Rah and I rise early and – hungry and eager to test the new setup – we head for the bridge to try our luck fishing. My casts are rusty at best, though I manage to get a bit of distance and it isn’t long before I feel a tug on the line!
My memories of fishing off the V-wall back at home are somewhat blurred, though I know that whatever is on the other end of my line isn’t a fish. It’s heavy under the reel and doesn’t appear to be struggling – not dissimilar to pulling in a massive clump of seaweed.
After what feels like an eternity, we catch a glimpse of it; blue in colour and no bigger than thirty centimetres long. I give it one last yank – just for good luck – and out pops a huge crab! It shoots 4 feet out of the water and then back in again as the line goes slack! I drag it over to the sand bank at the foot of the rock wall and do my best to sedate the angry Blue Swimmer Crab.
Without getting too close, I size it up against the largest cooking pot we have, and quickly realise that there isn’t a chance in the world that it’ll fit in. We reluctantly let the thought of tender crab for breakfast dissolve away and set it free to live another day.
A few more casts without so much as a bite and we call it, walking back to camp empty-handed. We pack the motorbikes and then head into Cairns where we pull up a seat at Coffee Bean and wait for our coffees and Dave – an old friend of Rah’s – to arrive.
We spot him from a hundred metres; barefoot, bald and grinning his way through the dreary Monday morning crowds. Rah introduces everyone and the conversation spills out as the coffee enters our bloodstreams.
Shortly after coffee Rah and Dave set-off on-foot for The Lilypad Café, while Brogan and I jump on the motorbikes and ride to meet them. Dave shouts us all lunch, a fresh juice and then desert – each meal so large that a single serve alone could feed all four of us!
We all head back to Dave’s place where he pours espressos and the conversation continues to flow – albeit quite a lot faster than pre-espresso. We make good use of Dave’s washing machine and charge all of our electronic gadgets before repacking the motorbikes and heading back out to Machans Beach before dark.
Rah and I decide to burn some time; casting off the bridge in the hope of a fish for dinner. Much to our surprise we end up reeling in yet another large crab – this time brown in colour and equally as long. We send it on its way and pack up for the afternoon.
Brogan uses the afternoon a little more productively; making a fire and boiling up some water for a cup of tea. Lunch sits heavy and forces us into submission as we round the intoxicating fire and exchange stories – unable to shift our gaze from the flickering warmth in front of us.
As the flames turn into glowing coals and then into ashes, we retreat for the night and chat quietly until we fall asleep.