Oct 182014

film 6Last weekend sal had to pop over to darwin for an MRI, it was just routine and a confirmation that all is well before we head off on our gap year, but it meant that kai had to come to work with me – because we had a group travelling to bawaka to shoot a fillum!

tourism australia are making a new international advertisment promoting indigenous cultural tourism and had commissioned warwick thornton of sampson and delilah fame to make it, they had done a reccy previously, visiting us as part of a month of travelling australia and visiting suitable locations. now they were back to actually shoot the final footage.

they brought ‘talent’ with them, a woman and a man who are portrayed visiting the various parts of australia featured in the ad, ayers rock, mossman gorge, cape leveque, mount borradaile and here, the talent are shown having a grand old time with the locals and hopefully more cashed up international visitors will be inspired to come and visit!

kai was included in some of the scenes so he may or may not make it past the cutting room floor!

the highlight of the whole experience was probably warwick catching a very decent barra off the rocks at the front of bawaka, the leader broke just as he got it to shore and his son, dylan dived in and grabbed the slightly disorientated and very unlucky barra before it could make its escape!

this event would be challenged for highlight status by the sight of my flesh and blood dressed in a summery skirt and sleeveless blouse, hamming it up with the girls!

i shot a little bit of video of the performance of ‘djapana’ the song and dance about the sunset, specifically the sunset viewed from bawaka, this is the inspiration for the song of the same name by yothu yindi which was one of their best known songs.


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Oct 042014

oct 5

ancient cycads scattered amongst ancient rocks, after the fires. classic end of the dry season scene in arnhem land, i just love the contrast of the charcoal black with the luminescent green new growth. the cycads date from the jurassic era – about 200m years ago, the rocks are some of the oldest in the world – formed in the precambrian era over 400 million years ago!

i have been busy out and about again, with trips to bawaka, bukudal and gan gan in the last couple of weeks, i had a great time at gan gan chatting to the old man, Dr Garrawin Gumuna, he is the only surviving Yirrkala Church Panel artist and despite his age his mind is as sharp as a knife and the wit is nicely honed too!

we have had our old mate phil obrien staying again while he helps out with a few tours, always a pleasure to have around and one of the last real gentlemen larrikins, they broke the mould with phil!

sal has also had a friend from sydney, helen, stay for a week or so, they hadnt seen each other since sal and i met so it was lovely for sal to catch up and spend time with her.

vic has also been hanging around for a few weeks, vic bought my old boat and used to be a teacher at yirrkala, he had an epiphany and he and his family left so he could do medicine and after 3 years he has come back to do a 6 week placement, melissa and the kids also came up for about a week so it was fantastic to catch up for both families.

we also met peter and alissa who are friends of our friends steve & bridget, peter & alissa are living in new york where steve and bridget are currently based and had popped back to australia to watch the bunnies in their first grand final in 42 years, they decided on a whirlwind tour of arnhem land this week.

i only have a couple more weeks work and sal finishes up at the end of the month and then our gap year starts on november the 17th when we head to tassie, so its really getting a tangible reality now!

so here are a few photos of the last few weeks,

sal, helen, kai and i spent 3 days earlier this week camping at bawaka, here are a few images,

finally a gallery of the visitors!


Jun 012014

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the last couple of weeks we have had gary and his son tim, staying with us. gary is an old mate of my brother, simon’s and they have been threatening to come for a fishing trip for about 10 years, simon is always too busy and finally gary got sick of waiting and rang me and told me he was coming and as simon was once again unavailable he decieded to bring his son tim.

i guess simon does have the excuse this year that he and his family are just about to head off to canada for a month, but he missed out on a pretty damn fine adventure!

we have struggled with the weather a bit, its been very windy for virtually their whole visit, with typical dry season south easterlies of  15-20kts every day, but we have made the most of it. their first day here i took them to my seekrit spot to try for some land based barra and we got a few nice fish, the photo above is tim’s first barra so that got things off to a good start.

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the next couple of days we worked hard for little reward, bashing across the bay so we could fish the creeks, we got a couple of fish and a feed of mudcrab, so it wasnt a total loss. the little croc having a snooze on the sandback was about 20m from where i jumped out of the boat to push us across a shallow spot trying to get into the giddys river at low tide. i had a good look in the water before jumping in, but forgot to look on the bank! luckily he was having a nanna nap in the cool conditions!

the second week we headed out on the hama pearl ii for a 3 day charter in buckingham bay, the plan was to target barra, but we had left our run a bit late in the year, the cool water and lack of run off meant there were not many barra around and the ones that we caught were mainly rats. the trip was saved by a couple of days of fishing the reefs off the front of kurella creek where we were anchored. we caught a heap of goldies and quite a few big jewfish.

on the last day kai and i climbed to the top of the hill on the bank of the kurella river and took some pics of the hama pearl anchored in the river, finally thanks to brad and kim for an amazing charter, we had our stomachs stretched with a constant stream of fantastic food, from full cooked breakfasts everyday, yummy cakes and biscuits, filling lunches, plates of nibblies to have with cold beers at the end of a long days fishing, magnificent dinners and filling desserts! the boat was always spotlessly clean, nothing too much trouble for our hosts, cool beds in the air con cabin and hot showers!

if anyone is considering a charter in arnhem land you cant go past ss charters, http://www.sscharters.com.au

all in all its been a great couple of weeks, many fine memories for all involved and we are already making plans for another trip when the weather is more conducive to bagging the elusive barra!

Apr 202014

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friday saw me headed off to nyinyikay, a small homeland on the tip of arnhem bay, i was joining lirrwi tourism in supporting a film crew shooting some reality TV rubbish involving 6 young city things being taken out of the surburban comfort zone and being confronted with challenges to their personal stereotypes. its all pretty voyeuristic and exploitive, but they wanted to shoot an episode in arnhem land, hence we were driving 5 vehicles, 2 towing trailers, in torrential, tropical rain, 4 hours from nhulun to nyinyikay.

we had to cater for 15 crew as well as the cast of 6, so its a lot of resources, tents, stretcher beds, bedding, food and drinks for 21 people for 4 days over easter. given that it had been raining for the last 3 days solid, we were not sure whether we would even be able to get out to nyinyikay , nor whether the cast & crew would be able to fly in on saturday morning.

as it turned out the rain did stop on saturday so we were able to get all the tents set up in time and we had the catering set up on the verandah of the house we were staying in so we had shelter if it rained again. the whole entourage, with thousands of kilos of camera and sound gear, flew in on about 5 seperate small charter flights from gove airport.

between looking after the clients, we were able to get some good fishing in, i think we ended up with about 5 barra that were keepers, half a dozen each of blue salmon, mangrove jack and golden snapper.

all of the families of the nyinyikay community were fantastic with sharing their culture and land with the visiting mob, and its certainly a good example of the potential for cultural tourism in the region and the benefits it can bring to small communities seeking sustainable economic models.

i dont know what the TV show is called even, so i cant tell you to watch out for it anyway, which is just as well because i think the cringe factor will be high.


Feb 252013


we caught some nice barra a few days ago and I came up with a new way to present them, this recipe would work fine with most white fish fillets. its a very quick dish to prepare and scrumptious to boot!

in a frying pan, add one can of coconut cream, a couple of tablespoons of palm sugar, a couple of finely chopped birds eye chillies, a couple of kaffir lime leaves finely chopped, a sploosh of fish sauce and a sploosh of mirin.

in a saucepan or bowl soak a pack of vermicelli rice noodles for 15 minutes in room temp water.

poach fillets gently in sauce, serve on bed of noodles in a bowl


barra (2)