I haven’t kept up with this blog. I know, I know. The reasons for writing it are numerous and varied. I know them all, but I have been procrastinating. Putting off writing and delaying with all the excuses under the sun. But…I’m back. This will be the perfect record of a perfect trip…and will get me writing again
The surrounding country of Kakadu (20,000 square kilometers) belongs to indigenous people.
If you respect country, it will look after you
We are the visitors.
Paul picked us up from the Crocodile Hotel at 5.15 am to take us to the Yellow Waters. I am not at my best at that hour of the morning, but I felt excited about the experience ahead and everyone else in our party felt the same. Just the thought of meandering along in our open boat watching the moon fade and sunlight slowly gild the water was enough to keep me going.
We have had glorious sunny days but cyclone Trevor caused the rain to bucket down over Kakadu during the wet season and the usual gangplank for the Yellow Waters trip is underwater. To our delight our flat bottomed barge of a boat is now leaving early from Home billabong upstream and will snake through a narrow water way to the yellow waters. We will drift past where we would usually board our boat and then continue on to explore this amazing place.
I am entranced, in heaven, as we set off and glide along. The moon is low in the sky. We share the experience with other passengers but even the children are quiet as we explore this remarkable place. That morning we observed so much variety. We experienced unusual birds, crocodiles and wetlands with floating buffalo grass and lily pad fields.
This body of water begins at Jim Jim falls. Yellow Waters got the name from the yellow Melaleuca (paperbark) trees staining the water. (I used to make bark paintings from the many and varied colours of the paperbark. Most are yellow but if I found a red bark it was highly prized and I always remembered that tree.) If you are born, or die indigenous you are wrapped in paperbark and belong to country. The Melaleuca is a very spiritual tree. We travel through the Melaleuca swamp, listen for whistling kites and look for white bellied sea eagles..
There is a request not to lean out of the boat to take a picture as crocodiles can launch at least half of their body weight out of the water and may grab a hand…or more. In spite of constant warnings we travel through yellow billabong into the South Alligator River.
Kakadu is owned by the traditional owners but it administered by the Federal government and protected under Parks and Wildlife Australia as a National Park. The indigenous people see Kakadu as a supermarket and a clothing shop. Dilly bags (a carry bag) are made from the pandanas palm which came from south east Asia 500 years ago.
Paul wheeled Alan up the ramp to an eggs, bacon, sausage and mushroom breakfast. Later, Paul went to the Bowali Visitors Centre (named after Bowali Creek) and asked for all wheelchair friendly sites.
Next week is Katheryn Gorge, Nitmiluck National Park and of course Mataranka.