Fitzroy Crossing to Kooljaman via Horizontal Falls 2/07/2011-8/07/2011 by Mrs Kanga

Saturday, Jul 02, 2011 at 17:38


Day 78 - 02/07/2011

Fine warm day today at Fitzroy Crossing, but completely overcast. Headed out to Geikie Gorge via the Old Crossing only to find it closed. Still got to the gorge in plenty of time for the 9.30am cruise conducted by DEC ($28pp). Was surprised to see that the private Cultural Tour was running because the information I had found said only Monday to Friday. Interesting to see the pictures and markers showing how high the flood waters got. Peaceful, informative cruise but I was actually glad it was overcast because the boat has no shelter and we would have been frazzled. The scenery is quite lovely and we got to see lots of fresh water crocodiles as well as numerous birds. Stopped in at the Old Crossing Inn on the way back, hoping to get some morning tea or perhaps some lunch. Had a look round the Aboriginal art gallery there and Gordon bought a carved Boab nut from an old guy called Bob, doing them in the car park. Wandered around, found the staff having an early lunch, but they don’t start serving the public until 12, as it was only 11.30 we headed back to camp and made our own lunch. Headed back in to the Rodeo, couldn’t find the guy or stall that offered us the job.Camp drafting had just finished and the Bull Riding wasn’t due to start for nearly an hour so we grabbed a drink then found a spot to watch the action from. Once the first rider was off, the clowns had a lot of trouble getting the bull out of the arena. The next couple were a bit more co-operative. Then one of the next bulls climbed out of it’s waiting stall, in to the arena, breaking it’s leg in the process. We watched in horror as it was herded out of the arena by the clowns, with its right rear leg dangling about. Having been traumatised enough for one day, we promptly left. That night we went to the bar for dinner, Gordon and Adriane having the Calamari Rings and Andrea and I opting for the Caesar Salad followed by the Sticky Date Pudding and Ice Cream. Were stunned to find that a can of Jack Daniels and Coke at the bar was $11.80 ($8.50 at HV8, $10 at ELQ).

Day 79 - 03/07/2011

Booked in for another night and grabbed some $1 coins for the washing machines, some take 3 and others 4.Our camp neighbours had been to the restaurant last night and it sounds like we got better value for money at the bar. They were off to Derby today, their 47th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow. After breakfast Gordon and Andrea went out to do the reef walk at Geikie Gorge while Adriane went fishing at the old crossing and I caught up on some computing. All back at camp for lunch and Adriane told us about the one that got away. Adriane then started to master the art of whip cracking, with a little help from YouTube.Gordon quite rightly thought that all the noise might be disturbing the serenity of our fellow campers and suggested he take it elsewhere. So he decided to go fishing again and walked to the bridge. Had dinner then made a few phone calls (Telstra coverage only).Gordon spoke to our camp neighbours who had been to the rodeo today. Sounds like a similar think happened to a horse today that happened to the bull yesterday not to mention a child getting hurt poddy riding. It’s one thing having an event that showcases the skills of the riders and their horses but it is completely unnecessary to subject these animals to such fear and torture and label it entertainment.

Day 80 - 04/07/2011

Packed up camp at Fitzroy Crossing and headed for Derby. Adriane had booked us two nights at West Kimberley Lodge and Caravan Park so we checked in ($33pn) and set up camp.Gordon and Andrea went out for lunch and grabbed some supplies, Adriane went hunting for some tyres and I went for a wander down to Woolworths.Gordon and Andrea returned with another carved Boab nut. They got talking with the lady (Maddie) doing them under a tree in a car park and it turns out that she is Bob’s cousin(the guy that did their other one in Fitzroy Crossing). Went down to the Jetty at sunset and had dinner at the Catch restaurant. They were a bit short staffed so service was a bit hit and miss and the food was nice enough, at least I didn’t have to cook! Bumped into our neighbours from Fitzroy Crossing having an Anniversary dinner. The view of the jetty and sunset was lovely. Went for a walk down the jetty after dinner, only catfish being caught by a lady there. Wouldn’t want to fall in, the muddy tide wash rushing through at quite a pace. Back to camp and we ALL played cards, Andrea won.

