Big fish, little bird, Hardcore Croc

Trip Start Feb 14, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kakadu NP

The time had come for us to fly the nest of darwin and leave the 'love love love' of our new friends and all familiarity behind, our time here was done and we had a road upon which to travel. A few hours after this momentous departure we entered Kakadu NP. Now whilst this blog entry may not be littered with the usual sprinklings of hilarity you may have been expecting it is full of very Kakadu facts. Due to the area being only accessible by 4wd we spent less time here than originally planned. What we did see, however, was beautiful... sweeping floodplains, a vast array of wildlife, colourful aboriginal rock art, and lush green landscape for as far as the eye can see. Rising one morning at ohmygod o'clock we boarded the yellow water boat cruise which, once we had rubbed the sleepy dust from our eyes, gave us a serene dawn on the river.  We spotted several  large crocs (they is uuuurgleey), observed birds feasting on their fresh catch (eeewww stinky fish), saw eagles watching all the goings on below with their um...eagle eyes and much more. Now for those of you considering Kakadu as your specialist chosen subject on mastermind this is for you, anyone else who isn't  bothered by pub quiz fodder look away now; Horses are only present in Kakadu because the indigenous people wanted them to be continued as part of their culture and no other hard hoofed animal is permitted in the world heritage area,(including cats according to our tour guide). 3/4 of the country's bird species lives here in this expanse of 20,000 sqkm. It is also the home to the most aggressive crocs in the world. Due to record breaking rainfall in 2006 rising water levels to over 4m above sea level, the floodplains are still deep in water despite this being the dry season and they are not going to dry out before the wet season returns. The bininj people still live here and are involved in park management, afterall we white folk cannot be trusted to look after or sustain anything without destroying it, can we? Large numbers of plants and animals in abundance here cannot be found living together anywhere else due to the unusual geology of the area. Funky birds like the jabiru, the jacana, the spoon billed somethingorother all live in harmony here. Aboriginal rock art is still clearly visible in vibrant ochre colours making it easy to interpret their story telling. Controlled fires are burnt to clean the land allowing new vegitation to grow and the circle of life to continue. This nurishes the land and provides the indigenous people with new food resources. Their hunting begins not with the seasonal changes, as we recognise, but with changes in their environment as the climates gives new foods and takes existing ones from their land. And that folks is your lesson on Kakadu. Next week, Pythagoras theorem in latin.
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