Thursday, 19 October 2000-Day 90
We spent the better part of this morning packing up our gear and arranging
it in the Land Cruiser and on the car-top rack. We didn't get out of the
motel until almost 11:00 a.m. After a brief stop at an Australia Post,
we headed east down the Kakadu Highway.
The drive is over a very nice macadam two-lane road with broad shoulders.
It was as nice as our old US federal highways in the 1960s and 1970s. Most
of the scenery was eucalypt woodland, this time with more trees than south
of Darwin. Nearly the entire landscape has been burned over, but now with
the rains we've had in the past week, the once blackened woodlands are
vigorously greening up and really look beautiful.
We crossed several rivers with wide floodplains and associated wetlands
such as the Adelaide and Mary rivers. Crocodile-viewing boat rides were
the order of the day at these places. The Mary river was in flood with
swirling muddy tan waters, but Wildman River to the east was nearly still
and almost clear. Apparently at this time during the premonsoon season,
thunderstorms are highly local.
We made two stops along the way. We had lunch in the Bark Hut Roadhouse,
a typical Australian bar/café/gas station/souvenir shop. I had a steak
and veggie pie and David and Mimi had the perennial barra sandwich and
chips. I swilled mine down with a spicy Bundaberg Ginger Beer. The second
stop was at the Mamukala wetlands where a large blind is available from
which to view water birds. Dozens of pied geese were rooting up the peat
at the edge of the water to get at edible roots and tubers. This blind
is essentially in the same condition as when I visited here in 1987.
We arrived in Jabiru, the headquarters of Kakadu National Park, about
4:15 and checked-in to the Kakadu Lodge and Caravan Park. David then hurried
off to try to get in touch with the Aboriginal Land Council officials in
order to be sure our permits and arrangements to film filesnakes are secure.
I sat in my room working on my laptop until David and Mimi knocked at the
door for supper. I ate kangaroo again, medium rare strips sautéed in garlic
and onions. It was delicious.