Heat, rain and humidity is something we constantly battle every day. While crocs are always on our mind, attacks from sandflies and mosquitoes are a daily occurrence and cause much pain and itch round the clock. Relief came from our visits to Taracumbi Falls; a magical place with cool water and small pools above the falls. We also spend some time looking for dugongs at Pretty Flower a known sea grass feeding area for dugongs. Did not see any but saw a large shark swimming near the surface.
Our friend and host Bushy and Tommy, Andrew (aka Wolfie) and Emma with both their kids took us fishing near our camp during upcoming tide. At one stage it became very hairy as the tide came in and cornered us. Bushy had to round us up as we wade through croc infested waters to get to high ground. We got some large mullet and some whiting. On two occasions, Bushy’s line was practically pulled into the water and while fighting the fish, the line snapped on both occasions. Monsters must be lurking in the mangroves.
Self-sufficient living has kept us busy hence why our blogging is so delayed. Not to mention that we were off the grid for the first few days. We have since moved from Goose Creek to Milikapiti. Bushy felt he would feel more comfortable having us closer to his home so he can keep an eye on us. I equally feel safer knowing he is now a shorter distance away. We are now camping by the sea with a whole new landscape to enjoy. Nevertheless we are still sharing our days and nights near crocs as now we see them swimming by our camp site with eyes glowing in the evenings.
Anyway stay turned as more adventure to come once we are home and have our film night sharing our experiences on the Tiwi Islands. This night will be a fundraiser for Kiss Goodbye to MS showcasing all the highlights of the Tiwi Islands. So our blogs this time around will be shorter in duration and less descriptive than the Murray River expedition last year. So please enjoy some of our photos as a taster to this incredible journey. See photos for descriptions of our locations and the wonderful people we have met thus far. Until we write again in a few days enjoy Kiam’s amazing photography.
Wow our arrival on Tiwi was more than we expected in so many ways. The land was more pristine than I had imagined and the Tiwi people extremely generous in welcoming us on to their land.
Our first few nights saw us in an extremely remote location on Melville Island at Goose Creek. The land where we pitched our tent for the first few nights was on our host’s country. Bushy has become both our friend and family looking out for us from day one as we adjust to life on virgin land. Goose Creek is teaming with crocodiles, buffalo, wild geese, fish, dingos, wild horses and bird life. Words escape me to express the shock of coming from the suburbs in Melbourne to a life that still appears to be wild and free. On day one all my fears that I would be in close contact with Crocs came to fruition. Our camp site only meters from the river edge where Bushy nieces camped close by for the first couple of night saw seven crocs just off the banks. In the evenings the family after a day of hunting would feed the crocs the geese wings and necks on the banks in the hope that they would not venture up to our camp site. One evening the girls took us to the river’s edge to look for crocs with touches as their eyes light up orange from the light. In the moon lit sky we could see two crocs fighting and hear their powerful jaws crunching as they were thrashing around. Thank goodness we have a roof tent is all I could think. Our evenings would be filled with the occasional sounds of a croc splashing and their jaws coming together as they eat their prey. As I said Wow is the best description to use when expressing my introduction to the Tiwi Islands. Please see picture below.
Relaxing days in Darwin and surrounds. We spend quite a lot of time in Berry Springs (about 50kms from Darwin) just swimming and floating in the pools. The springs are quite special with 3 main pools that are clear and with lots of fish and freshwater turtles. The water is warm with a turquoise colour and relatively safe from crocodiles as they are patrolled twice daily by park rangers and with a crocodile management plan in place.
We also spend a night out watching a movie under the stars in the Deckchair Cinema. A must-do if in Darwin for this unique experience.
This is our last night before we head off to Tiwi Islands tomorrow morning. Our last feed at a restaurant in Cullen Bay as food could be scarce in the next 2 weeks especially with stormy days expected in the next few days; which could hinder gathering and fishing for food.
We are unsure if there will be reception at our campsite but will post as much as possible when at Pirlangimpi.
We farewell our 4WD and River Spirit at Sea Swift’s depot in Darwin; destination Pirlangimpi in Melville Island. There is an unexpected delay in our passenger ferry service and we will only be able to go to Melville Island on Friday. Thank goodness our 4WD and boat will be in the good hands of the Tiwi Islands Regional Council’s depot waiting for us on Friday.
This gives us time to explore Darwin in greater depth. Below are some pictures of our time in Darwin. To get a better perspective and in preparation for croc awareness and safety, we head to a crocodile ‘farm’ to see first-hand what they can look like and what they are capable of. They do look menacing especially the giant ones. We will definitely keep a minimum 5 meters from any water way and watch where we are going as they camouflage very easily into the natural surroundings.
We were greeted by this beautiful sunrise above the magnificent Flinders Ranges on our drive up north through the Explorer’s Way (Stuart Hwy). Interesting stops on roadhouses until we reached the unique opal mining town of Coober Pedy. Our motel was underground an a dugout – a very unique and interesting experience. Very sustainable with very constant temperatures regardless of outside conditions which can be very harsh. We looked at a number of attractions and one stood out, the inspiration for Crocodile Dundee which was Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest.
Another year and another exciting Kiss Goodbye to MS expedition – Surviving the Tiwi Islands! The challenge of this fundraiser is to live self-sufficiently off the land. In other words hunt and gather most of our food, survive the crocs,
snakes, wild boars, jellyfish & every other dangerous Australian animal. This might get interesting though as our only food source so far has been the local supermarket and we don’t seem to be very successful at fishing either. During our Murray River Expedition last year we only managed to catch one fish. The main lesson I hope to come home with though is an appreciation for nature and all she provides for us.
We couldn’t be more grateful to the Tiwi Islands Land Council and community for allowing us to be guests on their land. We have been corresponding with them for the past few months in preparing for our 2016 Kiss Goodbye to MS fundraiser and look forward to bringing all our experiences to our followers once again via the blog. The plan is that an elder will spend time with us the first week in learning how to hunt and gather and thereafter we will attempt to survive ourselves with little assistance.
It is expected that mainland Australians will be so inspired by our daily blog and amazing photos taken by my husband Kiam once again that people will feel motivated to make a donation in the hope of one day finding a cure for this insidious disease. But don’t worry if you miss the blogs as at the conclusion of our adventure will be producing a book and short film with proceeds going toward MS research. While I’m sure our blogs will most likely will be comical, reflective and display beautiful scenery I hope to also highlight the many challenges for someone living with MS symptoms as I cope with Island life and the many challenges it will pose such as the humidity and isolation with very little creature comforts. So stay tuned for the commencement of our journey as we head off on the 27th August with our car & boat on the 3,800kms long road trip up the centre of this great country of ours to Darwin and then across 90kms by barge to the beautiful Tiwi Islands.