As we turned off the Cook Highway on to the road to Port Douglas (PD) everything looked so familiar and very much the same as it was when we were last here ten years ago.We'd heard that there had been a huge amount of development at PD and that it had really changed - it wasn't the quiet, relaxed place it used to be.When we arrived in the town centre we saw that to a certain extent this was true - lots of new buildings in the main street and lots more people milling around.However, on closer inspection we found that lots of things we remembered were still there, for instance some of the rustic shacks in the main street, our favourite restaurant on the waterfront, the wonderfully beautiful setting on the ocean with the tropically forested mountains as backdrop, and even the apartments we'd stayed in. It was great to be back!The cloudy weather we'd had at Ellis Beach stayed with us and it rained heavily throughout our first day in PD.The overcast weather hung around the next day too - boy, was it hot and humid.It was a good excuse just to wander around the town taking in the atmosphere, finding familiar sights (including the health centre where E had had his swollen foot treated - doctor originally diagnosed it as gout!), remembering the stretch limo that had picked us up from the supermarket, and familiarising ourselves with the changes.There seem to be even more tourists Possibly because it was earlier in the season and the Queensland school holidays), and therefore even more places catering for tourists, such as cafés, pubs, restaurants etc. - there's even an Indian (had a delicious meal there) and a Chinese now. Talking of the Chinese, as readers of our blog will know we've been watching the TV series 24.Hope we're not giving too much away but at the end of series 5 Jack was "Shanghai'd" by the Chinese and last seen captive on a cargo ship heading out of Los Angeles. But we can now report that he is safe.The ship must have headed south over the Pacific to Australia because we have seen photographic evidence that he's working in a Chinese restaurant in Port Douglas!Trust me!The same restaurant also has a photograph of Bill Clinton looking very pleased with himself.Wonder if it's anything to do with the fact that the photo only shows his top half, and we don't know what's happening down below.Still talking of celebrities, we forgot to mention a 'sighting' at Ellis Beach.We've mentioned in previous blogs that we've seen Keith a couple of time on our travels (Tallinn, in Estonia and Cowell right here is Oz).Now we're sure we've seen Karen!Our next door neighbours at Ellis Beach were on holiday from Devon and she was just Karen's double, right down to the voice, figure, looks and facial expressions. But when we brought out the bucking bronco and loads of red wine, she didn't flinch so now we're not so sure! Thursday dawned hot and sunny - hurrah! - especially as this was the day for our snorkelling trip to the outer reaches of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).We decided, for old time's sake, to go with the same company as before (Poseidon) as they took small groups and we'd enjoyed it so much the last time. Well, this time there were a few more people on the boat (50 odd compared to less than 30) - probably because it's still the main (school) holiday season - but it was still a great trip.Fluffy, our snorkelling guide, was also a marine biologist and had a wealth of information and knowledge to share, which he did in such a fun and entertaining way that we didn't stop laughing the whole trip (well except when we were under water, naturally - though it was hard not to smile at the beautiful fish).We stopped at three sites on the Agincourt reef, which is right on the very outer edge of the GBR.In fact at one point we were actually off the continental shelf and therefore technically outside Australia.We thought we might have to apply for a new visa to get back!Seriously though, the coral and marine life were just superb. The most exciting sighting was a White Tipped Reef Shark which we followed for ages and which swam really close to us. She was very pregnant and very fat with her young and looked as if she was about to give birth at any moment.PD is a great place for wining and dining, although we have to say that generally it's a bit confusing because each state has different measures and terms for their measures and we never know what to ask for.Some have pints (the largest measure), others have schooners and yet others have pots.Anyway, when E asked for a pint and was told it was "Schooners, not pints here mate", he finally sussed out the reason why and gave the barman a great chance with the staff quote scheme - No pints meant it was back to the bar for a refill schooner (sooner). Get it?The barman did - eventually (the Aussies are pretty literal people). (By the way is anybody impressed with our continued attention to grammar and punctuation even after over a year away from working for the DfES? Any inadvertent Americanisation - or should that be with a Z?Actually yes the computer likes the Z! - spelling is due to the computer, not us!)Anyway, back to the point. We had fond recollections from ten years ago of sitting at On the Inlet with a pint of prawns and a beer looking over the fantastic views across the water to the mountains. We therefore couldn't resist another visit and had a delicious meal.On the Inlet is now also well known for the tourist attraction of feeding a huge Groper - a fish! - known affectionately as George, at about 5.30 each evening.When we were there, however, it was mating season and George was nowhere to be seen - probably our on the reef shakin' his tail fin at some gorgeous female Gropers - but we did, instead, have a visit from a very vigorous and aggressive Reef Shark!Our caravan park, Tropical Breeze, was in a great location just 400 metres from the main beach and town centre.It was a great choice even if we did have the Grundy's, of the Archers fame, next door.Well they sounded like the Grundy's anyway - definitely Joe, Ed, Emma/Emmer, Clarrie and Little George were in evidence, especially at 6 o'clock in the morning!We did lots of relaxing on the beach, but also decided it was time to get out the bikes again as PD is a great place for cycling.Shock horror!!E's back wheel was badly buckled and the bike was totally unusable and we've no idea how that happened.