Beautiful one day, perfect the next….another cracking day dawns at Wonga, Christmas Day. I have to say that the dawn chorus here is more raucous than chorus with incredibly loud repetitive shrieks, squawks, haunting whistles, cackles, hoots and coos….and then the insects get going as the heat and humidity rise, the noise getting louder and louder until it suddenly stops, before starting over again and building to another deafening crescendo. It’s a primeval cacophony that’s almost otherworldly… and then I read that the Daintree Rainforest was the inspiration for the world of Pandora in James Cameron’s Avatar!
What nicer way to start Christmas Day than with a walk along the beach at sunrise. Wonga is 10.5km long and I reckon we’re pretty much in the middle. If you turn left you head towards the Daintree River mouth, which we’ve yet to do, where you may well encounter a croc or three as the Daintree River is a known hang. No, for us the safer option is to turn right and head towards Rocky Point, where the Daintree Rainforest tumbles down to meet the reef – in some spots actually hanging over the water. The Coral Sea is typically as flat and still as a mill pond, with hardly a ripple, just the occasional jumping fish and an elegant Egret, frozen still, eyeing off the shallow waters.
Just off the coast of Wonga Beach and pretty much facing the mouth of the Daintree River is Snapper Island, part of the Hope Islands National Park, the traditional sea country of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people who still fish here. According to our local friends the island has many crocs, so they tend to keep clear, plus the sea around these parts is off limits at this time of the year with marine stingers such as the deadly Box Jellyfish and the infamous Irukandji.
I think I’ll stick to the pool.