Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Getting To Murdudjurl

We get back in the car and continue on towards Murdudjurl where we are going to participate in a Cultural tour, so the race is on again! - Of course, there are a few birds along the road that just HAVE to be checked out, but finally we get there, and hasten down to join the group by the billabong. Miranda is the name of the aboriginal woman who tells us a bit about the "bush tucker" they used to eat - and still eat for that matter. We get to try the root, seeds and stalk of the water lilies, (they taste like mild celery stalks) which she goes out to pick in the Billabong, right after she scolded the dog for getting in the water – (there are known to be saltwater crocodiles in the Murdudjurl billabong, as in most of the waters of Kakadu and surrounding area.) We all wonder about the safety of that, as we walk back up to taste the fish stuffed with local herbs that had been cooking over the coals, while we were at the billabong. I ask her about it, and she explains that she can smell if there is a crocodile around! Later I ask Luke about it, and he confirms that you can smell a crocodile (I think that applies if you are aboriginal and have their keen understanding of the land they have lived on for thousands of years!)
After we have a taste of the delicious fish, which was caught earlier in the waters right there – Miranda teaches us how to weave a bracelet made of the grasses, which they harvest and dye, and then weave into baskets, fish traps, bracelets, etc. As we sit there in a circle around Miranda the sun is getting lower, and we enjoy the peacefulness and have fun trying to follow Miranda's instructions. (John seems to be a natural at it, he produced a beautiful bracelet!)
I only have a few photos from our session, because even though we were told it was all right to photograph, they do prefer not to be photographed from the front, and I didn't want to be intrusive.
After I finished my bracelet, I wandered over to the building where there were some artwork on display – it was the old schoolhouse which had now been converted into a gallery – very sparse, but there was some nice artwork there created by the members of this indigenous homestead settlement of the Murumburr clan.
Luke came and picked us up just in time to spend the last hour of daylight bird watching along the track that led us to our lovely campsite on the billabong on Jim Jim Creek.

When we finally reached our campsite the sun was down, and we used that lasts bit of light to get settled in to our very comfortable and luxurious tent cabins! Luke gave us a quick tour of the campsite and the shower and toilet facilities, which were very nice, before he got busy in the kitchen with drinks, appetizers and a wonderful barbecue dinner under the star-studded night sky!
By the time we had eaten we were all so tired that we opted to go straight to bed, instead of doing a night-walk. – The next morning we would be on our way before 5 AM, so after a quick shower, I snuggled in and soon the sounds of the night lulled me to sleep!

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