Saturday 27 July
We arrived in Kununurra yesterday afternoon after decamping tents in the National Park and then back to the road junction to pack up the vans for the trek up the bitumen through scenery that included massive orange ranges and baobab trees. You have no idea what it felt like to see a large body of water after so long.
Today is a rest day (cough). As the upright fridge in the trailer died, we need more fridge capacity for a) food on the Gibb River Road or b) beer on the Gibb River Road, depending on who you ask.
The rest day has included washing clothes, repacking the van and car, purchasing a supplementary car fridge for the food/beer, replacing a mat in the van that scored a big olive oil hit, shopping for food (the beer and wine was purchased last night), and buying additional hot weather clothing for Himself.
Before breakfast, I wandered down to show you the view that we have from our site on Lily Creek Lagoon in this large service town for the district. Before you look at them, know that we are heading off again tomorrow in search of more dirt, rocks and corrugations as we have become so fond of them. Know also, dear ones, that I will be bringing you up to date wherever and whenever Telstra has seen fit to provide coverage.
1. When loading meat, particularly of the minced variety into the car fridge, be sure that it is:
a) already frozen
b) in a package that will not enable it to comfortably entrench itself into the cage of the freezer.
2. When heading out with a group of people for two nights into a camp where you must bring your own lodgings, water, food, shower facilities etc, always ensure that the second night’s meal is planned and that a conversation has taken place amongst all of you before hand. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t eaten a hodgepodge savoury mince for years (and that was a close thing, given point 1).
We did eat particularly well on the first night though after the boys ensured we had fire. They would have made great cave men.
They love to spend time making sure that the location of the camp is just right.
They have a fascination with fire, and a very useful ability to ensure that limited supplies of wood are distributed fairly among all campers at a site to ensure that we get to eat.
My personal favourite. They are VERY good at rigging up a private shower space for use after dusty walks in the Bungle Bungles.
In Michael Morcombe and David Stewart’s excellent Australian Birds app, the blue-winged kookaburra is described thus:
“More colourful than [the] Laughing Kookaburra but has rather unpleasant, staring white eyes.”
You be the judge.
The first three photos are of one visitor who popped in around dinner time on our first camping night in Purnululu National Park. He was so impressive (and somewhat of a poser) that I felt he deserved a post of his own. He returned the next morning with two mates.
Note that he is not called the Blue winged Laughing Kookaburra like his eastern less colourful cousin. That is because he has the unfortunate incapacity to complete the laugh sequence. His colour, though, is sufficient compensation for his vocal limitations.
We spent two days with the walking boots on, clambering over rocks to find palm glades, checking out the panoramic views from lookouts, tramping over river rocks that get smoother with flood waters most wet seasons, but are sucked dry of moisture at this time of the year.
Here are a few of my favourite shots from those walks. You may notice an attempt from me to be artistic somewhere in the mix.
Tuesday 23 July 2013 (written in Kununurra – 27 July)
At the junction of the Great Northern Highway and the road into Purnululu National Park is a van park which is where we spent Tuesday night. Before heading in with tents to spend two days walking the tracks around the northern and southern edges of the ranges we took a flight to get a sense of the scale of this World Heritage area.
I’m not going to provide details on size, dear ones, as I know you can Google it if interested and my brain did not retain the information being relayed by the pilot. This is why.
The West Australian of 22 June 1886 reported the discovery of gold near what is now the old town of Halls Creek in Western Australia. The current town relocated to its site after an airfield was built in 1948.
Today we pottered about the outskirts of town, visiting Old Halls Creek and its cemetery, Caroline Pool and the China Wall where I took a little time to sketch. It was a quieter day with the outing topped off by a visit to the Kimberley Hotel to quench thirsts on what was the hottest day of the trip thus far.
Before this afternoon, dear ones, I was going to keep you up to date with how well the van is going. It’s only little things that have been causing inconvenience since “the incident”. Let me explain.
Screws for instance. These little things, when combined with road corrugations, may decide to eject themselves from their resting place, leading to big surprises at the end of the day. Cupboards detach from ceilings, stove plates rattle and hinges come off doors.
Dust is also a little thing. When it joins forces with wind, road trains or water, the impacts can also add to the flavour of the day. Beer and dust mixed together make a nice mixture on the floor of the van, for example.
Refrigerant gas is a little thing. When it escapes from the fridge, it is also problematic.
This afternoon, after a short run from Wolfe Creek, we were ready to crank up the roof when the cable (a medium thing) detached again. Every picture tells a story.
All fixed courtesy of the Master of Improvising and Problem Solving and his trusty assistant who is becoming a dab hand with a screw driver and power drill.
Saturday 20 July – written in Halls Creek 21 July
The Djaru people call the crater Kandimalal. They knew of its existence long before this aerial photograph was taken in 1947 from Vacuum Oil Company’s survey plane and reproduced in The Horsham Times on 3 August 1948.
John Goldsmith is a radio astronomer and talented photographer of night skies. In June 2011, he wrote this post on the wonderfully rich Australian Indigenous Astronomy blog. In it he shares the aboriginal dreaming story of the crater where two rainbow snakes formed both Wolfe and Sturt Creeks and one of the snakes emerged from the ground to form the ring of the crater.
In 1999, I recorded a story about a “star” that fell from the sky and became buried in the ground, forming the crater. According to Djaru Elder Jack Jugarie, one day, the crescent moon and the evening star passed very close to each other. The evening star became so hot that it fell to the ground, causing an enormous explosion, flash, dust cloud and noise. This frightened the people and a long time passed before they ventured near the crater to see what had happened. When they ventured to crater, it was realised that this was the site of where the evening star had fallen to the Earth. The Djaru people then named the place “Kandimalal”…
Over 60 years after the first aerial photos, satellite imagery (via Google Maps) creates art of a majestic kind that can’t be replicated down here on the ground.
We camped at the reserve’s camp site mid-afternoon and took a short walk up to the crater site. The road in off the Tanami Track is currently competing for most challenging drive in terms of the corrugations and time taken to drive the 20 kilometres in.
Here are a few late afternoon snaps as the near full moon rose.