Ellis caravan park is beautifully ablutioned right on a golden crescent of sand skirted with palms. In winter King Oscar would have been lost in admiration of the snug fit of travelling homes.
A couple of days earlier over a civilised lunch at Port Douglas we had said a fond goodbye to our Cape York travelling companions, Heather, Ross and Troopy Trailer, and readied ourselves for a rendezvous for our Savannah Way party.
Our US friends Ed and Rita were flying in from San Diego and hiring a 4WD motorhome at the excruciating prices Australians charge for such vehicles. Tony’s sister Barb and her husband Phil drove up from Maryborough with their rooftop camper and everything including the kitchen sink under that.
We introduced Isabel Isuzu to Narelle Nissan and about the time Ed and Rita were boarding their first flight we were indulging in the famed Sunday afternoon $1 oysters at Ellis Beach (above - Barb is behind the lens). About the time they were taking off from San Francisco we had a dozen oysters and a couple of coldies each under our belt and Barb and I were in the surf looking at each other in dismay.
The wee waves of Ellis are deceptively strong. We should have figured that out from the murkiness of churned-up sand in the water. I tumbled under. Barb was so amused she didn’t see the next one and went under herself, surfacing minus her prescription sunnies. We cast around but it would have been easier to find a hula dancer in the Antarctic.
Five minutes later we were astonished when Barb almost tumbled under again, put her hand down and came up with her sunnies. Phil wandered up the beach with his fishing line, absorbed the news and asked Barb if she could go and flounder around further down the beach to see if she could come up with the lure he lost.
We mulled over our schedule for the trip because Barb had been sent an email from two sources announcing that Mars would be close to Earth in about 10 days and would appear enormously big, almost as big as the Moon, in the night sky. We thought it would be great to see that one-in-two-thousand year event in a clear outback sky.
We wondered why daughters Amber and Tasmin, who took a great interest in heavenly activity, had not notified us of this event. Tony texted them but had no response.
As Ed and Rita landed in Guam, we had sundowners on the beach and took bets on which wave would be the last big one before the tide turned. We convinced ourselves it was important to keep an eye on the tide to make sure it did turn. We wrenched ourselves away from the engrossing task long enough to call home. Tony asked Tasmin about Mars.
“Dad,” she said in the patient, condescending tone he used to explain facts to his children. She also used his words. “Just think about it for 10 seconds.” If Mars was that big in the sky the tides and gravity would be so upset Earth would wobble and probably shoot past Neptune.
“It’s a hoax. It does the rounds every couple of years.”
We thought about it and as Ed and Rita headed to Cairns we decided not to include the August Mars event in our Savannah schedule. The tide turned.