Cathedral termite mound

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 30 Aug 2010 03:31

We arrived at Fannie Bay, Darwin around 1.30am on the 24th August having
lost the wind by noon the previous day and finally resorting to using the
iron sail at 5pm.
We took the rib ashore mid morning and tied it to a huge metal structure
some 40metres up the beach then went to town. Here we were rather fortunate
as 2 chaps arrived as we left the yacht club and offered us a lift. They
didn't actually know Darwin, being here only to attend a court appearance as
one of the chaps was seeking a divorce.
When we returned to the beach around 4pm, our rib was 30metres out at sea so
Dick had to forget about the crocodiles and sharks and swim for it, bringing
it back to the beach from where I passed him the shopping bags and then,
wading deeper into the water, jumped into the dinghy and made for our boat.
Coming ashore was fine as we had the tide with us but now we had a lot of
chop as we made our way out to the anchorage.
Next morning about 10am the inner skin of the boat was pumped full of
chemical to kill the green muscles and the striped muscles and any other
untoward marine life. This had to be left for 14 hours before we were
permitted to switch on the engines so we spent a second night at Fannie Bay
and rising early on the morrow, left the anchorage at 7am to make our way to
the marina.
Because the boat had been anti-fouled while we were at Mackay, there was no
need for the hulls to be inspected but the young lady diver, who was
undertaking the chemical treatment noticed that the rudder on one of the
monohulls had a loose bolt.
All except one of the monohulls will be berthed at Tipperary marina. The
catamarans and the 75foot Swan are to be berthed at Francis marina, known
locally as the Duck Pond. This is where the fishing boats are moored as well
as a couple of large motor cruisers. Both marinas are entered via a lock and
are only accessible at high tide.
The precautions taken by us, regarding quarantine of fresh produce, rather
like Thursday Island, need not have been as rigid as in both cases there was
no check. I guess this was probably because of the delay moving from the
anchorage to a marina and no facility for the quarantine officers to visit
the anchored boats. By the time we had reached a marina, we had already been
ashore and replenished fresh fruit, vegetables and meat sufficiently to keep
us going for a few days.
We have done a big re-provisioning here as most of the basic items, many
initially brought from Spain, have now run out. Fortunately, the pontoon
against which we are tied is very wide and the taxi's can deliver us and our
produce right up to the boat.
We went to a national park about 150kilometers from Darwin and saw emus,
rock wallabies and flying foxes. One of the rock wallabies even had a baby
in its pouch. We didn't see any crocodiles though the fresh water variety do
inhabit the last pool we visited, which is fed by waterfalls and is a
popular swimming hole. In fact, during the wet season when the water is
running high, salt water crocodiles can also be found there.
The termite mounds were pretty spectacular. We saw two sorts, one which was
a called cathedral mound. You can see from the photo why. Two thirds of it
is underground and that is where the termites live. The bit above ground
acts as some sort of air conditioning unit and helps to keep the critters
cool. The second type is known as magnetic and this is because they are
built on the north-south meridian to protect them from the sun and help to
keep the termites, which live in the section above ground, cool. The design
and the quantity resemble a huge graveyard.
On Saturday morning I had a hair cut and highlights. This time I have not
highlighted my hair to be blond, just a more varied selection of grey. Not
certain that I really like the colour but at least it is tidier and will
suffice for the present.
Sreco and Olga, our Slovenian friends, the couple we met with in Croatia
last May, are leaving the rally. They have decided that they want to spend
more time in the pacific islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and
Indonesia. I understand completely why they have made the decision.

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