A Trip Of A Lifetime In The Middle Of Nowhere
It’s about a two hour boat trip to get to our special weekend destination. I climb in the boat, a little apprehensive that I’ll be sleeping in the heat with snakes and mozzies in themiddle of nowhere,but apart from that we are all really looking forward to this trip.
We pull away from the white sandy beach into the aqua blue water and speed away, passing big stretches of white sandy beaches, Kimberley rock formations,points,islands andmore islands. It’s clear that our host Don has done this trip more times than he probably even knows and he looks after his vessel,but I can’t help feeling exposed in this long stretch of water. No one else on board seems to be bothered in the slightest though.
Eventually we head into the mouth of the river and the scenery changes to muddy waters and mangroves on either side.Again Don is seamlessly negotiating the sandbanks and submerged rocks that we can’t even see. As we travel down the mangroves it’s truly sobering to realise that if anything happens to the boat we are definitely very low on the food chain here and between the crocodiles and sharks that are so abundant here,we probably wouldn’t make the short swim to shore.
About two hours into our trip, the mangroves fade away to big Kimberley rock formations.There are big walls of rock on either side of the river and as we travel a few more kilometres further on, round a bend, the river opens up to an amazing gorge.High pillars of Kimberley rock, massive blocks of stone towering on either side of the narrow water channel.We pass a small cove with a shack and a humpy and keep going, to see the rapids around a dog leg in the river. It’s an amazing place,paradise!!
We round back in the boat to the shady humpy and little inlet that has a fresh water creek flowing into the gorge.We learn how to moor the boat away from the shoreline and are versed on how to stay croc wise getting in and out of the boat.
Our son gets right into setting baits for prawns and then we all set off to explore the lily covered fresh water lagoon and to find a safe spot in the clear creek safe enough to swim in, as the salt water crocodiles frequent both.
After a long cool off it’s getting late and it’s time to collect firewood and heat up sausage curry and brown rice.We watch one of the resident crocodiles cruise around the cove as the sun sets, drinking hot plunger coffee and Don has A Trip Of A Lifetime In The Middle Of Nowhere View from the outside shower and loo!!! Camp for the next two nights his Blues playing.Magic!
It’s been a long day and it’s time to turn in for the night.We cool off in the outside rock-wall shower under the MilkyWay and watch the orange moon rising overlooking themirror still gorge lit by the night sky!!! Tonight we will have the luxury of a fan in our shade cloth sleep out.Don is leaving the generator on for us as the inverter is not working on the solar.
Wake up to the loo with a view over the whole gorge. Blues music over hot plunger coffee and baked beans on toast for breakfast and Don takes us fishing at a special spot that is paradise. A Clear water inlet, white sand and blue water where the fish and water flow in quickly with the tide, to a rock pillar lined creek bed. Richard spots big flashes of white where three massive manta rays are playing and feeding in the small bay. We climb a big rocky outlook and watch them flip on their backs and flash their huge white bellies.
While Don is catching bait fish we explore the dunes behind to find amazing rock paintings amongst the rock pillars lining the clear, blue and deep sandy creek bed that’s quickly filling up with water and fish with the tide.Then it’s off to a spot to fish to
catch enough for our dinner.
As we leave the bay, Don cuts the engine and we check out a big manta ray that comes up right next to the boat.We fish until we have a Fingermark each for dinner and we keep the small shark Don caught, to give to resident Margaret (croc) as a gift.There are three resident crocodiles George, Margaret and Victoria, but so far we have only seen Margaret.
It’s getting close to lunch so we head off back to camp, clean up the fish ready for dinner and then off to explore in the gorge near the rapids.We go in Don’s tinnie and stop off first to have a cool down in a clear creekwith no crocodiles,beautifulwaist deep and sandy bottom. Iridescent blue damselflies balance on twigs, floating on the water and lots of little Kimberley wild flowers line the shore.
Then we hop back in the boat and head off up to the rapids to see and explore the natural spa pools worn into the rocks smoothed over the years by the floods andwet seasons.The side of the gorge near the rapids has a network of tunnels and rock pools ground out over thousands of years by huge boulders.We quickly head up past the rapids to finish our exploring for the day as it’s getting late and the sun is going down, time to head back to make dinner.
Our gift to Margaret is still there so we watch it as we prepare dinner to see if she will take it.After a while we think she will wait until it gets dark. She is hanging around butwon’t come up to shore.After giving up and putting the cameras down we get the camp fire going and go into the camp kitchen to get tea sorted. I come back out ginger and garlic in hand, to see the shark silhouette is gone and a soft ripple in the water where she has made off with her prize. She was only waiting for us to turn our backs to make her move.
We use fresh limes off the tree growing near the camp fire, fresh garlic and ginger fromthe latest purchase of stores,with olive oil stuffed in the whole fish on a cast iron skillet. Cooking the brown rice,vegetable soup and fish all on the camp fire.
Another shower under the Milky Way with a lightning storm on the horizon and an early turn in. Tonight we will try more mozzie coils and Bushman’s for a better night’s sleep in the campout.
Our last breakfast thismorning, Don said we missed the crocodile up in the camp.One more outside shower overlooking the gorge and then another great breakfast over good conversation. A small croc is hanging around eyeing off the fish leftovers fromlast night, but nowsadlywe have to rendezvouswith our 4WD ride home.
It’s time to get back to ourwork. It’s been a special break one to remember for a lifetime.A huge thank you to Don for his generosity and sharing his private paradise.We will never forget it. Our only regret on this trip is we missed‘Codly’he hasn’t arrived yet for the dry season.‘Codly’is a huge potato cod that returns to Don’s every year for feeds and pats and friendship.