Water, Water - Everywhere ...

And not a drop to drink. That was our experience, and the situation for thousands of others, after cyclone Jasper made its way over FNQ recently. In fact, it all turned into a bit of an extended drama, some of which continues even as I type this.

Due to having a bore, as opposed to town water, the moment the power goes out, (which it was always going to do) - we no longer have access to clean water. We have a water tank - but the water isn't potable, (safe to drink) - unless you don't mind a round of Russian roulette with legionaries disease, and God knows what else, that is.

Inevitably, the power/water shut off and the Phone/Internet service dropped out which meant we couldn't follow updates regarding road closures, cyclone activity or flooding ... listening to the battery powered radio proved futile as they were less than useless when it came to providing actual pertinent info - although if you needed to know the latest basketball score, they had ya covered - of course they bloody did eh?

Anyway - by the third day we decided to make a break for Jo's work - and remarkably our timing was perfect, the range was open, and we made it to sanctuary, (and power/clean water). At least for a time.

I helped out 'round the joint - clearing standing water, repairing sump pumps, and most memorably of all, collecting a large displaced common tree snake that had sought refuge in a corridor. He was a very chilled snake and I relocated him to, what I hope was, a safe area.

Eventually, even in the towns around the area - the water supply went down and is still prone to failure during moderate to heavy rain events.

Washed out bridge
Access to my favourite place is no longer possible

The cyclone, or more accurately the flooding brought about by the cyclone, caused a lot of serious damage to the infrastructure - major highways were all but destroyed, along with homes and business's. Not to mention the physical and mental toll on the local population - which brings me to the major point of this post.

Immediately after the cyclone had abated, but with the joint in a state of ruin, with severe shortages of everything, the Prime Minister arrived, (well, not here - he flew into the city). Anyway, he arrived and announced that if you'd made plans to visit FNQ, then by all means do so - everything's fine, bring the kids.

A crab sheltering in a door way
Even Crabs were trying to stay dry!

Now, I make it a point NOT to swear on this blog, but today I'm going to make an exception. Because when I heard he'd said that, and knowing there are still people who believe their politicians - I went off like a bucket of warm prawns.

The sheer fucking ignorance and irresponsibility he displayed was, and is, staggering.

As I said, the power was still out - the roads were/are buggered, most businesses were closed and people were getting water from trucks provided by the council. The last thing we needed, or wanted, was throngs of unprepared bloody tourists showing up with their air of entitlement and incessant demands.

But sure as night follows day, they came. And used up resources desperately needed by the local population. They drove - endangering themselves and other road users. On the whole, tourists are shit drivers anyway, but considering the conditions - it quickly became nerve wracking whenever we needed to go anywhere.

All bad enough, but what really enraged me was when I heard that hospitality staff, and others were/are, being abused by these arseholes.

The utter shitbags!

Here's an idea - if you choose to do a bit of disaster tourism with your family, that's on you. However, be aware that you're not helping the situation. Oh sure, corporate/political interests will tell you that your dollar is helping to get the place back on its feet - which is true, but only after we get off our knees.

If you turn up to an area in a state of emergency - don't expect your frothy, pumpkin-spiced, camel-semen laced, mochaccino to be waiting for you. In fact, don't expect flushing toilets, either. But most importantly of all - DO NOT expect any goddamned sympathy.

Aww, you're hot? - well, we're all fucking hot - cyclones and heat-waves go hand in hand. Nothing to do, because nothing is running or open? What part of national disaster didn't give you a clue as to what to expect?

Ya wanna yell at someone? Start with your booking agent and any dickhead politician that advised you to come, you might also consider taking a bit of personal responsibility for your own decision-making. Obviously that last one is a bit too much to ask for, but still ...

What I'm asking is simply this. Develop some bloody empathy. Try a bit of patience and practise some common bloody sense. Yeah, I know ... thought I'd mention it anyway.

Right, with that somewhat off my chest & as the saying goes - It's an ill wind etc ... I thought I'd do this post solely with phone pics that I snapped during and after the cyclone:

Flooded two-lane highway
Our Jo - doing an amazing job!

For reasons of animal welfare, we were forced to travel on this day and while I do have a very capable 4WD, built for just such circumstances, we had no other option but to take Jo's little Hyundai - which now has a new nickname - The Jet Ski!

Eventually, after dodging the aforementioned wreckless retards on holiday, after an hour and a half - we arrived at the vets - only to find not one, but two Hercules moths clinging to the wall. Presumably seeking shelter from the monsoonal rain.

Reportedly the world's largest Moth
The largest Hercules Moth ever recorded had a wingspan of 36cm

Coscinocera hercules, the Hercules moth, is a moth of the family Saturniidae, endemic to New Guinea and northern Australia.

Unfortunately, the pic does not provide any sense of scale - but trust me, they're huge moths.

There was yet another surprise waiting for us upon our return. Our very own resident carpet/jungle python had seemingly been driven out of her roost in the ceiling by the stifling heat and had taken up a position right above the front door to catch what breeze there was, and cool down. A most beautiful and welcome sight.

Python chilling out
She's either gravid or has had a good feed

I really should've used my DSLR to take this shot, but as I alluded to previously, at the time I was a bit knackered - and hey, you get the idea right?

Finally, it does pay to remember, at least for myself - that despite all the damage and inconvenience, no one was killed - thank God. Stuff can be rebuilt and replaced, people can't. There is also the reality that in the months leading up to the cyclone, the North was bone dry - with fire bans in place.

View of the Mareeba Flats/Wetlands
Positively Lush!

At our home the power was off for 9.5 days, the phone/internet for 11 days and the water was off for 10 days, (a bit of a story there - but it'll have to wait). A massive round of applause to everyone who have been, and are currently, involved in the cleanup and repairs. You're absolute legends, and we've been amazed at the Herculean efforts you have put in.

Also, before I sign off, I'd like to give a huge shout-out and a big thanks to the guys at Ramada, especially, but not limited to: Hani, Glen and his crew and, of course, Jo. You made the insufferable bearable, and as unlikely as it may seem - even fun at times. I'm grateful - thank you all.

Take Care - Paul.

Oh, and Happy Australia Day! - yes, that includes you tourists out there too

As I was about to publish this post - we had yet another power cut - so the fun continues, sigh ...


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