Day 22-26 Canoeing with crocs

‘Down by the waters edge, have you got a torch?. Shine it out there, you can see the crocs moving about.’ So said our friendly grey nomad neighbors. They had been here for 14 days, having cracked the chassis on their Triton on some far flung road. They lent us a spotlight which put our little LED torch to shame, and sure enough there came the reflections of a half dozen or so crocs cruising around the lagoon, some of them just meters away from the bank where we stood, and many were camping. All ‘freshies’ though so nothing to worry about. Guess they must be, we haven’t read any news of croc attacks since leaving Darwin.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We left Katherine a few days back. One of the apparent advantages of this lifestyle is I really couldn’t tell you just how many days ago it was. Does it matter? Virgin territory for us all the drive was good from the beginning but was brilliant as soon as we hit the Gregory National Park (no not just because it’s my namesake!). The road wends it’s way through dark ochre cliffs and the wind was from behind which does wonders for my mood behind the wheel. We didn’t stop but time just drifts effortlessly by.

We know that at least some of you are interested in how the driving goes and other day to day matters. So for the driving, our philosophy for this trip of ‘less is more’ combined with Emma’s wonderful preparations seems to be working brilliantly. We get through our 300 or so km in about four and a half hours with a lunch break, and in the interim we admire the scenery while the kids finger knit, draw, and or listen to music or the occasional audio book saved on to the IPhone. I like the story about the aardvark that took a while to work out he really did like termites. Fitted in perfectly with the endless termite mounds (cathedral mounds mostly) that cover the landscape. Shame we don’t have aardvarks, they could gorge themselves!

We had lunch on the way at Victoria River Roadhouse… Spectacular location, and apparently the cliffs are magic at sunset… Another place to stop at ‘next time’! We met some friendly grey nomads who delighted in showing the kids their backseat passenger… A cockatiel who travels everywhere with them. Easier than a dog I suppose. They also reminded us of the 1.5 hour time change we would encounter when we crossed the border the following day. Useful information that – much easier to get to Kununurra the next day early enough to secure a site… They don’t take bookings!

We overnighted in the mighty metropolis of Timber Creek. Population you, the other nomads and the friendly guy that knows where shade will be 30 mins before it gets there. He was right. And for all that, there is your choice of two 1 star caravan parks. I picked the one with the pool. Then Emma said they both have a pool. I knew that…

We tried to leave early to make a run for Kununurra and at 8am we were ready. We would have left then too, but I managed to sneak in a quick wash of the caravan. 30 mins later we were on the road. It goes faster when it’s clean. No really, like a red one. Speaking of which is there a law which says caravans must be white?

When we arrived after another thoroughly enjoyable drive, this time with the appearance of the fascinating boab trees to keep us amused. We missed the last powered van site at ‘Kimberlyland’ by just one grey nomad. A blessing in disguise as it turned out, cause you couldn’t prize me out of our site down the front and just one row back from the Lily Pond Lagoon. Ce Magnifee (apologies to those with French speaking capacity)! There just shouldn’t be this much water in this landscape at this time of year and it kind of takes you by surprise. But there is, and it adds a certain something. What is it… Ahh yes, life! Wow 25,000 freshies in this waterway, albeit and including lake Argyle we are talking 25 or so Sydney Harbours worth of water. And I’ll bet you didn’t know 60% of a freshwater crocs diet is insects.

Anyway we’ve been in Kununura for a few days now, can’t really tell just how many cause it doesn’t seem relevant. We’ve visited the zebra rock gallery, a fantastic indigenous art gallery (I want to buy them all!), Lake Argyle and we’ve been canoeing on our lagoon (I’m adopting it so I can take it home with me). Crocs abounded but we didn’t see any on our personal sunset paddle, but we did see swallows swooping and diving for insects from the surface, birds of all kinds perched amongst the branches of trees long deceased cause they prefer dry feet and another magnificent sunset over the red cliffs in the background. Think we’ll stay a few more nights.

The kids have gained some independence here as well and I have learnt to relax just a tad. I can read two paragraphs of a book or one page of a tourist brochure now before getting up to check on them. They have taken to playing with new friends at the playground without our direct supervision… There is a kind of dry dusty dirty sand there that they love playing in. Seems they miss the sandpit at school. Amy went through three sets of cloths today. I guess Oliver would have as well were his shirt not dark red.

PS Congratulations Daniel & Emily!

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