Tuesday, June 10, 2008

DAY 226: Aurora Kakadu to Bark Hut Roadhouse

6th June 2008

95 km @ 16.9 km/hr

Cloudy, 30 deg C

Elevation of destination xxx m

Distance to date 13885 km (8678 miles)

Well, the dingos weren’t a problem and it was a very quiet night. I did have to kill off a lot of mozzies once in the tent though - they were clearly getting in somehow - and I think I know how; there are a few little holes in the mesh inner that I will have to sort out in the morning. On waking I realised I had been bitten a few times whilst asleep. After breakfast I set to with the Duct tape and actually found about 10 holes up to around 5mm - plenty of room for a resourceful mozzie. As I understand it they are attracted initially by the CO2 we breathe out - is this true? Then they can sense the pulsing vein or artery to inject into. The tent is somewhat the worse for wear, and if it deteriorates further I may dump it rather than bring it home after the trip. I have slept in it over 200 times though, which is probably more than most tents used for a holiday only once a year.

The receptionist here yesterday had warned me that the bore water should be boiled, and while I thought this might just be simply a cautionary approach, I didn’t take any chances given the few gastric upsets I’ve already endured this trip, and filtered 3 litres with the Katadyn for use today. It certainly tasted fine after that, even though I haven’t loaded the 3rd stage carbon granule filter that is supposed to improve taste.

A dingo was wandering around the camping area this morning as bold as brass, and I also saw another one scavenging at the side of the road just after I got on the road - there’s certainly plenty of rubbish there to go at! At the front of the place beside the road on a large area of grass hundreds of Corella were assembled, all pecking around at some tasty delicacy. They are such playful characters like most parrot-like birds - in one of the films I watched at the Bowali Centre some Corellas were playing together with sticks and feathers - pretending to have a tug-of-war, and stealing them from each other, all during the wet, a time of plenty when lots of food was available. Traffic had to slow down as they wheeled around and across the road.

The road was quietish as yesterday, and the SE wind was behind me again so it was an easy ride. Scenery not as nice as recent days but OK - mixed woodland with several interesting river crossings - South and West Alligator Rivers and their various branches. There are no Alligators in Australia but some explorer way back didn’t know that and they were crocs of course. This is one of the densest croc habitats in Oz as I understand it - every such crossing has “Exreme Danger” signs just to remind you of this, although I haven’t seen one of the beasts yet.

After 42km I was surprised to come across a rest area compete with toilets and tables, although the latter had no roof and looked a bit too exposed in the hazy half-sun, so I got in the shade of the very large Kakadu NP interpretive panels and got the billy on. As I was sipping my tea and eating my Scottish Finger biscuits a couple stopped by - and the guy was from Dundee originally. He was pretty impressed that I recognised his accent as Dundee, but not so much to offer me a cheese and tomato sandwich as he made some for him and his wife lol.

After 50-odd km I passed through the north entrance and out of Kakadu NP, though the scenery was no different of course. The tailwind continued to blow me on and in no time I was arriving at Bark Hut Roadhouse, where there’s a bar, restaurant and caravan park with pool. I decided to stay here tonight ($9 pppn) since Kingsley, my Warmshowers host for tomorrow night, would be out until late afternoon and I didn’t want to arrive too early.

After showering etc. I went to have a look at the Mary River Park 3km west of here down the highway, and was surprised to find it was a very nice caravan park too, with lots of nice grassy campsites by the river. There was no mention of this place that I saw in brochures or in road signs - the latter are usually numerous and overstated, but not this time obviously. Oh well, this place will do.

When I got back a Wicked campervan was just pulling up next to my tent - hmmm. Now stay cool, it’ll probably be OK - and I think it will be since the 2 Dutch guys came up to chat, and they seem very polite and sensible. They’ve just met 2 Japanese girls and are travelling with them now. I spent an hour down at the very nice pool, before cooking a very basic pasta with what little bits I had left.

It was still early, so I headed over to the bar clutching PDA and keyboard, and sat rather unsociably typing these humble events whilst everyone else discussed cars and other things with motors to drive them along. A young lady called Lily entertained us with some very good dancing - not bad for a 2-year old actually - and I showed my appreciation with a $2 coin which she ran off with before I changed my mind.

I have about 85km to do tomorrow so won’t rush - it’ll be nice to have company tomorrow night and I’m looking forward to meeting another fellow cyclist.

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