This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2005 Travels June 29

WEDNESDAY 29 JUNE     PUNGALINA

Another day of work.

I shut down the dining tent. Took the tablecloths from there, and from the breakfast tables, for washing and when dry put them away in the plastic container in the kitchen tent, for next time.

Mopped the dining tent floor, stacked the chairs.

Started the kitchen clean – a few day’s work there to do it thoroughly. The stove and oven alone made a big cleaning job.

The corn that John had planted by our van was growing nicely. He did more work in the vegie patch today.

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Quite a contrast to when we first arrived here. Vegetation drying out. Access track widened and smoothed by our constant use.

It was noticeable how much the country was now drying out. Green weeds had died down. The grass was browning off. The “deciduous” trees were dropping a lot of leaves – evident from the big one by our van, and in the quantity of leaves appearing on the camp lawns.


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2005 Travels June 28

TUESDAY 28 JUNE     PUNGALINA

Back to work.

M got away early. We hoped she negotiated the driveway safely, and that the rest of her trip went smoothly. We wished she had a HF radio, so at least we could communicate that way.

I stripped the beds in the tents and took all the washing – sheets, pillow cases, towels, tea towels – up to the house to be done. There was a lot of it! A helped. While the guests had been in, she had done a great job of helping out.

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The main house. Troopy at left end, other end was kitchen, living and sleeping area. Wall of wood slices and mud. Washing machine on verandah.

When stripping the tents, I found that one of the guests – a lady journalist – had left a rather exotic looking night dress behind. We had guest details filed, so I was able to package up the item and put it in the bag for this week’s mail plane.

I faxed through the supermarket order for this week’s plane – a mix of things for A, the camp and for me. I needed soy milk for my breakfast cereal. Yet more flour for bread was needed – a total of 6kg.

The tent water jugs were cleaned up and put onto the “pantry” shelves, for next time.

I washed out the various fridges and did other tasks to get the kitchen back in order and in stand-down mode.

We did a stock take of the drinks remaining in the camp fridge, and up at the house.

John was able to get in some much needed weeding and care in the vegie garden.

Cane Toad Clearing seemed rather empty, without M’s rig set up there. At the same time, it was rather nice to just be the two of us there again, sitting out with the dings, enjoying our beers and sunset.

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The area where our friend had been camped

I was rather hopeful that my son and his little family would be able to visit us sometime in August. Before leaving home, we had discussed a possible trip with them – flying to Mt Isa, hiring a 4WD vehicle, and visiting Adels and here. We’d packed our big camping tent and associated gear, for just such an event.


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2005 Travels June 27

MONDAY 27 JUNE     PUNGALINA

Our second day off – to make up for the one we missed last week.

A leisurely start to the day – suddenly, we appreciate these anew!

There were all the usual chores to be done – like vegie garden watering. While that was happening, M pruned the citrus trees in O’s yard. He had wanted that done, but wasn’t sure of the best way to do so. M had the knowledge.

Then we packed some snorkelling gear from the camp and drove to Bubbling Sands.

Snorkelling in the pools there was a brilliant experience. The water was a pleasant temperature and totally clear. Mostly, the range was from waist to chest deep on us – they were much deeper than they appeared.

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The pale green foreground vegetation was actually growing under half a metre of water

Using the snorkel masks allowed us to see an incredible underwater world, close up. I wished, so much, that I had an underwater camera. There was lush growth around the edges of the pools. One could see, close-up, the water bubbling up from the sandy bottoms of the pools. Where these little springs bubbled away, there was no plant growth.

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No vegetation on the bottom of the pool, where water was bubbling up

I wondered how old this water was? How many aeons it had been since it had fallen as rain, wherever, permeated into the ground water layers, and made its way along, before emerging here?

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There was a surprising volume of water flowing down stream

We spent quite a while there, enjoying both the swimming, which was a bit of a rarity here, and the unique pools.

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Back to camp for a late lunch, then we just lazed about for the rest of the day.

O had offered to take M for a flight in the Jabiru and show her much of the place from the air – in appreciation of her contributions whilst here. She accepted the offer with alacrity, and really enjoyed the flight.

M then had to get her stuff together, so she could get away in good time tomorrow. Her plans involved following the Gulf Track around through Borroloola and Roper Bar, to Mataranka. Then she would be driving through Arnhem Land, to Gove, to visit friends who were teaching there and take in the Garma Festival. Adventurous lady. We would probably catch up again in Melbourne, closer to Xmas.

