I'm afraid of boats. So I boarded Ian "Sauce" Worcester's small boat with a bit of trepidation.
How foolish of me. And how happy I am that I boarded his boat, for Sauce showed me an Australian biome that I would NEVER have seen from the land.
Sauce's handling of the boat reassured me, and I stopped worrying about falling in. From the moment we left the wharf, I was entranced. The views were enchanting. I saw a large white cloud of Pied Imperial pigeons against an impossibly green background of lush, rainforested hills. We slipped into the Barret slough and watched a kingfisher bathing, found a wompoo fruit dove sitting on her nest, even slid silently underneath a frogmouth, nesting on the barest platform of a nest and pretending she was a tree limb. Ian positioned the boat so that my husband could get some close ups of a Nankeen Night Heron. Sauce knows them all. He plies his beloved Daintree River so often that he knows all the spots to find the birds. He even knew when the Wompoo Fruit Dove had started incubating eggs. We learned not only about the birds, but about the mangroves and the water gum trees. We ghosted along and found a large Eastern Water Dragon basking in the sun.
Sauce's tour is no sanitized "wild animal park" sort, but one of the real, natural Australian rainforest river. This point was amply made when we passed the carcass of a very large cow. It'd been killed by a crocodile and pulled up onto the riverbank. Even half eaten, the carcass was very large, and you realized that the croc that killed it was equally large, strong-and dangerous.
It was worth taking the trip with just me, my husband, Del Richards, our bird guide (Fine Feather Tours), and equally accomplished birder Sauce.
There are other boat tours, but those boats appeared to be rather crowded. Nothing scares off a bird faster than a bunch of noisy humans. Having the boat to ourselves, and all of us being quiet, made it a more successful and intimate view of the many birds we added to our list.
What a lovely trip it was, and what a lovely person Sauce is. I highly recommend his boat tour of the Daintree.