I recently reported that the wet season had well and truly arrived in the Daintree, with over 700 mm of rain in five days.
More recently, Jennifer published the Australian mean rainfall total for 2007 at 497 mm, slightly more than the long-term average of 472 mm.
So, there is no question; the Daintree Cape Tribulation rainforest occupies a very wet part of Australia. Last year we recorded a total rainfall of 4,757 mm and the year before; 6,240 mm.
The most recent deluge, though, was of an intensity not seen for many years. In March of 1996, I recall that 1,219 mm fell in 48 hours. Flooding was so powerful that the Daintree River Ferry was deposited upon its pylons and the road across the heights of the Alexandra section, collapsed.
It must be said, that here in the Daintree rainforest, we brace ourselves in the face of extreme weather events, but they also remind us unequivocally of our subordinance to nature.
If I were to conservatively estimate that only one direct cyclone was to have hit every fifty years, the ancient rainforests of the Daintree would have bore the brunt of 2.7million cyclones over its 135-million year existence. On this basis, it becomes a very regular and recurring event.
In the aftermath, perhaps half the canopy is dislodged to the forest floor and as much as twice the sunlight is able to penetrate to these leafy depths of nutrient abundance. There can be no doubt that the extent of flowering and fruiting is maximised after cyclonic events. All other populations seem to multiply.
And the creeks become magnificent!