Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 20: Looking for crocs on the Alligator River

Greetings all
Well we were a mess as we crawled out of bed on Thursday morning. I managed a few hours sleep - others managed more. Sorry - I know it's cold and wet in Welly but the heat and humidity here is something fierce.

I was up before 6am and showered and we set about breaking camp and packing our gear, knowing that things would be packed and not unpacked for some weeks as we fly home. We got organised quite well but then Garth decided to fire up his white-spirit stove for the first time in a while so he could make coffee. Unfortunately the o-ring on the spirit bottle was past its use by date and leaked petrol out onto the dry grass where it promptly caught fire. Dick, Edgar and Garth did great imitations of cooroberee as they stomped the flames out while I cried exclamations of encouragement and moved Helga well out of the way. All finished ok and Garth decided at that point that perhaps coffee could come later.

D & I had booked into a rivercruise on the Alligator River some 40kms on towards Darwin and up a side road so we were on the road by 7.30. We arrived at the boat launching area and waited for some time before being joined by some other tourists and the guide - a young(ish) aboriginal woman called Tess who drove the boat and delivered the commentary.

It was at this stage that we learned that seeing a croc on that day was rather unlikely. However it was a pleasant cruise up the river with a stop off along the way and some great escarpments. I'll post photos when i get home and can get organised.

Back on shore at 11am and we set off to Darwin. I was really conscious of my little sleep on the road earlier so I was taking care, especially as we had had no breakfast - I am travelling with Mr Muesli I'll have you know. So the first chance we got we stopped and had a Mrs Mac's for breakfast. Mmmmm. Still very hot and humid so lots to drink as well.

We then went on the 200kms or so into Darwin to the BMW dealers to check on the arrangements for servicing. While we were there Edgar and Garth turned up yet again. So many final farewells!!!

Things were mostly ok with the BMW arrangements but there was some difficulty I really didn't understand the problem about fitting new tyres to Helga so I ended up going back up the highway some kilometres to a shop called NT Motorcycles and talking to them about suitable tyres - I need something that will allow me to pucker less in the sand but can still handle well on the tar seal. Unfortunately they could not fit them then, or the next day, so I reserved a set of tyres and will have to leave it to BMW to do the fitting. Hope it works!

In the meantime Dick, Edgar and Garth had gone on into Darwin to organise some accommodation. We thought that would be easy but oh no!!! Too many conferences in town. In the end Edgar and Garth took off to find accommodation back on the road to Katherine and Dick and I took a big breath and booked into the Sky City Casino. Expensive but we were glad that we did because the food and drink was sooooo cheap and the service was fantastic. And the air con ...... ahhhhh the air con was blisssss zzzzzzzzz.

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