The sketchbook continues, Lava Tubes to Mission Beach

The Lava Tubes were not as I had expected – I thought they would be smaller and very smooth inside, but they are huge, maybe 30 metres in diameter and rocky, with silt floors, accumulated over millennia. In places the ‘roofs’ have collapsed leaving arches, and rainforest growing in the bottom. They were formed when lava oozed out of the volcano (I had no idea they ever did ooze, I assumed they always blew lava high in the sky) and the lava flowed down existing river beds. As the lava cooled a crust formed on the surface, but the lava kept flowing inside. When the volcano eventually stopped the lava simply flowed out, leaving tubes. An impressive experience to walk inside.

Heading north again we stopped in the beautiful but wet – constant drizzle – of the Atherton tablelands before going into Jowalbinna, near Laura. The objective here was aboriginal rock art, specifically Quinkans. We were taken on a walk to several different sites, scrambling up and down. The art was worth it, with hand prints in initiation sites and emus, dingos, jabirus and best of all massive kangaroos all along a deep overhang. There were guardian figures and small figures marking death ceremonies in a mortuary site. Some would have been made up to 30,000 years ago, and the most recent in the 1880s, when the aboriginal people were displaced by a wave of gold miners pouring into the area to seek their fortune.

From there to Cooktown, then turning south we took the road towards Cairns. The countryside is very beautiful, steep wooded hills, rich green rainforest. We decided to take the coastal 4wd road, which was beautiful, going deep into the Daintree rainforest, crossing rivers and winding sharply up the hills. In parts it was very narrow, and meeting trucks coming the other way on hairpin bends was an interesting experience, but we got through!

Mossman Gorge (beautiful), Cairns (buzzy, energetic city) and now a day off in Mission Beach, lovely long, sandy beach, the sea a deep blue and a few interesting odds and ends for me to collect on the beach!

I will include a picture here of me trying to draw encased in a fly net when I was in Innamincka. Thankfully the flies are well behind us now, just a few mosquitos and the odd green ant to do battle with!

A little postscript – if you happened to see my post about my miniature book in a box (see here) I was delighted to find I had won a prize for it at the Australian Society of Miniature Art Awards, for Most Imaginative Drawing.

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26 thoughts on “The sketchbook continues, Lava Tubes to Mission Beach

  1. Oh wow, so happy about the prize!! The flies creep me out … or are they huge ants. Either way… Your sketch books look incredible. I’ll have to come back to your post again later…just scanning at this second. But I’ll be back…

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  2. I’ve had time to read the post properly now. So they WERE flies. If they were huge ants they would have bitten you. Do you make a special time each day to attend to your sketchbooks? Are you starting to feel like you’d like to see your home again or are you perfectly content to keep travelling?

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    1. I’m very glad the flies are behind us I have to say! I was attacked by a leech the other day, but at least that is painless, and there are a few green ants here, but not really a problem at all. I can’t make special time for the sketchbook, there are some days when I don’t get near it at all, either we are travelling, or doing other things. I can write up the journal in the evenings but the light isn’t good enough for drawing, so I just take opportunities when I can! There was a time a week or so ago when I was very ready to come home, but I am over that now … Nevertheless, I will be glad to be home again, there are things I miss, however much I enjoy the travelling!

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  3. Anna, Congratulations on your award! That’s wonderful and well deserved.

    This post is amazing. I love every detail, it’s so crisp and rich and gives me such a clear sense of what you are seeing. Your handwriting adds to this like a biologists notes or a naturalist!

    Love seeing you too, in action, true devotion. Oh the flies! But so worth the effort.

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    1. Thank you so much – I was really happy to get the award! I’m glad you are enjoying the sketches, some are very rough but it all helps to keep the memories. I like doing the bits of research into odd and unusual plants too, it helps to put everything into context somehow.

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  4. Anna, Congratulations on your award! That’s wonderful and well deserved.

    This post is amazing. I love every detail, it’s so crisp and rich and gives me such a clear sense of what you are seeing. Your handwriting adds to this like a biologists notes or a naturalist!

    Love seeing you too, in action, true devotion. Oh the flies! But so worth the effort.

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  5. You are very dedicated Anna to work in such conditions ! Am so glad you had that picture taken though … seeing you with the feather ..drawing ..
    The lava tubes … I know … staggeringly HUGE … the thought of them filled with lava …..

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    1. Thanks so much Karen – awards exhibitions are always a bit of a lottery so this was a nice surprise. We are steadily heading south but still in the warmth of Townsville, but I know we will be heading into winter again soon!

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  6. Fantastic – thank you too for the last photo. Hmmm, what sacrifices we make! I like those leaves from near the crater – interesting shapes! Nice to photograph the book on the sand like that, in the sun – keeps ever thing so fresh.

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    1. Interesting shapes and textures are what I am constantly searching for, so I’m glad you like them too. As long as I could keep the flies off my face I could cope, but trying to draw peering through the flynet was a bit of a challenge!

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