After a quick detour into Mackay for fuel. We paused at Sarina for a sugar mill tour. I was initially disappointed that it was a ‘mini-sized mill’, but this turned out to be more interesting as you can see the cane being crushed, concentrated, cleaned, processed and finally refined. The tour wraps up with samples of fairy floss for the boys and vodka, schnapps and rum samples for any willing grownups. I was interested to note that sugar and milk are prepared in a similar way, i.e. milk has all the fat removed then added back to form each product with different fat content. Sugar is similar, it is refined to white sugar before being converted back to raw and brown sugar by adding molasses – which is the first thing to be removed. Needless to say I passed on the rum at $200 a litre.
Next ‘third’ down the coast, and 100 kilometres from Mackay was a free camp at Carmila. Our friends the Lonergans had recommended this to us via a dedicated ‘Big Lap’ traveling page on Facebook. Kris found it on Wikicamps and we found it via our GPS without fuss – technology at work!
We picked a lovely spot between two shady trees and proceeded to spend the next two days relaxing, fishing, reading, playing on the beach with the boys (who moved on from building cities to clay mining), fishing, walking out across the impressively wide tidal flats (660m walk out to the low tide mark according to the phone’s GPS), oh and fishing.
Whilst I lost tackle to a monster bite within 10 minutes of my first cast, James won the day by catching three jewfish that we gave a good home on the coals. Sunday 6th September, being fathers day, meant more jobs – this time an oil change on the truck. No rest for the weary! One thing that really stood out were the incredible night skies. Billions of tiny potential dots of life on an inky black canvas.