Day 81 - 05/07/2011

Fine and hot today. Adriane went out to get some fuel and I asked him to see if he could find Uno at the toyshop. He came home with both fuel and Uno. We packed the campers up had some lunch then waited out the front for our 2.15pm pick up for our overnight Horizontal Falls trip. Taxi van picked us up and took us to Derby Airport to await our flight. The seaplane soon arrived, offloaded it’s passengers, refuelled then our pilot, Jethro, welcomed us aboard with the usual safety briefing.Gordon, as usual, opted to sit up front with Jethro and the rest of us piled in behind.Gordon had noticed Jethro’s English accent and got talking to him on the plane, only to find that he knew Andrea’s cousin in England and had flown with him in the RAF. We circled the falls a couple of times before landing in Talbot Bay. We were greeted and shown to our cabin by the lovely Celina. We were in the Dugong Cabin which had a double bed with a single bunk over it. We quickly changed in to our bathers for a quick dip in the shark cage, while Celina tempted the sharks with some fish carcases. She also enticed the resident Groper called Gordon to launch out of the water with it’s mouth gaping for a feed. I barely had time to shower off before we climbed aboard the fastest tour boat in Australia, 600hp and 20 feet long, and headed out to the floating shed that the boys (male crew) call home, complete with hammock, vege garden, and disco ball. The skipper (Adrian) fed the friendly Moon Fish with bread and showed us how he could pick them up for a cuddle, he even had names for some of them. He then took us through the outer and inner falls as the tide was only about a meter difference. Quite an amazing experience to say the least. He then took us back to the boat just in time for sunset, drinks(BYO) and nibbles on the upper deck of the houseboat. Had a nice chat with Celina and the other two couples on board, Trevor, Lou, Jack and Amanda. Enjoyed a dinner of BBQ Barra and salad followed by a choice of deserts.Kimberley Xplorer boat was moored nearby otherwise we had the bay to ourselves. Had a fairly early night because we were due another trip through the falls in the morning with the people on Kimberley Xplorer.

Day 82 - 06/07/2011

Couldn’t sleep so Adriane and I had a wander around the decks at about 2am, lots of fish about. Back to bed, I moved to the top bunk because it was a bit hot, noisy and claustrophobic down below. Still couldn’t get much sleep, Adriane got up at ten past five and I followed him twenty minutes later. Put the urn on and had a cuppa and were gradually joined by Celina and the rest of the guests for breakfast. At 6.30am Adrian went over and collected the people off the Kimberley Xplorer before coming back for us to take us for another spin through Horizontal Falls. There was a much higher tide variation than yesterday so we could only go through the first gap but it was spectacular to see the difference in height of the water. All too soon it was time to go back to the boat and on to the seaplane for a flight back to Derby. Hitched up the campers, grabbed some shopping then headed for Cape Leveque. Turned off the highway at the Coloured Stone building through a gate up a private road towards the cape. Bumpy and sandy track with a couple of wet sections, the second one being a couple of hundred metres or more. Found a chicken track around that one, stopped for a quick bite to eat around one o’clock before pushing on and eventually joining the Cape Leveque Road. Good to be back on the bitumen for a while before taking the Middle Lagoon turnoff. Lots of boggy bumpy sand, followed the signs to Goombaragin where we were booked for two nights. Kathleen Cox was there to greet us and show us around before leaving us to set up camp in a freshly cleared spot with views of the ocean. We mentioned to Kathleen that we had met her Niece ( Sarah) at the Age of the Dinosaurs in Longreach, she was pretty amazed, so were we, small world eh.

Day 83 - 07/07/2011

Up by 7am, quite windy, everything covered in a blanket of yellow pollen and flowers from the Acacia (Wangi)trees. Had breakfast before Gordon, Andrea and I went beachcombing via the steepish steps down the red and rugged cliffs to the beach. Tide was out so the rocks were exposed. Andrea and I drew a smiley face in the sand for Adriane to photograph from the cliffs above. Decided to drive out to Whale Song Café intending to have morning tea or possibly lunch. Were pleasantly surprised, the location is overlooking the sea from a beautiful shady veranda. By now the day was quite warm with only a slight breeze. There isn’t a huge selection here but what they do, they do well. We started by ordering drinks, tea for Adriane, coffees for Gordon and Andrea and I had a freshly squeezed fruit juice(delicious). While we enjoyed our drinks, we ordered a couple of their Gourmet Pizzas.Well to cut a long story short, we ended up staying there for about four hours enjoying the view, company and delicious food and drinks.Well worth the sandy, boggy, bumpy drive if you are out this way.

Day 84 - 08/07/2011

Packed up and out of camp by 8.45am. Nice to get back on the black top for the relatively short drive to Kooljaman. Their new reception/restaurant building is very flash, checked in for our four nights here ($41pn powered). Adriane booked us all on the Mud Crab Tour tomorrow morning($60pp) with Kathleen Cox‘s Uncle Vincent Angus! All the local people up here seem to be related. Took a while to set up camp as it was quite warm by now and I decided we would put the awning up for the first time this trip. They run on solar hear so powered site doesn’t include air con, toaster, microwave and the like, so I assume that included bread machines. Had some lunch then drove down on to the beach, picked up some shells and went for a swim before heading back to camp to relax.Gordon said he would play Uno with Andrea and I if Adriane would play but he refused and went fishing instead. So it was back to the Cryptic Crosswords.
Tempus Fugit

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