Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why'd It Have to be Boats?

Jenni is away and I've been left to my own devices this Darwin Cup weekend. Yep, we get a day off for the major yearly horse race. Pretty much every major city in Australia gets the day off for that city's major horse race. I think the Melbourne Cup is the biggest and probably a national holiday...

Since, I've exhausted most of my ideas (sitting around and doing nothing) I've decided to do a blog entry. We were invited to go on a canoe trip up the Katherine Gorge; which sounds like a beautiful trip. Unfortunately, I don't do so well on boats of any size. I got sea sick while learning to kayak in a swimming was a big pool. I do say that with a twinge of pride though. Anyway, smart woman that Jenni is, she went without me. I did go for the first night (Thursday 31-7-08) and camp at the base camp. There were lots of wallabies around. While driving to the campground, I actually hit one and most likely killed it. I tried to move out of the way but I just wasn't quick enough. Left me feeling pretty blue as they are such neat creatures, but I'm still not as bad as this guy.

The most exciting day was yesterday (3-8-08) when I got to be the 12th man for the Uni cricket club. The so called 12th man, 12th because there are only 11 players, was also known as the whipping boy, and consisted mostly on running and getting cartons of beers. I think Cricket (at least at this level) is the only sport where you actually consume more calories than you burn. Actually, I got to spend quite a bit of time on the field so that the bowlers could have a rest when their turn was done. Stopped a few, missed a few, but definitely improved since the last time I was on the field. There might still be a chance to turn pro...Unfortunately, after a good round of batting by the Uni team, the other team turned it around and won the game.

Last weekend (27,28-07-08) was another busy one. We went with a small group of people on a two-day bike ride from Darwin to Mandorah, 130km total. Any ride like that is of course difficult on some level (mostly at the level of your bum), but it was a lot of fun. We even had a support vehicle bring camping equipment to the campground for the end of the first day, so we didn't have to carry it.

We left at 6am on Sat morning. The hardest part of the first day was riding along the Stuart Highway, but it was early enough that traffic was pretty light. We stopped at some of the service stations where people were able to refeul on Coke and cheese sausages. Our first "real" stop was at Berry Springs where some people went swimming in the natural pools. The water was pretty warm, although it was disturbed by some of the local wildlife and their eskie (cooler) full of beer. This was about 10am, and they had turned up drunk, so either they were out all night or started about the same time we did. The trick to avoiding these types of people is to find a spot that is a mile or so up the trail, because they don't want to carry their beer that far...

We camped at a place called Tumbling Waters, and is a nice little campsite complete with an outdoor movie theatre and a crocodile pool. They were supposed to have a BBQ that night, but the cooks unexpectedly and inexplicably left, so we decided to head over to the Litchfield Pub. On the outside the Litchfield Pub looks like a mix of Tourist Bar and Local Bar, and for the most part that is what it is. Surprisingly the food they served was something more than pub food, and verged on gourmet. How many times have you encountered melted feta on toasted pita bread with fresh vegetables in a Pub?

The next day was a little harder for me, having already ridden ~60km the first day (I'm using kilometers to make it sound more impressive and longer). But we made it to Mandorah and had a celebratory bag of crisps at the Mandorah Beach Hotel, and caught the ferry back across to Darwin. Yep another boat...Who would of thought there would be so many boats near the ocean? Anyhoo, it was a rather nice feeling when you rode down a hill that you knew you didn't need to ride back up it on the return ride. So catching the ferry back was worth it.

Berry Springs

Tumbling Waters' Crocodile

Night Herron

Darwin from Mandorah Beach

Mandorah Beach Hotel

This is where the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal Kids would go for their reeducation not that long ago.

Crossing the Finish Line

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Anonymous said...

David and Jenni,
I have just discovered your blog and have enjoyed reading every entry. I am an Australophile who lives in Florida, but have been to Australia 6 times so far..last time in 2006 and spent 10 days in the NT.

I'm so jealous of you getting to live there. I think I have much the same take on Australia and Australians as you do...quite a feeling of warm affection and it makes me miss being in Australia.

Time to start planning the next trip.
Lyn K.

David S. Lamb said...

Thanks for the comment. Glad you enjoy the blog!