Home of the Great Barrier Reef
Port Douglas is gorgeous! I suppose it helps that the climate is similar to
Houston's: warm and wet.
One of the reasons we went to Port Douglas was the fact that one of Scott's
great-Uncles was stationed, and died, here during World War II. We wanted to see if we could find any
information, any pictures or anything else about him. So, since we didn't know where we'd end up, we had to
rent a car. This was one of the things that Scott really had not wanted to do on the trip, but there was no
The car was delivered to the hotel and off we went. The folks at the hotel had told
us it would take a couple of hours to get where we were going, but I think they were just trying to keep us at the
hotel to spend money there. It took just a little over an hour to get to the Beck Collection. It probably would
have taken less time, if Scott was used to driving on the opposite side of the road! (A few weeks after we arrived
back home, the speeding ticket you see arrived in the mail. Fortunately, the picture and other information are for
a car that we did not rent. Our car was a maroon Holden. Also, we did not arrive in Cairns until about the 12th of
March and the picture was taken on the 9th. The rental car company sent the police the wrong information!)
The Beck family has an impessive private collection of all sorts of military
hardware, and an impressive knowledge of the local area. They didn't know anything directly about Dean
"Pinky" Hoevet, but a couple of the books they had had a few bits of information. We did find out where
the B-17 that Dean was piloting is rumored to have gone down: Yorkey's Knob.
Leaving Mareeba, we went on down to Atherton, through Cairns and back to Port Douglas,
stopping at Yorkey's Knob along the way. We made a complete circle on our little day trip, seeing some spectacular
views (Kim got to see them all, Scott was driving and got to see just a view).
Dean's plane is somewhere out there
Thursday was set aside for a trip out on one of the Quicksilver boats. These boats
take tourists out to a pontoon set up on the Great Barrier Reef where they can snorkel, swim, scuba dive and just
plain lounge around on the gorgeous blue water. The day started out horribly, weather-wise. It was windy and rainy
and the seas were a little choppy. We hadn't planned on doing anything but snorkeling when we had scheduled the trip.
Kim, however, managed to play off of Scott's bad experience the last time they went snorkeling and convinced him that
scuba diving would be much more pleasant.
The crew on the Quicksilver is able to accommodate first time divers with what they
call introductory dives. They teach you how to do everything you need to do to survive on a well-supervised dive.
You don't get certified on the introductory dive, but you do get to have a good time. In fact, when we got out of the
water, they said they had a couple of slots open in the afternoon dive. We signed right up!
Friday, our last full day in Australia, we spent in Port Douglas shopping. We also
visited with a guy who likes to find shipwrecks. When we told him about the supposed location of Dean's plane, he
rushed right back out to the hangout for the local fishermen ( he'd just come from there ) to see if they knew of
a wreck site out near Yorkey's Knob.
Last Picture - Sydney Airport
Next stop, home!