SUNDAY 15 MAY PUNGALINA
We had been at Pungalina five weeks today. It had ceased to feel foreign or strange and we were really feeling at home.
We were up early, of course, at dawn. The river was gently steaming in the cool air of the early morning.
Ablutions were performed at the water’s edge. The rest of the morning routine occurred back up the hill, behind some bushes.
The fire was lit for water for breakfast tea and coffee, and we had cereal and toast from the supplies I’d brought.
Packed up the camp. Drove back to the lower river section, where O set off again with the slasher, to complete the rest of his track – another 20kms or so, and to slash a side track across to Big Stinking Lagoon, just to the west.
John set up to fish in the river.
I walked some way along the track that O had slashed, to find photo points, and watch birds. Then I sat near where John was fishing and watched him, and birds.
We could see lots of fish in the water below, including some big ones.
John caught a queenfish. Great – fresh fish for dinner, sometime soon.
While John was fishing, we saw a Brahminy Kite catch a fish, pulling it from the water further across the river. It dived down, grabbed the fish in its claws, then flew off.
O eventually returned to our fishing place, with the slasher. He decided to spend a little time fishing, too.
He initially used one of John’s rods and hooked a big something, but the line broke when the drag seized on the reel. He then went and got his own gear out of the Troopy and managed to land a much larger queenfish. He made it look so easy…..But then, he’d had a lot more practice.
O trundled off back to the Calvert crossing, with his tractor and we eventually followed with the Troopy, giving him time to get somewhat ahead.
It took nearly three hours to drive that section, because of the terrain. Much of the track there was over rocky ground – rough. The tractor was not that much slower than the Troopy!
Back at the ford, there was some discussion about relocating plant. We had two tractors and one Troopy at the river. John assured O that he was quite capable of driving one of the tractors along as far as the point, near Mystery Shovel Water Hole, where the side track to Bathtub Springs goes off. It was some 12kms. O wanted to leave the slasher there so that, when the area had dried out more, he could slash the loop track that led into Bathtub Springs and on around to near Kirkby Waters.
It was decided that John should drive the tractor with the slasher on, as this was more stable than the one with the blade, which was a bit risky on any slope. O could deal with that!
The Troopy was left to me.
John thoroughly enjoyed his tractor jaunt, though the seat was hard and he got jolted around a lot. It was not exactly a modern tractor with some form of suspension!
I drove the Troopy to the designated corner and waited for John and O to catch up. I collected John and we drove back to the van. O drove the blade tractor home, so he was somewhat later. We offloaded our gear, then did a vehicle shuffle to return the Troopy to the house.
That had been a most interesting and enjoyable couple of days. Having us around to help with things like vehicle shuttles obviously made things much easier for O.
I cooked our queenfish for dinner – as fillets. Yummy.