We slept a little better tonight after stuffing newspapers down the step to block the safety light but I was a little worried it would build up heat and combust. Didn’t keep me awake for long though!
We woke earlier still this morning so definitely ate the biscuits with our morning cuppas as it was still a while until breakfast.
We chose not to exercise but took our cuppas out to the front of the boat and just sat at peace watching nature and stillness and feeling a treasured part of it. Just David and I in the middle of absolutely nowhere with just the water, trees and birds for company, it was very special. We spotted a kookaburra and had a few fly overhead and laugh at us – see the parked one below the L-shaped branch?
And below is the scene looking from the front of the boat. Blissful tranquillity I’m sure you would agree.
After a while we went back to the cabin and showered and got ready for breakfast and then went up and hung around the dining room door until the second it was announced and got in first. No reason other than being silly and fun and exuberant. It was then that I saw the spaghetti and danced around for joy hehehe.
There was a movie about the history of paddleboats at 10 am but we were too busy to attend. We were really getting into the laid back mode and chose to sit around drinking tea and watching the scenery silk by until we moored at Swan Reach, our northern-most point of the cruise. As we got off I slipped a note to Jason and David asked me what it was. I replied “Oh, just telling him I love him!” David didn’t bat an eyelid of course!
We were met here by a guide who walked us about 150 metres, pointing out places of interest and left us at the museum, free to look here and/or wander around the town as long as we were back on board for lunch. It turned out that the town bakery/butchers was the shop where our Ray used to work. He’d been both butcher and baker during his working years! It must have been odd for them being tourists in places that were so familiar to them!
We had to be back on board for lunch at noon but were there in time to go to the bar first. I had the day’s cocktail but it wasn’t up to the standards of the Procrasstinating Pelican, and David had a beer.
Outside the window I loved the effect of the topsoil on these cliffs.
We saw quite a few like it and I did not get to ask anyone to tell me about it. Hard to Google something you don’t know the name of!
At the start of lunch, Jason came and spoke quietly in my ear. David asked what he wanted so I said “Oh, just telling me he loves me too!” David, as always, took no notice. Jason was 22 I should mention hehehe. During lunch we cast off once more, this time sailing back down river, until 4 pm when we moored at Big Bend and were collected by a motley assortment of vehicles.
There was a 15 seater bus, a tractor with what could only be described as a wooden shed full of seats being towed behind (pictured here) and a small 4-wheel drive with a covered trailer also full of seats.
We had a bumpy, slow, dusty, very hot ride over a sandy track for perhaps 2 kms until we reached the destination for our woolshed tour.
They got us all seated in a shed with some big, cooling fans and the talk was really interesting followed by some demonstration sheep shearing and then an auction for 3 sheep that would race – winner takes all the money. Across the width of the shed was a large green pipe about 6 metres long with a single hole in the top and open at each end. One mad dog spent lots of time racing up and down inside it barking and presumably deafening herself and then popping her head up through the hole.
We did laugh and were completely entranced, more intent on the dog than the sheep shearing. We were all Aussies other than one Kiwi lady so I guess the shearing wasn’t news to anyone but it was a trip out and everyone enjoyed themselves. Oh, I lie – there was the Danish couple!
The dog was named Maddie because she was mad. The girl across the pipe from David in the photo belonged to the woolshed and was named Mardi so I always had to think twice as to which name belonged to which.
Outside, the shearer put a tall sprinkler on for their other animals to cool off and David and I also stood on the perimeter enjoying the light spray and the reduction in air temperature. It was 42°C this day. They had possums, llama, goats, wombats and all nature of creatures in the farm including a little joey.
Eventually we were all loaded back on the strange vehicles and returned to the boat.
Tonight we were having an Aussie BBQ ashore for dinner. Even the bar was trundled out in eskies to an open-air wooden-walled roofless structure which had tables with bench seats around the perimeter.
Happy hour happened here followed by us being called, a table at a time, to get our BBQd meats and salads. There really was an impressive spread and assortment of food and salads. Everything anyone could want and they’d done some beautiful fish for me. There were lovely jacket potatoes and bread and butter. Even dessert, consisting of a sweet damper with sultanas.
The crew were all dressed in casual gear and it was nice to see them relax. They put on a bit of a show involving bush band instruments which was fun and got everyone laughing and enjoying themselves.
After this there was an optional nocturnal tour, which we chose not to take, or a joke and story-telling session. Oh boy! The main joke teller was Alex so we only understood 3 out of 4 words. For the most part the jokes were all old ones that have been emailed to us a thousand times and for the others we couldn’t understand the punch line anyway. Yes, it was a bit of an ordeal so we had another drink LOL They couldn’t make Procrasstinating Pelicans out here (they’d only bought the most popular items) so I had bundy and lemonade instead.
Here’s the one photo David took (I take all the rest) which was the sunset at Big Bend. He got a really nice shot!
Donna had gone on the nocturnal tour which turned out to be belting around in the back of a ute (utility vehicle) with a spotlight and they’d only seen a few roos and rabbits so it was a toss-up who’d got the worst of it! Then the flying insects arrived. They didn’t bite or get in our faces, it wasn’t an issue, but fascinating to see thousands and thousands of them flying around the lights. They were very small. The sun deck the next day was literally carpeted in them!
When the joke torture was finally over we went back to the boat and stood on the front looking at this rather gorgeous tree that we could see lots of things in. You know, the way you see things in clouds or flames.
I took a photo, followed by one the next morning before the sun was fully up…
and another after the sun and risen.
Can’t help myself but share these as it fascinates me to see the effect of the light changes.
So I guess that brings us to…
After breakfast there was a bushwalk with the captain which was very nice and very informative about the local trees, plants, and history of the landscape and water levels.
Then we were off again for an hour’s slow cruise to Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Conservation Park, listed as ‘one of the most significant Aboriginal archaeological digs in Australia’. There was a picture on the noticeboard in the aft lounge of an Aboriginal couple with the most beautiful faces and I felt so drawn to them and was so eager in the hope of meeting them.
As we moored we were told that because of the heat, 43°C this day, we would not be able to climb the 200+ stairs to the top of the cliff as that led to national park which was closed because of fire risk, so we all followed our guide along the boardwalk beside the lower part of the tall cliffs to a shaded area where most people got a seat on a bench and listened to our guide as she told us about the area’s history and the markings on the cliffs.
As we set off to follow her David and I pretty much followed along behind and there was an Aboriginal girl probably in her late teens and I got chatting to her. And beside her was a dear little dog. I really miss my doggy cuddles when we go away on holidays and couldn’t help myself but to pick this one up. His name was Corker the girl told me and we discussed how beautiful and loving dogs are. He was such an adorable little thing and I got a doggie kiss as we walked along. I carried him for about 50 metres as we walked slowly along until David told me to put him down for fear I’d carry him back on the boat. The girl wouldn’t have let me I promise you!!! She was as crazy about dogs as I am.
You can see the boat behind the bushes as well as my hat/scarf rig-up that I’d used in Adelaide, only in Adelaide I hadn’t had the blue fly net on as well. Being 50+ is wonderful because I wear things that are practical and comfortable even if it looks silly to others 🙂
Check out one of the audience members below. What a little cutie! He was about 8 feet above us all, peeping out of a little hole in the cliff. Gheckos are so cute! For the non-Aussies he’s only about 2” long in the old language.
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