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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Australia 2011 - Day 10, Part 1 - Katherine River Breakfast Cruise

"In politics, absurdity is not a handicap." - Napoleon Bonaparte

***

Australia 2011
Day 10 - 7th August - Katherine River Breakfast Cruise
(Part 1)

In the morning, we witnessed a strange sight on the TV. There were scenes of famous cities set to Placido Domingo: St Malo. Brussels. Salzburg. Bandar Seri Begawan (?!) with the header "what a world". The the weather report came on:


Australian Weather report - with Opera


Australian Weather report - with Opera 2

There was also the news in Mandarin, with a man on the street interviewed in English (and his response translated) and another person interviewed in Mandarin. There was no dubbing - it was subtitled both ways.

We then set out for our breakfast cruise. There'd been a 3 Gorges cruise, but the main difference was you got to swim for 2 hours in addition to what you'd get on the breakfast cruise - and the girl at the counter admitted it was "a bit chilly" (yeah right, "a bit").

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Loading up

There was a large Italian group of 15 on the cruise, and again we were the only non-Whites.

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Bats

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Sailing into the sunrise

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Inlet


Cruising the Katherine River

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An Australian Breakfast looked an awful lot like an English breakfast (the usual yogurt etc was at the back of the boat)

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Trap for saltwater crocodiles

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Sunrise

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Gorge walls

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Cruising up the Katherine River

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Freshwater crocodile nesting area. At 28 degrees the eggs turn out female, at 30 both sexes and above 30, male.

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You're not supposed to enter. Each mound has about 15 eggs.

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Cruising further up the gorge

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We had to sit at this point so as not to block the view of the captain of the rocks ahead

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We then docked at the first cataract, to get onto another boat and continue cruising.

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Rock steps

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Rocks in stream

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Canoe area

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Don't you just love tourist infrastructure? Not only were there carefully-hewn steps, there was a railing!

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First cataract

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"These paintings are like a book to us"

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Faded rock art

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Moored boat

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Jawoyn tips

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Aboriginal sand art and Italian lady

There were insulated containers placed along the short trail between the boats. Hah.

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Next cataract

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Spectating

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Cliffs

Up until this part we'd been in the First Gorge. Now we moved to the Second.

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The rock is 1.65 billion years old

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Butterfly Gorge

If you use red meat as your lure, you'll get snapping turtles and freshwater crocodiles coming.

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Hanging Gardens

During the 1998 Katherine flood, the water reached 15m below the 63m canyon wall. The streets were flooded and there were saltwater crocodiles in them.

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Cliff overhang

In the past, if you broke the aboriginal skin name taboo, you got speared to death. Who said colonialism was all bad?

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Vegetation

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These trees are bent not due to the wind but because they are underwater 2 months a year.

There's a tree, the Katebod (sp?) whose flowering cycle follows the freshwater crocodile. So it's called the calendar tree.

There's a chalky apple which you can only eat after it's fallen into the river and soaked in it.

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There's a 66km walk here - and it was booked till September.

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Happy canoeists

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Freshwater croc sunbathing. Usually they're very shy.

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The rocks in the canyon are a natural barrier against saltwater crocodiles, because they have soft bellies so they can't crawl over - except during the wet season.

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'Flying foxes' (I've always thought it a pretentious term)


Bats


Bats 2

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Bats
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