Where are we now?

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

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 168. Malabanijbanjdju to Howard Springs

A meeting with the famous 5.5mtr jumping croc; "Brutus"

Today we leave Kakadu :-(    It has been an amazing 6 days here, and we have all enjoyed it immensely. We got up early and packed up camp; then made our way to the visitors centre just down the road to top up our water supply. We have just done 5 nights bush camping being totally self sufficient without access to power or water; this has been our longest stint yet. However, I think Scarlett is totally over it though. With no access to kids, pools, or playgrounds, it has started to take it's toll with her beginning to complain. So we have booked into a kid friendly park in Darwin for 7 nights from tomorrow night to give her some down time, and hopefully some kids to play with.
While Shane topped up the water, I took the advantage of internet access and upload my blog from a day or two ago. We still write our blog each day even if we don't have internet access, we just save it in 'Word' and upload when we finally have signal.

About 30km's up the road we decided to stop and stretch our legs. we needed to take one last look at this amazing country by doing a short walk out to the 'Mamukala Bird Hide'. The observation platform allows you to view the bird life and it has a mural that illustrates the seasonal changes that occur here throughout the year. Scarlett and Shane pulled out the binoculars, and we were lucky enough to see an egret catch and devour a fish right in front of us. I never tire of watching the bird life in Kakadu's billabongs, they are beautiful places.

We were off again on the road, with next stop being 'Window to the Wetlands'. This is an interpretive centre designed especially for kids, that explains the ecosystem of our wetlands. There were heaps of interactive displays which kept Scarlett happy, and you could see for miles in every direction from the top viewing deck. After a quick lunch in the car park, we decided to hit the road again.

A pair of Brolga's
We have decided to do a jumping croc cruise this afternoon, and as we are a little too early we stopped before hand at 'Fog Dam' to take a look. There was a big sign saying 'No walking on the dam wall due to the presence of a large Esturine Crocodile'. We wen't sure if we would be able to turn the van around down at the dam, so we parked it at the car park and decided to walk. Along the way Shane saw some vans coming back so he decided to pop back and grab it after all, while Scarlett and I kept on walking.
While Scarlett and I were walking along the road with wetlands along each side, we spied a huge 5mtr crocodile trap just over from where we were. Well it turns out we were actually walking on the dam wall, while I was expecting a huge cement dam wall, when actually the road with wetlands on either side was the actual dam wall. Good thing Shane came along with the van then and we both jumped in. An unusual dam, being a huge floodplain with nothing but a 4mtr high road to hold the water back.

The Dominator
Our jumping crocodile cruise was with 'Adelaide River Cruises'. It turns out this is the same cruise company that has been in the news lately with the picture of the 5.5mtr jumping croc named 'Brutus'. We were told though not to expect 'Brutus' to make a showing, as he is over 100 years old and has being muscled out of his territory lately by younger, just as big crocodile. We were told not to worry as there was another just as big, if not bigger croc by the name of 'The Dominator' which we would see anyway (as he is one of the crocs moving in on Brutus's territory).

Within minutes we were at 'The Dominator's' mud bank and there he was in all his glory, the biggest crocodile I have ever seen. He was an absolute monster! Being nearly as long as the boat, I must admit I was a little scared and excited at the same time. He didn't take much prompting to come into the water from his mud bank and he looked truly terrifying. He jumped straight away and in all the excitement of everyone trying to get photo's we didn't get many good ones unfortunately.

There were a few more crocs but not as big; but just as exciting and then we spied some baby crocs on the mud bank. As soon as we pulled alongside they we quick as lightening into the water and along the edge of the boat waiting for a turn at the buffalo meat. They moved so fast and jumped so high it was almost comical; Scarlett and I laughed so much we nearly cried.

A baby croc
A little further down the river a majestic white sea eagle appeared, circling the boat from above. 'Morgan' our owner/operator threw up and small piece of meat, and it swept down and easily caught it and flew off with his prize. It was certainly a beautiful sight, as these birds are so elusive; and to see one up so close was memorable.

Not a minute later Morgan was laughing and saying 'I don't believe it'. Across the river creating a huge bow wave as he approached us was the famous 'Brutus'. When he pulled up right next to Scarlett and I, my protective instincts kicked in and I just couldn't let Scarlett get too close to the edge (much to her disapointment). She was so excited; but he was massive! If he had of landed on the edge of the boat we would have sunk for sure. The papers weren't exaggerating aboutr him being a living dinosaur! Suddenly our boat felt very small....

Brutus bow wave

Hello Brutus
Morgan said it was typical that he would show after days of laying low; and being the last cruise of the day and all. He estimates him to be well over 100 years old and he looked it, with his battle scars including a missing front left leg. He jumped high out of the water right in front of me and Scarlett, and when he hit the side of the boat on his way back down we both screamed! I'm sorry to say none of the crocs later that cruise even compared to him, and we felt so fortunate to have seen him that day. Brutus is the star of the below video.

That was too close

Anybody seen my missing leg?

After the huge high we all left the cruise with, we now had to find somewhere to stay for the night. We passed our scheduled free camp just before Fogg Dam, and it was horrible. It was right on the side of the road, and unfortunately it was covered in rubbish and no other caravans were in sight. We made a few phone calls, and with most of the parks fully booked out, we were lucky enough to find somewhere with a site for the night.

We pulled up camp at the 'Oasis Caravan Park' in Howard Springs; a lovely little oasis after 6 days in the bush I can tell you. With lush vegetation and grass, we were back in civilization. I must admit I was a little sad to bid Kakadu goodbye today, as I will miss camping next to the billabongs filled with wildlife, but I'm sure we will come across many more amazing places yet though.

No comments:

Post a Comment