Schlagwort-Archive: exporter

8. Chapter: Australia and evolutionary pacific pearls

Australien: Ein Kukulanji Aborigines bläst ins Diggeridoo im Tjapukai Cultural Village nahe Cairns. A Kukulaji-Aborigines men plays the diggeridoo in the Tjapukai Village near Cairns.
Australien: Ein Kukulanji Aborigines bläst ins Diggeridoo im Tjapukai Cultural Village nahe Cairns. A Kukulaji-Aborigines men plays the diggeridoo in the Tjapukai Village near Cairns.

On the largest sand island in the world, tropical forested dunes rise up on the banks of crystal clear freshwater lakes in the midst of emerald green rainforests. Whales and dolphins frolic off the coast of Fraser Island. But the island biotope is not only a refuge for rare plant species and animals, but also homo ecotourism is increasingly nesting here. Up to 240 meters high sand dunes, 120 kilometers of beach and a sheltered bay, Hervey Bay is where whales cavort between August and October and they are the charm of the island’s microcosm.

Not only for geologists, botanists, nature, animal and bird lovers, but also for sailors, surfers and those looking for relaxation, Fraser Island offered paradisiacal conditions 20 years ago. In 2020, on the other hand, there were devastating forest fires and the ecosystem is a bit out of control, as in the entire Great Barrier Reef. The entire archipelago is suffering from global warming and oil and plastic pollution from tourists. Fraser Island is ancient, 123 kilometers long, 14 to 22 kilometers wide and has an eternity of over 220 million years of evolutionary history under its belt. Sand has been washed up and piled up on the island for two million years.

This landscape was formed in the Ice Age and has existed in its current form for about 6000 years. With the warming of the climate 140,000 years ago, the first traces of the Aborigines appeared there, but it is assumed that the «Butschulla» natives only settled on «KGari» Iceland 20 million years ago. For the western world, Fraser Island was discovered by James Cook in 1770. The gigantic fresh water reservoirs hold a total of ten to twenty million mega liters of fresh water. The crystal clear drinking water of Lake McKenzie, lined with bright white sandy beaches, is ideal for a swim. Dingoes can also be seen on the bank. But they don’t come to the watering place, but because of the tourists‘ bulging food bags. Many a nice bite for the wild dogs falls off. Even in the run-up to my trip to Australia, I campaigned for the “whaling ban” and reported on it in various newspapers, including the Sunday newspaper under the title “Better to cannibalize tourism than to slaughter”! Now I wanted to fulfill my dream and take part in a whale watch.

Hervey Bay is just one of a dozen places in the Great Barrier Reef where the whales frolic. Around 100 people jostle their way to the railing on the “Kingfisher” catamaran and search the horizon for fountains or a towering tail fin. “There they are,” shouts one and the crowd cheers! A colossus weighing perhaps 30 tons with a body over 16 meters long shoots up into the air like a silvery arrow, performs a pirouette and then plunges headlong into the water again. What a sublime sight! Fortunately, they are protected here. „Whale-watching“ has blossomed into a tourism branch worth 600 to 700 million in the 1990s. Whale watchers travel to Baja California, the coast of Brazil, Patagonia or South Africa to see the swimming mammals.

As early as 1994, Australia made over 50 million dollars a year from whale watching. No wonder, the giants of the seas are fascinating in every way! Their tones from the depths of the ocean sound like encrypted messages (today they are probably lamentations), similar to sonar, the echo sounder system of shipping, they determine their course with radar signals. They send out exact transmission intervals and with their sensitive instinct are able to pick up the signals of the sound waves again and to analyze and locate them precisely so that they can orientate themselves over thousands of kilometers. The chants, which last up to thirty minutes, are used to communicate with other members of the same species. From the turquoise shores of the Great Barrier Reef to a completely different area, which is in contrast to the maritime life, but also fights for survival.

The Northern Territories are the region to discover the culture of the indigenous people

The Northern Territories are the region to discover the culture of Australia’s indigenous people, a world of many contrasts between the green, tropical north and the red glowing heart of Australia, the Outback. Arnhem Land in particular is Aboriginal land and it borders Kakadu National Park to the east. More than 40 Aboriginal dialects are spoken here. Alice Springs is the second largest city and Darwin the seaside capital of the Northern Territories. The treasure trove of the aborigines, however, lies in Kakadu National Park, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Also famous are the hot thermal springs of Mataranka south of Katherine in Elsey National Park, where 30 million liters of water gush from the depths every day. Kings Canyon is Australia’s largest gorge and up to 300 meters deep. This grandiose microcosm, which ranges from rainforest to desert and from dreamlike beaches to the world’s most beautiful diving grounds, breaks all boundaries.

No wonder some people get infected by the Australia virus. Shortly before the „millennium“ I made another Australia trip of a special kind. For a lifestyle reportage, the best hotels, spa lodges and restaurants were on the menu. This led to the flagship of the Australian hotel industry „Hayman“ Island in the White Sunday Islands, then to the then newly opened „Palazzo Versace“ Hotel and then to the two luxury outback feeling „Peppers Lodge“ and „Spicers Peak Lodge“. On the way to this my off-road vehicle got on the wet nature and splinter road by an evasion maneuver due to jumping out kangaroos into the skid and into a barbed wire fence, which scraped over the whole hood, windshield and the roof, so that the brand new vehicle looked totally scratched and ready for the scrap but still drove. Only the totally scratched windshield clouded the driving fun. But it could have ended much worse.

But Australia has a big climate problem and that is the dependence on the coal industry. In the state of Queensland alone, there are over 50 of them and now, shortly before the 21st environmental summit in Glasgow, even one of the world’s largest mines, the Adani mine, is under construction but not yet in operation. Australia is the second largest exporter of coal and doesn’t give a damn about the targeted climate goals. Coal emissions account for 30 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide. This leads to long periods of drought, devastating bushfires, exceptional periods of heat, the earth glowing and boiling with rage at the fossil overexploitation and the harmlessness in exploiting the planet. The bushfires resulted in over a billion dead animals. Over half of the Great Barrier Reef is bleached and a giant coral graveyard.