To the top we go
After a lovely relaxing week in Darwin we packed up yet again and headed out through Kakadu to Jabiru where we spent the first night before embarking on the long journey up to Cobourg Peninsula. Jabiru is a mining town about three hours east of Darwin in Kakadu national park. A geat camp ground complete with pool ( avery cold pool) and lots of shady trees.
Our first stop the next day (Maya’s birthday) was Cahill crossing on the Sout h Alligator river just inside Arnhem land. So named because of all the alligators i assume. At this time of year there are neap tides so very little water at the crossing. I was hoping for water half way up the door and crocodiles floating by but it was not too be. Maybe on the way back!
We then hit the dirt and very corrugated road which we were to endure for the next five or six hours. We had not got very far and we got a flat tyre. Luckily we were not far from Onpelli (an aboriginal community) where they patched/plugged out tyre. Phew!
Off we went again hoping we wouldn’t get another flat tyre. However, that was not to be. About 150 kms in of the 330 km journey we destroyed TWO tyres. One on the car and one on the camper trailer. This meant we had no more spares!!!! As you can imagine the last 100 odd kilometres were slow and i was feeling rather anxious. Another flat meant we would be camping on the side of the road until someone with same tyres would ‘lend’ us one of theirs or we wait for someone to bring some in. Neither options is a good option.
About halfway along the road we came across another aboriginal community and it was this point on that the lovely grader men had smoothed out the road for us. It was heaven, and such a relief. The road was graded for about 70 kms which got us into the national park. The road did deteriorate again but not as bad as we had experienced earlier in the day. Dave and Alison lost two boat trailer mud guards as well. We continued on until we reached … finally … Smiths point, our campsite for the next 4 days. I have never been so relieved to reach a destination as i was this one. We still had to get all the way back out but at least we had four days to enjoy first. And enjoy we did.
The peninsula is a series of headlands surrounded by blue, green ocean, sandy beaches and glorious sunsets. Such a shame we can’t swim in the water. And full of fish. Dave was very keen to get out in the boat and start fishing for our dinner. Jeff took the first shift and they ventured the seas in search of Spanish makeral, Queen fish, Trevally or anything else we couuld make a meal. They returned with Queen fish and trevally which was delicious with our green mango salad.
I took the boat shift the next day and spent six hours hunting down fish. We watched the sunrise as we ventured out and it was beautiful and calm, perfect for fishing. Not long and i caught my first fish – a baracouda – which are not very nice eating so we let him swim another day. We saw lots of fish and hard as Dave tried the makerals alluded him. We got another Queen fish though. And i saw my first crocodile in the wild. A 3 metre salty sitting in amongst the mangroves. While Dave fished i kept my eye on him. He did swim after us a we circled back past him and i was very keen to ‘move’ on from the mangrove river tributary and find the open water again.
The beaches were great and the kids enjoyed many hours making sand castles, fossicking around for sea shells, looking in the rock holes and finding turtle shells while we chipped oysters off the rocks and watched some flat back turtles swim around. Always with one eye out for crocodiles!!!
The weater unfortunately got a bit windy which meant we couldn’t go out fishing on the third day. Instead we went exploring along the coastal road and to do some bait fishing at caimen creek. Ten minutes into it and Jade caught her first fish – a rock cod. A motley skinned, wide mouth fish that looked just like a rock. But he tasted good! No more fish to be had so we headed back to camp via another beach where we left Dave and Jeff to fish further.
Dave landed a 25 kg baracouda – it was enormous. It took him around 15 minutes to reel in and he could barely hold it up for Jeff to take the picture. What a shame we can’t eat it. Jeff, well he caught a fish too – a tiny tiny garfish that he didn’t really catch, it caught him. He was trawling in with a massive lure that was bigger than the fish he caught and he hooked it through the head. Poor garfish …. ! Look closely, thats the garfish hanging under the big blue lure. So proud he was.
A few more piccies to give you an idea. It was gorgeous.
And so to finish the story …
We drove out the 330 km and didn’t get another flat tyre. Very happy to see the bitumen road 30 km out of jabiru. Stayed in camp ground for two nights and are heading into kakadu to see some more billabongs. The car is presently getting some new shoes fitted ready for more bumpy roads across the gulf.
Stayed tuned for next installment. Not sure when that will be. Internet is scratchy from here on i imagine.