Today's the day I face one of my fears – an irrational dread of the Daintree River ferry. I don't quite know what I fear. Not the river, which would be reasonable, but the getting on and off. I think I'm remembering car ferries from fifty years ago, and a tenuous connection between land and water. As mostly with fears, it is a $24 piece of cake. Just a pity I can't get out of the monster to photograph.
My goal is the Rainforest Discovery Centre, winner of a UN environment award, and my certificate of excellence for information overload. A helpful staff member tells me that two American women put in an 8 hour day on ten consecutive days. By the end of a few hours, I can see that this is totally possible.
My first encounter is with three pythons in a glass case. The snake woman tells me the green one changed to her glorious clear spring-green self over a few days, not shedding, but greening slowly along her length. The diamond python is not much bigger than a sizeable worm: “not thriving” says my informant. I know what a thriving python looks like: our kitchen resident is thriving.
I carry a booklet with numbered stations, and headphones with ditto. If I press # after listening to informative commentary, I have an Aboriginal perspective in an Aboriginal voice. As I juggle all these sources, I'm somehow missing the delight of noticing for myself as I walk along the aerial walkway, and slowly rise through the canopy up the 23 metre canopy tower (which is, for your information, cyclone rated.)
However I do see a wompoo pigeon, maybe because it doesn't have a number attached. I watch it feasting on berries, and catch flashes of yellow and purple as it moves from tree to tree. It's oblivious to my presence. I also see plenty of green: leaves, ferns, vines, palms.
I head back across the ferry for a low-tide crocodile cruise (really to indulge my passion for mangroves) but I'm the only taker and it doesn't run. However I have a long conversation with the woman at the desk – who used to work for Eurobodalla Council.