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Bruce Means began work on an hour-long documentary film for National Geographic Explorer called QUEST FOR THE RAINBOW SERPENT, in April 2000. This will eventually include 3 trips to Australia. Follow his adventures by reading his field journal entries at this site. Bookmark this spot and check back periodically to see what Bruce is up to.
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Sept. - Oct. 2000

Summer 2000

April 27 - June 28

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.

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© 2000 D. Bruce Means all rights reserved.