Shall we smile at a Crocodile
Shall we smile at a Crocodile?
Well yes, but more about that later.
Yesterday was ‘Black Monday’ in Kojonup at Dr Emily’s Medical Practice because her internet was down and she struggled with it while trying to hold consultations. After one and a half hours Rob and I left the surgery, Rob clutching his essential prescriptions and I with the knowledge that my hernia may be hereditary and is certainly operable, plus the promise that she would print off a copy of the report from Dr Tom Bowles in Albany for me to show a doctor at home when we finally get back, hoping it doesn’t grow too much in the meantime.
We then shopped and returned to Te Opu to get on with our pleasurable tasks of sorting the gear and writing blogs. The wind grew in strength as predicted and the rain, glorious rain started falling in earnest around mid-afternoon. Malcolm and Christine phoned for a chat as they headed for Karijini National Park, Christine’s first time in that pretty place; remember the Circular Pool, Fortescue Falls and the exquisite Fern Pool? A few minutes after their call I started cooking supper on Christine’s lovely black range when the funniest thing happened, the gas ran out, and we were back to our single burner camping stove. That’s given Rob a task for the day!.......
Wedge-tailed Eagles and Whistling Kites circled above us as we crossed the blond savanna dotted with boab, eucalyptus bloodwoods and pindan wattle trees adorned with their yellow blossom when in the distance we saw the flatland rose to the grey limestone cliffs of the Napier Range, our destination. Often tours are led by the local Bunuba guides and are much enjoyed by visitors. The universal warmth, intelligence, pride and humour of the aborigines are invaluable traits when it comes to the interface with inquiring tourism and combined with their imaginative and beautiful arts and crafts give them a unique industry that is much in demand in non covid times.
We followed Sean into the gorge and occasionally he would stop and explain the fossils in the rock for example and where to spot the ‘Freshies’. But the landscape talked to us itself. The steep overhangs of water worn rock and the residue of foliage stuck over branches way above our heads told of how deep and fast runs the Lennard River through here during the wet season, and how impossible it would be for us to visit then.
The permanent waterholes in the river bed came into sight, bathed in warm sunshine and we saw our first Freshie, the sunlight illuminating his legs as they dangled in the pale green water beneath him. “Stay 5 metres away and smile and you’ll be fine.” Sean had said, so double that for me as we eyed another lying in the shallows. They have fine long snouts and their scaly streamlined bodies are quite beautiful. They were motionless, and I was glad they remained so. They are well mannered and unthreatening compared to their lumbering and deadly saltwater cousins, mutual respect is all that was needed. So yes, we definitely smiled at the crocodiles.
Sean left us to return to the truck and set up lunch. We wandered further along the riverside, freshies all the way, past the mid river wedge shaped rock sacred to the Bunuba people and gradually made our way back hoping as always to retain some of the images of this peaceful place in our mind’s eye forever.