Down-under 2010 - Day 1, Darwin

April 07, 2010  •  Leave a Comment


After a very short rest after arriving from Singapore way past 3 a.m in the morning, we managed to get up pretty early to get a rental car. It’s still towards the end of the rainy season, and normally there wouldn’t be much rain now, but just a few days ago it rained so much that some of the roads up in Kakadu have been flushed away. So our trip for tomorrow has been changed from a 4x4 with a rented guide that was only for the two of us, to a coach trip with more than twenty others. We’ll see how that goes…

Anyway, my colleague had installed this really good car GPS app for the iPhone, so as long as we did what it said - which is diffucult for stubborn asses like us, we managed really well. As biologists, of course, we were rather attracted by the name Charles Darwin National Park east of Darwin City, and – yes – it was accessible to the public. Mangroves, mangroves! So we drove down there, but soon found out that after the car park, there was just a paved road that took you round the war memorial things, and there was no way to safely get down to the mangroves. We weren’t too keen on walking very much either, as we both had heavy tripods, and to speak for myself – four lenses, add to that the tropical heat and humidity and the fact that it was raining, we got back to the air-conditioned Holden as quickly as swollen feet allow. We did stop long enough to get these beauties on pixels.




It’s really great what you can find on maps. Just what you’re looking for, for instance. Right north of Darwin lies East Point Reserve, which has a lovely boardwalk through the mangroves. I’ve been on one before in Victoria, and remembered being impressed with the boardwalk that will bring you very close to everything without disturbing it, and will keep you safer. In the case of Darwin, this means salt water crocodiles, or “Salties”. On the benigner end of the scale you find mud crabs, mudskippers and “longbums” or Darnijarda as the Larrakia people call them.

As we were walking through the boardwalk it started raining quite heavily, and I was reminded why I got the weather-proof Olympus E3. At least the rain kept the blasted moskitoes away, we had forgotten insect repellent of course, so we’re really hoping we haven’t caught anything horrible.




We ended the tour today up at Casuarina Coastal Reserve, one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen. It was so incredibly hot, and the water looked tempting, but it’s still the stinger season (box jelly fish), so I wasn’t about to get in, thank you.




Day 1 was great, tomorrow is Kakadu. I’m a bit worried how we’ll get along on a typical guided tour with two dozen others, we like to hang around for just that extra shot, and do our own thing, and tomorrow we’ll have to follow orders. The road was washed away, nothing much you can do about availability and accessibility…

 

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