8 months of the year which instantly makes it a Mecca for Kiting lovers. The third unusual thing is that the accommodation is made from a series of plastic water tanks terraced up the sand dune making them better able to withstand cyclones, perhaps because they are circular with no sharp angles or joins.
So, we decided to visit for a few nights and due to lockdowns down south we were able to get a tank called Santorini for 3 nights. The irony of the name was not lost on me as right about now in another universe we would be within a day sail of the actual Santorini
We packed in all our food, minus alcohol as it was restricted in Hope Vale and all the gear we needed for an off-grid time out.
And, you know, it was really good to be away from the news and the ongoing series of tragedies that are dominating our world right now. I didn’t appreciate being disconnected from family, however, but the very occasional message made its way through as some satellite or other passed over in the early hours after midnight which helped me relax about the Airbnb I run as well as the wellbeing of the family.
It was wild, wild country that was free from 4WD’s apart from the occasional mob of locals yahooing as they went past along the beach in their Toyotas. The rescue dogs would bark, Ant, the owner would yell at them and then all was quiet once again. The days fell into a rhythm of kiting and eating and resting for one half of this partnership. The other half read in the hammock, did some yoga and walked the beach. In the evenings we connected with a bunch of mad crazy kiters, all with interesting stories to tell and left with some new friends.
A few nights in Cooktown for a bit of a rest for Rick then it was off to Archer Point, another favoured kiting spot. We camped in a rock hard, prickle infested, dusty camp spot but spent the days at the pristine beach. The local council are trying to undo the damage unrestricted camping has caused over the past in this beautiful place and have closed off all of the prior camping spots to fence and revegetate the dunes. They have probably picked the most inhospitable spot for a tiny camp area on what was once a storage facility for sorghum being shipped from the Archer Point Jetty which is now a ruined pile of teeth like timbers poking up out of the azure water. Rick kited over what he called the stingray nursery, coral bommies and around mangrove covered islets. The water was crystal clear and a perfect arc of the beach was out of the wind and shaded by coconut palms for those watching the show. In all it was pretty great and apart from an early morning hike up to the lighthouse where I could get a trickle of phone reception it was also off grid.
We both appreciated the down shift that comes with time spent purely in nature or around a fire with a glass of wine, sharing good company. As the sunlight slid softly over the hill and gave way to a sky full of stars we sent our best out into the world, never forgetting that this is a dream beyond many right now for all sorts of reasons.