Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 166. Jim Jim Billabong to Malabanijbanjdju, Kakadu

Sunset on Yellow Waters
The only thing better than yesterday’s sunrise cruise on ‘Yellow Water Billabong’, was today’s sunset cruise on ‘Yellow Water Billabong’, but more about that later. We had decided after such a huge day yesterday to take it a little easier today, we were all tired and starting to feel it.

Jabiru on the billabong at our camp

We moved camp today, about 50km’s further north. This will make it easier to explore the Northern parts of the park. After set up we decided to check out the camp ground next door for a good fishing spot for later, it’s literally only 500mtrs up the road. Our section of the billabong is covered in Salvinia weed, which is a huge problem up here. But further around the bend it seems a lot better, well so we thought. When we arrived we rushed over to get a photo of a Jabiru hunting fish, only to find a heap of dead Barramundi along the water’s edge. We took some photos and decided to leave the fishing for now, until we find out exactly what is going on.

It was only a short drive up to the ‘Bowali Visitor Centre’, where we showed the rangers the photos of the dead fish and gave them the name of the Billabong. They were worried enough to call the local scientists from up near the mine, to come down and check it out. Their biggest hunch is the Salvinia weed which takes all the oxygen out of the water, is making the fish suffocate.

We then watched a short film on the ‘Blue Winged Kookaburra’ here is Kakadu, and walked through their very interesting interpretive centre. It had life sized examples of all the wildlife found around here, and heaps of aboriginal culture pieces. Scarlett then spotted the slushy machine at the café from a mile away, so we all settled down for a nice cold drink.

After talking to the information centre we heard that if you do a cruise on ‘Yellow Water Billabong’ you can come back for a second cruise for only $20 (they don’t tell you that at the resort when you book). After the fantastic time we had yesterday on the sunrise cruise, we were immediately on the phone and booked in for today’s sunset tour, so we could experience both ends of the spectrum.

Dump trucks at the Ranger Uranium Mine

Upon leaving the visitor centre Shane decided to take us up to see the ‘Ranger Uranium Mine’, which just happens to be in the only small pocket of Arnhemland in the middle of Kakadu. The mine is huge, and it looks so out of place with the beautiful Kakadu escarpment in the background. It’s hard to imagine who gave permission for this to go ahead, and how money easily trumps heritage. We also checked out the ‘Crocodile Holiday Inn’ up here while in ‘Jabiru’, which when looked down on from above is designed in the shape of a huge crocodile. They have an impressive croc chasing a barra to scale model in their foyer.

Crocodile Holiday In

It was back to the van then to grab some washing, and clothes for this evening’s cruise. We promised Scarlett we would go in early and give her a swim in the resort’s pool beforehand. This suited me as it gave me a chance to sneak in and do some washing in their laundry. It wasn’t long and we had to head down to the billabong for our second boat ride in as many days on the billabong, we were all excited and wondered how much different it would be to yesterday morning’s.

Three beautiful Kingfishers

Scarlett was disappointed not to be in the front row for a change, but the view was great from where ever you sat. We were in awe of the amount of birds scurrying around for a last minute feed before the sun set. The kingfishers and Bee Eaters were some of the most amazing of them all, with night herons, brolgas, and whistling ducks also putting on an evening display. We were even lucky enough to see a Pied Heron fighting to keep, and devour the fish he had just caught.
Pied Heron with his catch

The only thing different this time was the crocs! They were huge, and there were so many of them. The fist one we came across must have been at least 4mtrs long, and over a metre wide. He put on an amazing show opening his mouth for us to see his humungous teeth; it sent shivers down my spine. There were plenty of crocs around, we were even lucky enough to see some that were swimming back to their favourite hunting ground alongside the boat. Being almost as long as the boat, all arms were kept well and truly inside the boat at all times.

After following the crocs in the water for some time, we head back to get a good spot to catch the sunset. They positioned the boat with the wetlands in the back ground filled with a million birds, it was an amazing sight. The sky was an awesome display of pinks and oranges that soon turned to purple and blue as the sun slowly set, with the birds in the back ground it was a sight to remember. On the way back they even let Scarlett drive the boat, she was really good. I can’t believe we were lucky enough to not only experience this once, but twice, I feel so privileged.

Spot the croc
Swimming alongside the boat

1 comment:

  1. What fantastic photos and it looks like you are having a great time. I can't believe you are already in Kakadu- we would love to see you sometime - soon hopefully. Hailey likes Scarlett's new haircut xx