How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Wetland and Beach Walks - Black Point

Monday 29th October 2012
Wetland and Beach Walks - Black Point
early morning on the boat ramp
MrJ and I decided to go ashore early to do the wetland walk (Wuwurdi Walk) from behind the ranger station.
This walk was easy going and took us in a full circle around a wildlife infested lagoon for 800mtrs. The ranger’s signs did say lookout for crocs, which we did, MrJ and I didn’t see any crocs but we did see the dropping of other animals. On was the hoof print of the wild banteng and as MrJ soon found out the other was from large wild pigs. MrJ got a real scare when one of these large wild pigs suddenly darted out from its peace snorting around after being disturbed by a couple of humans, and made a mad dash across the path in front of MrJ and disappearing into the wilds of beyond. I laugh now and did laugh about five minutes after the event but not at the exact moment that I saw the darting wild pig and MrJ jump ten foot off the ground cursing the ground that he stood on and the mad thing the past no more than a couple of feet in front. MrJ tells me later that all he was thinking was croc. What sight! And yes I was also very scared, too scared to even think of getting any photos. Buggar!

On this walk as it winds through the scrub you are brushed by spider webs as their long strands reach across the track while dancing in the light breeze and there were a multitude of small well camouflaged lizards that darted through the thick layer of leave mulch at our feet. We could hear the calls of several different bird species singing out through the tree tops and the of the scrub hen or jungle fowl as they scurry across the track. We did get a glimpse of a brightly plumaged pheasant but this beautiful bird was too well hidden in the branches to get any clear look or photos, The best part was when several time  we came close to the to the lagoon to watch the amazing array of water birds displaying their joy with their surrounds.
Most prominent were the large black and white magpie geese thickly scattered across the shallow water wonderland. These type of wetlands attract many species of waterbirds especial late in the dry season including white-headed shelduck, magpie geese, jabirus, whistle ducks and brolgas.
Three quarters of the way around the wetland lagoon walk MrJ and I smelt the vile odour of some dead and rotting, some very much like dead fish. Yuk! On a closer investigation, with hankie held closely over my mouth and nose and a good eye out for wild creatures, we crept towards the source of the smell to find a large open steel cage full of decaying fish carcases and a pile of wheat grain. I thought that it might have been a croc cage but could not understand why the gate was open with no sign of a release spring or hinge for a trap. We found out later from our friendly ranger Andy that this was not a trap but a bate station for the wild pigs that had been only put in there two days prior. The grain had been laced with 1080 poison.  A motion sensor camera had been installed to record the number of pigs that were entices in for a feed. The sensor camera picked up over forty pigs on the first night.
pheasant on the road

MrJ and I discovered in our talks with Andy that the road out to the monument was 3ks, a 6k hike return. Not in this heat I thought! Andy didn’t have to persuade us too much to take out dingy around to the beach instead getting to have a look over the beautiful coloured coral and fishes on the way. Idea sold!
MrJ head back to the boat to pick up someone’s camera battery that someone forgot, (not me) and then dinghied around Black Point to the long stretch of sandy beach. The water turquoise underneath the dinghy became very shallow revealing a vast number of large bombies covered in an amazing array of colourful live coral. We cross over one huge brain coral that would have been as big as the dinghy. Past the fringing reef the water became even shallower with the long sand shoaling out from the brilliant white beach. MrJ and I were forced to hop out toward the dinghy a short distance to the shore while a large school of big fish darted before us. My mind was too set on crocs to enjoy their spectacular display.

Halfway up the beach MrJ and I came upon a group of young people, volunteer conservationist, camped on the beach. The group were here to observe the turtle population. Their vehicle and van were parked above the beach in one the National Park’s camping grounds. One of the girls had said that it was too hot to stay in the camp ground; they preferred the comfort of the soft sand under a she-oak tree where they could at least get a bit of breeze. Once again, all I could think of was croc!

MrJ and I continued our hike up the hot sandy white beach, hot enough to keep your footwear on,  to the next point only to discover that there was another beach on the other side of the point just as long and hot as the beach that we had just trekked. The decision was made to go back rather than continue on to the monument which was stood out on that next point. So close but yet so far; especially in the soaring heat of the day. So back we went, me trudging along at a much slower pace than MrJ. The hot humidity was really starting to affect me even though I had been drinking lots of cool refreshing water that we carried with us.

Back on board I hosed myself down for a cool off and then we were on our way, up and moving further into the Port to a place called Victoria Ruins at Minto Point. I did have a little trouble with the old anchor winch refusing to work which meant that MrJ had to get out front and drop the anchor by hand while I drove the boat. Trusty anchor down and set firm, big shade covers up so I went for a lie down in a nice shady spot catching a slight breeze and this is where I stayed for the rest of the day.

a hot morning on the water


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