May 29 – Can’t believe I’ve been here almost 2 weeks – just looked at my log to check my arrival date, May 16! That’s the trouble with being a caravan vagabond, you just lose track of time day-to-day. There’s something here known as “Broome time”. I think that’s when you reach the stage where you have to ask “what day is it mate?” … and then I had such a rotten time yesterday and again this afternoon just sitting on the beach reading, swimming and later taking a long walk along this endless expanse of flat, white sand with the sun dropping into the Indian Ocean beside me.
It’s been a good rest for my Subaru and its driver. Staying off the highways has saved lots of petrol $$$. I took a tour with a local operator into Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek National Parks. I climbed into this huge 4 wheel drive off-road “bus” with about 10 other folks at 7AM and headed east towards the Gibb River Road. It was relaxing to sit back and let someone else do the driving, listen to the “story” of the region and enjoy the sights along the way – thanks Russell (tour guide).
The Broome area shares a sad history with its 1st nations people. Russell stopped off at the Boab (Baobab) Jail Tree. Just read the 1st few lines below and look at the picture. The photo tells the story. By all means, read all of it if you’re interested. You may have to click a 2nd time to enlarge the text.
Russell told us that the settlers who captured the aborigines would put as many as 30 captives into this “jail” tree and would leave them there for as long as 2 days while the settlers rested for the last leg of their journey to Broome. The tree is naturally hollow. Click a 2nd time on the trunk to see the opening. Russell wouldn’t walk into the site with us. He said he finds it too disturbing.
Russell stopped to let us have a look at some wildlife along the road. He may not look it in the photo, but this guy was a good 2 metres long, slithering across the road and into the grass.
This guy was crossing the road too – another good 2 metres nose to tail.
Some shots of Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek national parks.
This was a submerged ocean reef millions of years ago.
The river was filled with these creatures – not man eaters, but Russell cautioned us not to get closer than 3 or 4 metres.
The tunnel is about 1.5k’s long, closed at times when the water level is high and the river is flowing fast. There’s a swimming hole just beyond these people. I wanted a dip but no one else did, so not wanting to supply the entertainment, I didn’t.
Few words in this post and more photos – more scenes around Broome.
Willare Bridge Roadhouse
The soil has so much iron that it rusts.
Driving the empty roads out here where you can go a long time without passing another oncoming vehicle, folks have developed this wave routine when passing, usually driver to driver. If there was someone sitting beside me we’d be saying “car” to each other when one appeared. As to the waves, there’s the full hand off the steering wheel wave (rarely because it’s not cool), then there’s the common single index finger wave, sometimes a single thumbs up or even the 2 thumbs off the wheel. Never the ‘bird’. Often there’s the cool index finger, along with a big full-blown wave from the driver’s female passenger – haven’t seen a woman driving yet. Truckers don’t wave. The sophisticated don’t wave. Because you pass so quickly, you never know which one you’re going to get and if you don’t get one, you’re pissed, and if you forget to wave you feel badly when the other guy waves.
May 31 – preparation day to get on the road towards Darwin tomorrow, next stop Fitzroy Crossing. Darwin’s 1,900k’s away, a week or 2 for me. The campground rates here go up tomorrow from $33 to $45 – June, July, August – time to ‘stick it to’ the grey nomads.