(written by Nancy)
It was actually a pretty quiet night in the onsite cabin and we both slept fairly well. We were up early this morning to make sure we were ready for the dolphin feeding. We ate breakfast in the cabin, packed up a bit and then headed down to the marina about 7:15.
There were already a few folks waiting at the water’s edge, together with two ranger-types that were supervising the interaction with the dolphins. There was one dolphin swimming placidly around in the water right at the edge, and two others just a short ways out. Apparently in the 1950’s a badly injured dolphin was saved by local fishermen who fed it regularly at this spot while it recovered from its injuries. It continued to come into the area, and eventually its offspring came along with it – now the offspring of the offspring – the original dolphin’s grandoffspring – comes into feed, together with his mate and their offspring. The male is called Mystique and is 20 years old and is the alpha male of a pod of approximately 8 dolphins. His mate is Patch and is about 25 years old, and the juvenile is called Harmony and is 5 years old. Only these three of the pod come in to be fed – another couple of the pod come in a bit but do not feed, and the others of the pod stay further out in the channel.
We stood in the water and the dolphins came up around us, blowing a bit from their blowhole and making little clicking noises. A couple of times they would swim out a bit and do some jumps, and then come back in and roll over slowly right in front of us. They have a fairly controlled feeding program, with a limited number of fish to feed the dolphins to ensure that they do not become dependent on these fish for a food source. We got to feed them two fish each – just held the fish under water and the dolphins took them from your hand. Apparently there has been a bit of controversy about feeding the dolphins, but it is very controlled and the story of how it was passed down through generations of the pod is kind of neat. Anyway, it was fun and made the trip to Tin Can Bay worth it.
The road back out of Tin Can Bay was a completely different experience this morning than it was coming in yesterday. No traffic today at all, which made a huge difference. The turn-off to Maryborough was about 13k back from the town proper, and was really the only turn we had to make all day until we got into the city of Maryborough 60k later! The scenery was pretty much the same the whole way – what was called a state forest but was really a pine plantation – miles and miles and miles of pine trees in various states of growth – all in straight rows. We didn’t stop much – but traffic was very light and the road was relatively straight with a slight tailwind so it was a pretty enjoyable ride. We did stop once to finish up our mandarins from yesterday and again later when we reached our first sugar cane field.
We made our way into the Maryborough city center and stopped to have lunch. We made another stop at the grocery store and called Rod, our host who we had met in Esk a week or so ago, to check on timing for our arrival. We made a quick stop at a grocery store and worked our way toward Rod’s house. Along the way we saw a couple of cyclists up ahead, and sure enough it was Rod and his son William out to give us a guided tour back to their house.
We had a great dinner and conversation with Rod, his wife Lisa, William and daughter Sarina and a bit of a frisbee game with the dog Toby. They have kindly invited us to join them tomorrow on a trip to Tuan for a Mother’s Day barbecue. The forecast is for nice weather so it should be a good day.
Happy Mother’s Day to Jan and Alice – sorry we can’t be there to share it with you but we are with you in spirit!