(Just to explain, the bikes are on a rack at the rear of the van and completely covered by a tarpaulin cover - keeps most of the dirt and dust off the bikes - so we only see the bikes when we decide to use them.)Fortunately there was a bike shop in town which was able to replace the wheel that afternoon so that we were able to get our legs over and get a bit of long overdue exercise.Saturday Night and Monday Morning (nearly the title of a good book!) was Rugby World Cup time for E.We hadn't really seen much of the rugby up to the quarter final stages because TV and radio coverage in Australia has been abysmal.On days of major matches, there has been no reference or news or sporting bulletins (where they seem to favour Aussie Rules Footie and Rugby League almost to the exclusion of everything else).The TV coverage there is, is totally destroyed by TV adverts after every, and I mean every, score and during normal play whenever the ball goes into touch.Disjointed or what? - but E now knows which flats are top sellers and where, which new car is coming on the market, and where to get the best flat screen TV deals etc etc.But what he didn't get to know were the results of matches that had just been played.Now back to the real rugby.E decided to have a late Saturday night out in PD to watch the England v Australia match. Having spent nearly ten months in Oz with the Aussies, he is now questioning whether he should have supported Australia in the 1991 final against England at Twickers.However he headed up town in his thongs to watch the match at the famous Court House Hotel with his options wide open (must put a few stitches in there mate!). It wasn't long before he realized that England were the better side although not surprisingly most of the crowd didn't seem to agree.One particular Aussie hanger-on was convinced, right up to the 75th minute, that Australia would win by 30 points! At the end of the match there was a surprisingly loud and wide ranging cheer when England won - from all the Kiwis and other Aussie 'haters'.They thoroughly deserved the victory.After a good day and another night's rest - and with no opportunity of the Court House Hotel opening at 5am - the alarm was set to watch Scotland v Argentina on Annie's small screen. It wasn't that bad a match but E agreed with Keith's assessment later that Scotland lost the match rather than Argentina won it.E is concerned about the gap in ability between Scotland and some other nations and how it can be closed.With these serious matters behind us we headed off.After Cairns, we had planned to travel further north to Cooktown, which is the furthest north you can go in Queensland on sealed roads.But as we mentioned earlier, we'd had a few expressions of interest for Annie and a chap from NSW decided to buy her.It's great that we have a buyer but we have negotiated arrangements to continue our return journey but must get back in time to hand her over on the agreed date in early November - earlier than we'd planned - and without adding too many klms to the odometer. This meant we couldn't go as far as Cooktown (it really brings it home that our year in Oz is nearly over!).We therefore decided to go to Mossman, which is only a few kilometers further north of PD. In fact, we went a little further than Mossman and stayed in a caravan park at a tiny hamlet called Newell Beach. It was one of those types of site that we have come to enjoy as a favourite sort of site in which to stay - small, takes dogs, a bit disorganized.We always find them really friendly and this was no exception.The beach here is just lovely, typically tropical long white sandy, palm fringed shore, but unfortunately swimming is a no, no at present because of a blooming great saltie croc that has recently been seen in the area!So we had to look for alternative activities, the first one being a round of golf at Mossman Golf Club, a beautifully kept course in the most wonderful setting - first time we've played in the remnants of a wet tropical rainforest.(PD had a couple of golf courses but at $95 and $120 a round a tad above our purse and ability. $30 dollars for 18 holes at Mossman was much more our style.)A boat trip on the Daintree River was also most enjoyable, although we didn't see much in the way of wildlife, and Daintree Village itself was quite pretty.Mossman Gorge provided a really lovely walk through the rainforest, but we didn't take advantage of the opportunity to swim in the waterholes preferring to take a dook in the pool back at the camp site after a hot and sticky day out. Queensland is going to be quite a busy journey for us what with having to head back to hand Annie over to her new owner in NSW, and also to meet up with folks on the way.We're looking forward to seeing our friend Avril in Townsville, whom we haven't seen for ten years and Pam's cousin Valerie and her husband Derek, who we haven't yet met, and live near Noosa. Also a few weeks ago we were surprised to be contacted by Brett who we knew from our time in Ashtead - he now lives in Brisbane - and we are planning to meet up with him in Noosa where he'll just happen to be at the time we're passing through.We also hope our plans will allow us to meet up with Angela and Stephen, whom we met in the Bungle Bungle and live north of Brisbane.But before all that we managed to fit in a very enjoyable 9 holes at Mossman before heading off on our journey south, stopping for the night at Etty Bay, a very picturesque cove and a very friendly caravan park about 10 kms off the highway. We hear that there are Cassowaries roaming about so hoping to have a sighting of one of the few wild creatures we haven't yet seen.