Two things quickly became obvious on our last full day in Wonga Beach. Firstly, we need to avoid Sunday markets like they’re flooded causeways because you don’t know how big the money pit under the dreamy casual surface is until you step in, and secondly, the mental image I carry about of how I look to others is conspiratorial in its departure from reality. Having watched myself in the video below I now suspect there will be websites and it will be spoken about in the same breath as JFK’s assassination and the moon landing.

But those two startling revelations aside, yesterday was fantastic, thanks to Uncle Darryl.

Daz had been pushing the idea of taking the kids fishing for a number of days, something I’ve decided to do on many occasions in the past but never quite managed to push beyond the initial ‘I’ve got a great idea’ stage.

At the other end of the road to his family’s holiday park is a fish farm called Hook-a-Barra.

“I’ll take you kids up,” he said, looking for expressions of interest. “Who wants to go?”

Initially, nobody. We don’t fish.

But by the time we were loading the kids into the car to drive the two hundred meters to the facility’s entrance we had a full set of munchkins. Not, I suspect, because they were keen to fish, but simply because none of them wants to be left out.

Within minutes of throwing lines in it became obvious where our skill set lay in terms of fish.

“You caught sushi!” screamed Miss7 encouragingly when her brother pulled out the first barra of the day.

“Let’s get a photo on you holding it,” Sheena, the soon to be overworked staff member assigned to help us, said to him.

That wasn’t going to happen. With any of our kids.

Which Sheena found hilarious but I totally understand. I don’t touch live fish either. As a young kid I went fishing almost every weekend in the canals of Mermaid Waters and still managed to not touch a live fish. I’d simply cut it off and put another hook on so I could throw another line in while it died.

Actually, I think Sheena was there to help everyone around the big damn, but all the other people seemed to know how to do the basics, like cast and not be terrified when they caught something.

As you’ll see in the video below, some of the kids, lead by Miss4, did eventually touch them.

“She’s not brave,” Master11 corrected me when I threw out a bit of burley-like-praise, hoping it might attract some of the other kids to follow suit. “She just doesn’t know any better.”

One hour later and our time was up. Incredibly, the kids had managed to pull in well over a dozen plate-worthy barramundi (maybe 20?) and, perhaps most impressively, somehow I’d managed not to fall in the water.

Of course, they can never go proper fishing now. Not only will they be confused by how small most fish on hooks are, they’ll expect to catch something every five or six casts.

Fortunately, they’re not interested in finding a quiet river bank or hiring a boat.

“I want to go to every fish farm in Australia,” Master11 insisted as we drove back to our bus. “That was fantastic!”

I confess I went into the facility without much by way of expectations but it really, genuinely was.

Although I still prefer my fish delivered on a model train than a hook.

Home movie time. Try not to stare at my old looking ass. I really struggled with that.

Pulled up stumps and drove the bus into Port Douglas for breakfast and to visit the markets. And, although it wasn’t mentioned when we were tossing the idea around, to buy junk jewellery.
…and bags…
…and more junk jewellery.
My new laptop bag. I was going to buy the purple one, but I didn’t think I’m wearing enough hemp yet to pull it off. Maybe towards the end of our lap.
Our favourite shop. So bright and wonderful with handcrafts from latin America.
“Hold my hat.” Not my hat. Not my problem.
My sister, Kerri, has been filling our bus with so much shit since we arrived here. Giving the kids stickers and fake snow and bubblegum and plastic crap. So I decided to find her something ‘special’ as a ‘thank you’ at the markets which the kids will insist she keep by her bedside and send them weekly ‘proof of ownership’ photos. I kept sending her photos to scare her.

This was my favourite idea, but they didn’t have a cockroach.

Soooooo tempting.
Ultimately bought her a couple of amusing coffee mugs. You might think I chickened out but whenever I picture these sitting amongst her bone china and crystal it makes me chuckle.

New fans which spray water.
New dresses for the girls.

How she didn’t end up with tangles is something physicists need to study.

His father’s son.

Also not my hat.

Miss9 does fishing as a martial art.

Sheena was fun. Kids loved her.

Miss4 touched a fish. She’s a bit happy with herself.

Touched a fish. Didn’t die.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

This was not a sponsored post.

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