By Larry and Joan Dolinski
Continued from update #44
o Contact the US Navy Department in Wash. D.C. (but who exactly ???).
o Contact the National Monuments Commission, Wash. D.C.
If any of you (our readers) have a name or contact to suggest, please e-mail it to us and we will pass it on to our new found acquaintances.
If they are still unsuccessful when we return home in January, we will try two other sources:
(1) Senator Kennedy
(2) A retired naval captain whom we befriended on our 1993 cross country bike trip who had served as Legal Counsel to then Secretary of the Navy John Connolly.
It would really please us if we could be of some help to these folks and their mission of gratitude.
[Crocodiles, Kangaroos, Kualas and Other Living Things]
From Cardwell we biked to Flying Fish Point. On the way we passed lots of sugar cane fields and banana plantations. The sugar cane was being harvested everywhere along the route. The harvested cane is cut up into small pieces and dumped into small railway cars (a narrow gage railway system meanders along and through the cane fields). The cane is then hauled to a sugar refinery where it takes seven tons of cane to produce one ton of refined sugar.
At Flying Fish Point we visited a crocodile farm and had the best time. We not only saw crocodiles "up close and personal", but also lots of friendly Kangaroos (some with babies sticking their heads out from their mother's pouches), Wollabees, and Emus (the third largest species of bird in the world).
The crocodile handler demonstrated how the crocks would not react to gentle motion in the water. But when he broke the surface tension by slapping the water with a rake, watch out! A crocodile suddenly leaped out from somewhere beneath the surface of the murky water with its jaws wide open and instantly snapped off a piece of the metal rake. The crocodile handler told us that these creatures can stay completely submerged for up to three hours during which time their heart rate declines to about three beats every two minutes. Before leaving the park we got to hold a baby crocodile (with its jaws banded shut). It felt really nice...not at all slimy.
[Cairns and The Great Barrier Reef]
Cairns is one of the great tropical resorts. The activities available are seemingly endless and include rain forest journeys (by foot, train, boat, car, or skyrail), tours of the Great Barrier Reef (inner reef or outer reef) by motor boat, sailboat, or plane; para sailing, sky diving, bungee jumping, hot air ballooning, snorkeling, scuba diving, glass bottom and semi submersible rides over the reefs, wild animal farms, aboriginal culture centers, etc.
We went on a rain forest tour to the village of Kuranda. Our trip there was on the Kuranda Scenic Train. The railway line is over 100 years old and was built for the mining industry (gold, tin, copper, tungsten). The carriages were built between 1910 and 1922. The air conditioning system is referred to as a 2/50 system (2 windows down and 50 km per hr). After enjoying the touristy but pleasant village of Kuranda we returned to Cairns by Skyrail. The Skyrail runs over 7.5 km of pristine rain forest in gondola cabins, just a few meters above the forest canopy and passes through two rain forest midstations where one can disembark and roam.
The rain forests of the world are home to half of the animal species that live on Earth. Many of them live only in the rain forest. In Australia, rain forest scientists have found:
58 Frog species, 64 Fish species, 110 Mammal species, 162 Reptile species, 327 Bird species and more than 40,000 insect species. (Would you believe that ants comprise 15% of all biomass?)
Continued on Update #46
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