Saturday dissolved in a metal blur but am pleased to report that all 24 of Pelican's staunchons (spelling?), along with her two pulpits and two pushpits, now gleam most brilliantly. I got very tasky and 'in the zone' with my iPod on. We were treated to fireworks from the boat that night, over beers and tofu burgers, rustled up by first mate. As the Cairns Festival is on, I'm pretty sure the fireworks were real and not just a figment of my jubiliation at reaching a very important milestone in the steel-polishing project.
A well-earned day off yesterday... after a visit to Rusty's markets in the early hours, first mate and I took off with FM's rainforest guru friend on a very intense bushwalk. I was warned there'd be "lots of botanising" and they weren't wrong. 'Twas like being in my own private episode of Totally Wild, tagging along with two plant nuts. I became ship's unofficial orchid photographer for the day. The 12km walk - to the summit of Kahlpahlim Rock in Davies Creek National Park - was mostly conducted at a 45 degree angle. Hard going but great. After the walk we stopped at the creek, an amazing spot with a white-and-gunmetal rock floor, white sand, waterfalls and the most stunning orange grevillea with charcoal branches. Beers at the Kuranda pub and sushi back in Cairns topped off a great day.
Things should start ramping up this week as our departure date (Friday) looms. Two more crew arrive tomorrow and skip is coming back aboard today. Have just seen the itinerary for Hopevale and am a little daunted by the scale of planned proceedings and traffic through the boat (which, along with FM, I've had the run of for the past week). We do a five day sail up to Cape Flattery, where the community will set up a beach camp. There'll be fishing, snorkelling, hunting, turtle tagging, day sailing to reefs/islands and community development/healing activities. There's also the Hopevale Rodeo and Hula Festival which we might get to see. We've got an indigenous woman joining us who has experience in digital storytelling which sounds v interesting. There is some media interest - Australian Story were keen but pulled out; Message Stick and Four Corners may do something. So keep an ear out for Pelican on the ABC.
Oh... am onboard for the Cardwell gig - an Indigenous Land and Sea Management conference after Hopevale. It's only for a few days though.