I dug my toes into the fluffy white sand, pushing them below the sun-hot surface and thought about which direction to go. Turning left would take us along the beach to one end of Fraser Island, while turning right would take us inland through forests of Satinay, Kauri Pine, Brush Box, Tallowood, Blackbutt and Cypress and away from the Great Sandy Strait and its ever-changing sand bars.
Typically ocean views win for us—but we’ve already sailed through these waters, which seem murky after the open ocean. And anyway, I wanted to see a dingo.
Cheryl was gentle with me when she explained that dingoes are shy, wild, and likely asleep during midday heat. But I’m hard to dissuade when I’m on a mission. And I felt quite vindicated when three minutes into our walk we spotted a dingo.
|Typical Fraser Island beach|
The dingo is Australia’s infamous wild dog. It’s thought to have arrived on the island-continent from Asia thousands of years ago. A close relative of the Asian gray wolf, Canis lupus, the dingo is a more primitive version of the domestic dog. Cross-breeding and extermination efforts have gradually threatened the dingo though, and the wild dogs that live on Fraser Island are considered some of the purest examples of the breed in Australia.
The dingo watched us quietly, and flustered and excited I tried to take its picture (which is not nearly as sharp as I’d like…). Then we plunged deeper into the forest. Strolling along both Cheryl and Steve pointed out trees and bushes to us. A few times Steve inhaled deeply and remarked on how all the mingled scents—eucalyptus, sunshine, and sand were finally making it clear he was home.
Seeing a place with people who love it is always an honour—and as we walked and talked, and Steve breathed in and smiled I couldn’t help but think that this adventure--which started so shaky just last week--might turn out okay after all. And then the kids called (sort of yelled, really), they’d sighted (we're being stalked by) a young dingo and flustered with enthusiasm (eager to protect my young) I took another bad picture.
|filthy feet--the sign of a happy walk|