Sunday, 2 November 2014

No Alligators here

We took a short drive down to East Alligator River and walked along the river bank to an observation platform next to a ford. The heat was still building and the thought of frying some eggs on the bonnet occurred, but we didn't want to scratch the paintwork and lose our deposit. 

The river was low and gangs of Salt Water Crocodiles lurked in the shallows. This area was explored by Lieutenant Phillip Parker King in 1820 who named the river in the mistaken belief that the crocodiles were in fact alligators. 

It is the only vehicle crossing point into Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. See this youtube video for an insight into its perils during higher water..... 

We took a cruise on the river where two Aboriginal guides provided an insight into their Indigenous culture – local mythology, the river’s abundant food chain, traditional uses for many plants and animals as well as a couple of bush survival skills. It was an enjoyable trip and the guides were more than willing to answer our many questions. By the way, the best way to cook a croc is whole in a fire pit!

We floated on top of the brackish water until the saltwater from the coast some 50km away gave way to fresh water from the xxxx. We were cheerfully assured that Salt Water Crocks did not appear in this stretch, although neither the guides or passengers were unwilling to test this claim by dangling a limb. 

With special permission from the local custodians we were able to disembark on the Arnhem Land side of the river for a short walk into Arnhem Land. Arnhem Land is Aboriginal land covering the eastern section of the Top End of Northern Territory, 100,000 square kilometres in total, which requires a special permit for visitors to enter.

The guides were very proud that their uncle had starred in the first Crocodile Dundee movie, which was filmed in this area. We met him briefly and he now sports a long white beard. 

In Arnhem Land looking back at Kakadu National park

Apparently just a "tiddler" - these beauties can easily grow over 5 metres. The largest every found was over 8.5 metres!

The only crossing into Arnhem Land from Kakadu, as good a place as any to fish - the Aussies are obsessed with "going for a fisho"

We must have seen over 100 crocs hanging around near the Arnhem Land crossing

The bulbous lump on the side of a paper bark eucalyptus generally contains water - a useful source during the dry seasons

Ochre used for paintings is ground and mixed with water and fat or resin to make a paint

Throwing a spear using a spear thrower increases the distance of the throw at least three fold. The throwing tool is specially made by each hunter to his own dimensions, it should equal the length if the forearm from the handle to the spiked end

Our two guides are brothers and were taught their bush skills by their father and grandfather. Their grandfather was a key figure in establishing Kakadu

Fish eagles hunting along the river

 What you looking at!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing some "Snap shots" tee hee of the National Park and Armhom Land! Awesome guys!!Xxx