WEDNESDAY 16 AUGUST DARWIN
Some, reading this, might wonder why we were not visiting the better known tourist attractions in Darwin, like croc farms, the wonderful Museum, the fish feeding, and so on. Reason was that we had been to these places on previous visits; in my case, repeatedly. So this filling-in-time sojourn was more for filling in some gaps and visiting lesser known attractions.
We drove to Cullen Bay Marina, to catch the 11am passenger ferry across to Mandorah, from the terminal there.
The tidal fluctuations and water height inside the Marina are controlled by lock gates at its entrance. The ferry jetty was outside the actual Marina, in a kind of basin formed by a rock breakwater wall. This saves the ferries from having to go through the somewhat tedious and time consuming lock procedure. Presumably though, in bad weather, they would go inside and moor safely until it passes.
Tickets cost $9.50 each. It only took us a bit under 20 minutes to cross the Harbour to the Mandorah side. We passed close by an LPG tanker on its way into Darwin Harbour and the port facility at Wickham Point.
There were interesting views back towards Cullen Bay Marina and to Darwin City centre.
The jetty at Mandorah had decks at different heights, to allow for the large tidal range. We disembarked onto a lower deck – tide was down.
We were not impressed with Mandorah. It was all rather basic. A rough track led from the jetty to the nearby hotel. Apart from that, dusty dirt roads went in a couple of directions -but there did not seem to be anything around that was really worth walking to.
We had assumed we would eat lunch at the hotel. But the pub and its lunch meal offerings did not appeal. Decided to catch the 1pm ferry back to Darwin and eat there.
There had been some ongoing controversy over plans to build another hotel here, possibly replacing the existing one, possibly closer to the ferry.
The hotel had a superb setting, right near the sea. Outlook great. But visitors could mainly only sit around in a cement floored area, under a large roof formed by an overhanging building, at long communal tables.
Oh well, that was one more place crossed off the mental list of those I had long been curious about.
I had a text message exchange with daughter, about where we were, the markets tomorrow, and so on. She wrote about how, one day, they hope to travel, with the grandson in tow.
It was back onto the ferry and across the entrance to Darwin Harbour, to Cullen Bay.
Drove around to Nightcliffe and bought fish and chips, then drove back around to East Point, where we parked overlooking the sea and sat out on grass to eat our lunch. It was much more pleasant than at Mandorah.
While we were lunching, John took a mobile phone call from R at the construction company but finished the call somewhat confused. John “thought” the man said we were hired! There was apparently some talk of our training. It all seemed to John a bit confusing and vague though, with nothing definite re dates or meetings. But what did the man phone to say, if not that?
Went to a place called Fone Zone, at Casuarina. There, John spent $299 on some internet link up thing that might improve our internet access in the van. Emphasis on might.
Back at camp, we phoned our house sitters. They could not extend their stay at our place, because they had to go back to Tasmania.
M, who sold up her place back in 2004 and whose only home base was to stay with her mother, said she would live at our place and mind it and the cat, for however long was needed. She would time her return to coincide with the sitters’ departure. That solved more than one problem.
I tried again to suggest that I could go home. No joy!
Phoned son and daughter. Neither were happy about the idea that we would not be home until Xmas. Well – neither was I!