Sep 152018
 
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kai with a nice Bawaka muddieon his spear

recently timmy mentioned he wanted to put a gate in at bawaka to try to stop unwanted visitors when no one is at the community and dave and I told him we would sort something out. in the end timmy suggested we relocate an old gate that he made about 10 years ago, that was installed at a creek crossing on the way to mosquito creek.

the removal of the gate proved to be quite an exercise on its own, timmy and i went out to mosquito creek and spent a few hours digging out the old gate post which was very securely concreted into the ground. we eventually manged to get it free with a combination of digging and brute force with the land cruiser!

dave and i then went back a few days later with a battery grinder and cut the gate off the old post and bought it home, we then sourced some pipe for gate posts and welded new hinges on the post with the help of our resident boiler maker, deano. we also made some running repairs to the old gate.

last weekend we took the new gate down to bawaka and dug new holes for the hinge and lock post and then concreted them in, it all went much quicker than we expected and only took a couple of hours all up, leaving us plenty of time for fishing and hunting!

we had thought it would just basically be a working party so sal decided to stay home, but as it turned out it was a very social weekend, timmy came down with his wife rita, his son, daughter in law and grandkids, he had also arranged for a family touring the NT from victoria to do a day tour to bawaka.

the royal family are from macedon in victoria, every year they take their 3 kids out of school for a term and go on an extended camping adventure somewhere in australia! aaron runs a plumbing business and his wife dannille is a special needs teacher. they have 2 boys, saxon & thor and a girl, mali. they are a lovely family and we really enjoyed our short time together – although i get the strong feeling we will see them again up this way!

after a great day at bawaka they unfortunatley had to return to nhulunbuy rather than staying the night with us at bawaka, we had caught a good haul of muddies during the day, so i invited them to dinner at rick’s bar & grill on the sunday night when we would be back home so they could enjoy a feast of crab!

old friends surprised us all by turning up as well, eddy & donna mulhulland and their son, reece with his wife and baby son all came down for the weekend as well, so it was a great night of catching up over the weekend. so it ended up beng a fantastic social weekend with both old and new friends!

one thing i know, bawaka never disappoints and always surprises!

 

Mar 172017
 

march-7

my old mate, brian livingstone (livo), used to live here and relocated his family to yepoon in queensland some years ago. he pops back every couple of years for some fishing and to inflict serious and lasting damage on our livers. this time he brought his daughter caitie and settled in for 2 weeks. they stayed with my mate dave ‘butts’ butterworth – which helped prevent early onset cirrosis in my case.

brian also brought a wonderful present for me up on the plane, it was a total surprise, but i suspect dave was also involved! I was actually overwhelmed a bit, its a magnificent gift and will take pride of place at rick’s bar & grill.

march-51

our original plan had been to charter a boat for a few days and do a barra fishing trip, but it proved to be so expensive that we bought a small mercedes each instead and decided to spend 6 days camped down at paradise, a.k.a bawaka, we took both dave’s and my boats down and sal drove the troopy down.

we asked timmy to come down too, so we could get him out on the boats and also have him create a cultural education experience for our visitors. he came down on the friday and spent the weekend with us, also bringing djakapurra and yarrangu as well as djaka’s son russell who is a year older than kai.

march

caitie, sal, brian & dave

we had a few days in town before heading out, and brian, dave and I actually did a run down to bawaka to take some of the gear down and make sure all was ready for our visit. as usual the days were started at rick’s bar & grill with coffees and usually ended there with dinner!

friday morning we launched the boats at yirrkala and set off for bawaka while sal headed down by road, it was a perfect morning with glass off conditions and flat seas, i only stopped for about 45 seconds to catch a large mackeral for dinner!

the most exciting thing on the first night was the appearance of wititj, or the olive python as he frightened the life out of russell by slithering across the sand towards him as he sat beside the camp fire after dinner! it was well over 3m long and one of the biggest I have seen, after a bit of fumbling in the dark I managed to pick him up and relocate him into the swamp – well away from our beds!

as you can see our effort at camping more properly falls into the category of glamping – proven by the fact that we lugged dave’s espresso machine out there so we could have a proper start to the day with freshly roasted coffee from arnhem roastery!

saturday we decided the weather was perfect for a run down the coast towards the group of islands known as the three hummocks. timmy was very keen to visit an island which he is named after, he told me it was deadly island – which I couldnt find on the map, but as it turned out i had misheard him and it was actually dudley island! the yolngu name of the island is murrmurrgu, and timmy had never been there so it was a very emotional trip for him.

we followed the coast down and trolled around any likely looking islands or rocks and got a nice range of fish, and some unwanted ones like sal’s shark!

we stopped at one of the three hummocks for lunch, it was actually 2 islands joined by an amazing sand spit, and it wouldn’t have been hard to stop there for the rest of the day! it was totally protected by the other islands around it in every direction, the water was crystal clear and the sand was soft and clean.

when we arrived at murrmurrgu we discovered an even better beach if possible, it plunged straight down into deep water and was just an idyllic location, it was beautiful to see how emotionally affected timmy was by the chance to visit his island – and that alone made the whole week worthwhile just to be able to take him there. I dont think any of us will forget the experience for a long time.

that will do for part 1, i will try to put together a part 2 post later this weekend.

i did record a little video of timmy talking about his experience in visiting his namesake island for the first time,

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!

 

Sep 112014
 

sept 4this week we have had a definite change in the weather, winds have been very light and actually swung round to the NW a couple of times – which suggests an early build up to me!

tuesday sal & i spent the afternoon out on the boat in glass off conditions, i had also done a dawn run with vic in the morning, fishing was crap due to the full moon but conditions were magnificent,

the last 2 days I have been down at bawaka cooking for a tour of rio management, beautiful foggy mornings and sunny, still days – the nights were much warmer than a week ago when i was last out camping. the photo above is the sunset last night.

this is sunrise on tuesday,

sept 1and later in the day heading towards arnhem shoals with sal,

sept 2

another sunset from bawaka to finish off,

sept 3

hopefully the fishing will pick up!

 

 

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Dec 292013
 

bawaka (3)

 

today was one of those superb wet season days, no rain, light breeze, flat water and hot! so we loaded up the tinny and headed off for a run down to bawaka, we caught a nice mix of fish on the way down and had planned to drop most of the catch off to the community when we got there. everyone must have been off hunting as there was no one there so we took the fish home and dropped it off to family in Yirrkala.

(click on the “i ” in the top left corner for photo caption)

tonites dinner is barramundi cod, not a fish i normally keep as they mate for life, but I caught about 5 in a row and got sick of throwing them back! for some reason i didnt take any pics of the fish!