Tuesday, June 10, 2008

DAY 227: Bark Hut Roadhouse to Humpy Doo

7th June 2008

90 km @ 16.4 km/hr

Cloudy, 30 deg C

Elevation of destination 20 m

Distance to date 13975 km (8734 miles)

Guess what? I was kept awake again by my chatting and door-slamming neighbours. ‘Nuff said, too tedious to write. I got going soon after 8 but only got 4km when I saw a sign for the Bird Billabong, only another 5km down a road to the right, so as I had plenty of time I decided to have a look. The road was pretty rough gravel and badly corrugated, but I picked my way through it, and a walking path comprised the last 1.5km. Here there was a very good bird hide set over the waters of some 1km square bilabong.

I stayed about an hour in this peaceful place, and identified a few birds for the first time, such as the Rainbow Bee Eater, Radjah Shelduck, and Plumed Whistling Duck. As a bonus for 10 I saw a small herd of 7 wild pigs rooting around the banks. They passed within 10 metres of me but never knew I was there. They were smaller than I would have expected though - little bigger than a small dog though fatter; around 15kg weight. Perhaps they were a parentless young family....Anyhow on balance this was a nice detour and worth the effort.

I continued on with the wind mostly on my right, so not much help. I stopped at the Corroborree Roadhouse for bacon and eggs and was so thirsty downed 2 x 600ml iced coffees. I wasn’t feeling too positive today to be honest, maybe too many short nights of sleep are taking their toll.

I also stopped at the Windows on the Wetlands Centre, where there’s some good interpretation of the flora and fauna of these wetland areas. I also caught a talk by one of the rangers about cane toads (introduced species that are now out of control and poisoning and threatening extinction of lots of other different animals), the monsoon season floods, the attempt to grow rice commercially in this area and other subjects of interest.

Traffic was getting busier by the hour as I neared Darwin, although it’s not a huge city; around the size of Inverness at round 120,000 population, but it is a strategic city with busy port and airport and very popular with tourists.

I got to Humpty Doo and gave Kingsley a call, whereupon he came to meet me and escort me back the 4km to his house. We got on very well, both being mad about cycling, and talked for the rest of the evening about all kinds of stuff, bikes and otherwise. I was very tired and went off to sleep in an instant - a chance to get a peaceful night wasn’t lost on me.

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