Back in the four wheel drives, we disembark the ferry. As we wind along the twisting road over to the ocean side to check out the gorge, it's really pissing down again. “The gorge”. I'm prepared to be unimpressed. Probably just a sheltered, narrow little inlet between headlands, bound to be at least half as high and half as wide as has been described by the over enthusiastic locals. At the carpark, we pile out into the rain and wind. Stuart and Dan let on that they haven't brought anything warmer than tee-shirts. They hadn't imagined that summer in Queensland could resemble anything other than a holiday brochure. A couple of minutes along the planked walkway leads us to a viewing platform, and I'm........impressed. The gorge is wide, the cliffs are tall, and the surf is pumping. For a first time tyro-er, Clinton sure has an eye for a line! Speaking of which, he looks nervous. Hardly surprising, I'm feeling a bit jittery now, and I'm supposedly experienced at this sort of thing.
One of the things Dan and I had discussed over the phone was what to do if Clinton didn't feel up to it on the day. My suggestion had been handcuffs and a haulbag, Dan's more compassionate approach is that you can't pressure someone into doing things. If Clint isn't feeling right, we'll have to respect that. It's the big question mark of the trip. For most of the group, this won't be the most extreme adventure we've ever undertaken. For Clinton, it will be. By an order of magnitude.
The weather is getting us down, no sign of it clearing and we can't afford to leave things to the last minute. The decision is made that we must go out and rig by Saturday afternoon at the latest, even if the downpour continues. We'll still get it done, but everyone knows it'll be far from enjoyable. Since Dan appears to be getting hypothermia in his drenched singlet, we adjourn to the pub for dinner, then to the rental house for drinks and bullshit.