Despite the clouds last night no rain fell. Today the air was smoky and an oppressive heat surrounded us despite it being early morning. After breakfast we headed to Nourlangie and Yellow Water .
First stop was Nourlangie. It was a fairly flat walk with a few steep paths. I stuck to the flat path nursing my sore knee. The art here is also well preserved. Apparently they place silicon above the drawings which acts as an invisible ledge helping to stop rain run off traveling over the art. It is also touched up by the indigenous of the area. Though I must admit (should have taken a photo…but I’m sure there was a good explanation) I found it bewildering as to why the parks and wildlife utility truck had yellow brown red and black school style bottles of paint in a box in its tray) .
Then we drove to Anbangbang Billabong. This was really a beautiful place. The serenity was broken only by the sound of wings as various birds flapped their wings flying to new pots on the billabong. A path winds about 5 metres from the waterline. At Bowali yesterday the parks and wildlife officer said there are crocodiles there but if you don’t go near the water you are safe. Brian walked the 100 metre path. I sat on a chair looking out admiring the beauty. Green lily pads covered much of the water. Pink and white lilies sat on the lily pads. Pelicans floated on the water. Other birds waded , pecking at things in the water. It was a place you could sit and watch for a long time. Just as Brian was walking towards me I turned my eyes back to the water. A pelican with another flew and landed on the billabong. In an instant the snout of an open mouthed crocodile slammed closed on the pelican. It tried to fly up as the jaws opened for a moment but again they snapped closed and a thrashing rolling crocodile rolled several times really fast with the pelican. Other birds flapped overhead screeching as if they were trying to offer support to the victim. Muddy water spun around. Then…stillness on the water. The lily pads rocked a little then the water was smooth as if the scene had never played. Birds however continued to screech loud and long. Those in the middle of the billabong flew to other spots. The shoreline waders seemed oblivious. No more than 20 seconds passed I would say. Another couple sitting near us just looked our way and said ‘croc’ . None of us had cameras at hand nor would we have been fast enough to capture this sight but it will stay in my mind for ever. We stayed for a while still trying to comprehend what we had witnessed and talking of what had happened. Warnings are everywhere about the danger of crocodiles but it had until now seemed like it might just be a little overboard. But now it’s an understanding.
Continuing on we explored the Warradjun Cultural Centre. Neither of us understood anything much of the indigenous culture of the region but these centres are really teaching us informative lessons.
We were able to to use an unsealed road to travel then to Jim Jim Billabong. This was another beautiful billabong. The water here was a deep green heavy with weeds along the shoreline. I took some photos but after our other billabong experience I didn’t venture past the warning signs..
Tired and hot (it’s around 39C )we drove back to the hotel. It was around 4 pm . We found just opposite the hotel is a fabulous bakery so we had an easy dinner and settled back to pack up ready to leave tomorrow, heading for Katherine Gorge. Tonight a colony of bats flew overhead as we parked in the hotel car park. They looked eerie as they flapped in the group of hundreds against the grey cloudy sky heavy with the scent of brushfire smoke.