Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Northern Territory/AustralianOutback

July 22, 2010—Last Thursday we took the day off and visited some local sites. We began at the Darwin Museum, which had excellent exhibits including a section on Cyclone Tracy that hit Darwin on December 24, 1974, and just about wiped it off the map.

Next we went to the WWII War Museum. The Japanese bombed Darwin several times, but the first time was the worst with a loss of over 200 lives. As the Japanese swept through the Pacific, the British decided they could not spare any resources to defend Australia. General Douglas MacArthur, however, saw that it was the perfect base for American operations in the Pacific and much of it occurred in the Northern Territories.

The U.S. played a major role here with fighter support, and the museum had photos and films that included the U.S. They also had a Willy’s Jeep and the fuselage of a Spitfire in the collection.

On Friday we left Darwin and drove south. We went through the town of Humpty Doo and arrived at the Jumping Crocs Tour, which is located on the Adelaide River. We boarded a two-tiered tour boat and headed out, and just minutes later the first croc swam out to the boat. Wendy placed a piece of raw pork on a line attached to a pole and dropped it into the water from the upper deck. The croc came to investigate, and Wendy was able to entice the croc to jump up from the water for the meat.

We continued down the river and had five or so additional crocs put on a show for us. The last croc, that was named Bogart, was the oldest (about 70 years old) and the biggest, and even though he was missing three of his four limbs, he still came up out of the water to get his lunch. Obviously, these crocs have learned the routine for eating every day.

At the end of the tour several species of raptors were flying around the boat so Wendy threw some food in the air to get them to fly close to the boat. It was a very interesting and entertaining tour, and we learned a lot about saltwater crocs.

We continued our drive south the Bachelor where we had reservations at the Bachelor Butterfly Resort. This eco resort had seven cottages with a pool. The room was nice, and it had air conditioning—yes!! We decided to relax in the room for the afternoon because Steve had a bad head cold, and we both needed some down time. We went to the restaurant for dinner where I had an excellent lamb dish while Steve enjoyed a Moroccan chicken dish.

The next morning we took off for the Litchfield National Park about 30 minutes away. Our first stop there was to see the Magnetic Termite Mounds. These mounds are very large, and there was a whole field of them with varying sizes of mounds. The area looked like a cemetery with headstones.

From there we drove to Florence Falls. From the car park we walked down 135 steps to the pond at the bottom, where we went for a lovely swim. It was a very busy place, but we really enjoyed the swim in cool, fresh water. We haven’t done much swimming lately because of the crocs, so this was a treat. When we left, we took the footpath out instead of climbing the 135 steps and were treated to a lovely walk through the forest and along the creek that feeds the waterfall.

We then drove a short distance to Buley Rockholes, which are a series of pools in the same creek that feeds Florence Falls. There were many people enjoying the small pools, and some kids were jumping into one of the deeper pools. We sat in one of the shallower pools and relaxed for a few minutes.
Done with our swimming for the day, we drove a little farther and arrived at Tolmer Falls. It was a short walk to the viewing platform where we had a good view of the falls in one direction and a view of the desert plains in the other direction. This waterfall was not as big as Florence Falls, but it was higher.

We returned to the car and began our drive back to Darwin. There are several airstrips along this highway that were used during WWII by the fighter planes so we stopped and took some pictures. We also stopped in Humpty Doo for some lunch. We got back in time to clean up, and then we headed to the Darwin Sailing Club to attend the BBQ for the Indonesia Rally. It was an interesting group of people, and the food was excellent.

These last few days we have been finishing up our chores. Tomorrow we will move from the marina back out to the anchorage. Maneuvering through all the anchored boats will again be a challenge, and there are now quite a few boats anchored in the bay so we may have to look around for a spot.

On Saturday the Rally begins at 11 a.m. for the very serious racers in the group. We will leave either just before or just after the main group. Our sail up to Banda Island will probably take four days if we have decent winds so I will be posting blogs from the ship’s radio once again. I haven’t had good internet in so long that I got carried away with the photos-- I hope you enjoy them.

1 comment:

Sailor's Bride said...

The photos are wonderful! My husband looks forward to all your postings and is tracking you on Google earth. We are still waiting for the exhaust to get done. I think you guys have better luck out in the Pacific than we do here in SW florida when it comes to repairs.

Good luck on the rally, we will be rooting for you!!!!