 

 

 


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2005 Travels June 26

SUNDAY 26 JUNE     PUNGALINA

We now had two days off. The first for two weeks.

Decided to take M down to the lower Calvert, which she had only seen, quickly, from the air.

Packed a picnic lunch. I took the back seat, so M had a better field of vision.

We showed her various sights and features along the track, and told her of our various exploits associated with particular spots – like at the creek crossing where we could not find where O had exited.

I took some photos of an unusually shaped tree: like a heavily pregnant one, due to a huge burl!

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We stopped briefly at the Calvert crossing, so she could get out and have a good look up and down the river there. Churned up the steep ridge on the other side in low range.

We drove in to look at Big and Little Stinking Lagoons – we had not seen these before. Horrible names for some really pretty places. Could be because the waters do not look drinkable?

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Little Stinking Lagoon

There was some evidence of feral pig rooting in a few areas at the edges of the lagoons. These were on Seven Emu Station, rather than Pungalina, and I wondered whether they had, at some time, poisoned dingoes and thus allowed the pig population to increase? It was nowhere near as bad as we had seen in places like Cape York, though.

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Big Stinking Lagoon

We were rather cautious around the lagoon edges. This was not that far from the river, and the coast, so it seemed to me more likely than not, that there would be a resident saltie croc, though we saw no evidence of same.

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We had lunch at the Lagoons, walked along exploring some of the banks, then returned to the Calvert.

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Island in lower Calvert – looking back upstream

It was a beautiful day – warm sunny, not too hot, blue sky. Just the best time of the year.

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Lower Calvert River – looking downstream

Spent some time at the river, but neither M nor J was inclined to do any fishing. We just walked around, looking, watched birds.

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Yellow bellied flycatcher

 

It took so long to get down to the “coast” (though the track did not actually reach the sea), that there was not time to spend too long there – unless one left camp at dawn, and we certainly hadn’t.

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Rocket like pandanus on the Calvert bank

The track had not gotten any smoother. O had not brought the visiting group down any further than the Calvert crossing, so the only traffic that had been on the lower part of the track, since we cleaned it up, had been O with L, when she visited.

It was almost dusk when we got back to camp.

 


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2005 Travels June 25

SATURDAY 25 JUNE     PUNGALINA

We were able to sleep in just a little later this morning, because the two guests had said they wanted a later start to the day.

We saw them breakfasted and sent them on their way, with the slightly ceremonious farewell at the airstrip, that had become our norm.

Their comments:

* A very special place – we are so privileged to have shared it with you all. The camp is fabulous, but the Pungalina Billy Cart was favourite, crocks, dingoes, bowerbirds, rare birds, quinine trees, and FINE WINE!!! A special thanks to E, Wendy and John, M, A, W and O.

The cavers group also left today, driving out.

Their comments:

* Fantastic trip

* Thanks for the great opportunities.

* Top spot. Great people.

*Terrific place and terrific people.

* Great people and a great place made a great time.

*Too good to be true but it is.

The campers who had been in for two nights left today.

John refuelled the Truck – it had done 442kms since last time.

I cleared out the kitchen fridge and the big drinks fridge, and the two portable fridges we had been using, and took all the perishable contents up to store in the house fridge and freezer. Then, the generator could be turned off and we would have daytime peace again.

And we fell in a heap – able to relax after a very intensive period. I decided I would worry about getting the safari camp cleaned up after M had left – we would focus on her right now. Her help over this time had been invaluable – a really hard worker. She had gotten to see quite a bit, as well, by going out with the large group for some of the time.

While the group was here, the dingoes had spent much of the time tied up at the house, so that they would not visit the camp. Occasionally, O would bring one of the females down with him, and keep a close eye on same, because the guests really liked interacting with dingoes! I used to send the left over food scraps back to the house with him, last thing at night, for the dings. I was missing having them about!

Now, they appreciated having their freedom back again and soon visited us, checking out that all was well with us. I loved the way that Scunge could stand at the doorway of the kitchen tent, with her toenails right at the tarp floor edge, and lean so far into the tent to check out what I was doing, without overbalancing.

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John and Scunge relaxing

The cavers’ group had left a sizeable “tip” with O. I think their camp site had been provided for free – in return for the knowledge they contributed about the cave systems. O tried to share that money with us – we refused, saying we were only doing our jobs. Then he tried to get M to take it all, in recognition of her hard work, but she refused, saying the experience of being here and seeing the place, and being fed, was all the reward she wanted.

We were able to have a relaxed happy hour at Cane Toad Clearing, talk over all the events of the past few days, and enjoy the sunset.

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