Monkeying in the mangroves
28 November 10
The town of 1770 is noted more for its picturesque place in history than its mangroves, but that’s what charmed us about this special place in Queensland. Named for the year when Captain James Cook first landed on Australian soil, Seventeen-seventy consists of a shop, a pub, a boat ramp and a whole lot of holiday houses clambering up the hill to take advantage of the spectacular views.
Seventeen-seventy is one of the closest towns to the the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, and it attracts hordes of tourists who come to snorkel, dive, fish or swim in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Further north, the Great Barrier Reef hinders the ocean from forming the beautiful sandy beaches loved by surfers, and nearby Agnes Water boasts probably the best northern beach on the eastern coast of Australia.
We arrived late in the afternoon, just in time to climb the headland and enjoy the sunset.
Our first campsite was on the hillside on a vacant block of land (asking price $720,000!). I made David promise to encourage me to get up early so we could watch the sunrise over the ocean.
Because we had found some coconuts on the ground under a nearby tree, David and I became enthusiastic about harvesting the rest of the nuts from the tree.
After our unsuccessful coconut harvesting, we drove down to the town’s foreshore park and made ourselves comfortable. David and I enjoyed chilling in the morning while the girls played on the little playground.
The weather was quite variable during our stay. We didn’t mind because the girls are comfortable in their wetsuits, but the showers kept the the crowds away. We enjoyed sharing our electric barbecue with another vegetarian (a rarity), and we met a local family with 5.5 children who unschool and live a radical life with very few possessions. They’re convinced that Seventeen-seventy is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and so they’ve set up several semi-permanent camps in various location around the township as “home”.
In the afternoon, David took the older girls for a walk, and they ended up exploring the mangroves. With the tide coming in, the game was to stay out of the mud and out of the water, climbing only on the mangrove roots. While they were perched on the roots in deeper water, a bevy of oarsmen rowed their long canoe past them, startled to see three faces peering at them from between the leaves!
That night, we elected to stay parked where we were — in the centre of the tiny town. We walked up to the local pub and enjoyed a restaurant meal. The girls were having such a good time that they didn’t want to go to bed, and Brioni ended up convincing David to take her for a canoe-ride in the dark!
David and I laughed and laughed as we carried the canoe to the water. We knew how crazy it was, but Brioni was intent on the adventure and we didn’t want to spoil her positive spirit.
The ride ended up lasting only about five minutes before Brioni had enough and wanted to return to the warmth of the truck. So it was a lot of effort for a very short amount of time, but we know that our energy won’t be wasted because it will light within her a desire for more grand after-dark adventures in the future!
The next day we returned to the mangroves as a family. The kids liked searching for little sea-snails that climb up the trunks of the mangroves, and Calista mastered the art of root-climbing.
When it was time to go, the rain was setting in. We hadn’t explored the Great Barrier Reef for ourselves, and there are other fantastic national parks close by, so we know we’ll be back one day to continue our adventures in Seventeen-seventy again!