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Written by Peter Smith   
Thursday, 23 April 2009 12:39
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Day 75: Wednesday 5th December - Catherine to Daly Waters
We started out early and went canoeing up the Catherine Gorge for three hours with John as my partner. Had a very pleasant relaxing time just paddling up the river until we came to a point in the river where we would have to carry the canoe to continue the next gorge. After a very pleasant hour just swimming in the beautiful clear water we decided to just take our time and head back down at a leisurely pace. Later found out that the river does have freshwater crocodiles. At one point when we were swimming and fooling about Lauren got out of the water saying she had seen a long object swimming not too far away from us and it was obvious she was serious. I have no doubt we had been swimming with crocodiles, all be it, harmless freshwater ones.

Anne, Noreen and Viv went on a helicopter ride up the gorge but were very disssapointed by it. The pilot kept well away from the gorge and too high to see it or us and take any decent photos. A waist of money.

Lunch in Catherine at Subway

Carried on moving south and called in at a spring which was dugout by soldiers as a makeshift swimming pool and, of course, it was then commandeered by the officers for their own use. The pool offered us the first cool water and everyone, plus another group heading from Alice to Darwin, took the opportunity to swim even though there was a warning sign about crocs.

Arrived at 6.30pm at tonight’s stop the Daly Waters pub. The bus slowed down and came to a stop as it approached a set of traffic lights on red. It then turned onto the ground behind the pub and parked. I later found out the traffic lights are always on red, everyone has to stop at Daly Waters. We were camping using swagger bags. The camp area was right behind the pub and after spending a good 30 minutes trying to set our Mosquito net up between a tree and a makeshift pole we retreated to the pub for a meal. The air around here was filled with various flying insects some big enough to be picked up on a radar screen. A flying beetle the size of a piece of anthracite tried to go through my body and both of us finished up on the floor trying to work out what had hit us. It happily crawled off into the scrub while I beat a quick retreat back to the bar.

This was the first pub since leaving England that I would be happy to call my local. The barman was a young man from Bolton who’d been traveling around Australia for 3 months mainly in the west around Perth, which he loved. He did admit that he was missing his mates back home and the dozen or so inhabitants of Daly Waters, although great, hardly made the place a cosmopolitan town like Bol.. don’t be stupid. If the rest of the town’s folk were anything like the ones in the bar then this place could give any large town in the UK a good run for its money. A group playing pool and dressed like cowboys eventually left the bar, as they do every night according to the landlord, to fight. The landlord’s wife just took the opportunity to commandeer the pool table for a winner-takes-all competition which I just happened to win because everyone else who entered were pissed. We were also provided with fancy dress hats and gear to make the competition even more ridiculous and the pool table was by now covered in what I thought were lace flies: an insect with long lace wings which turned out to be termites. The air, the toilets, the showers, indeed everywhere in and around the pub was covered with these harmless but very annoying creatures.

The pub itself beggared belief consisting of a combination of corrugated sheds encircling a central main bar and garden area. The walls and ceilings were covered with various artifacts left by travellers. These consisted of women’s knickers, a thong tree (flip flops), foreign currency, photographs of individuals and groups all pulling faces. The place was a veritable museum of disused machinery and equipment such as saddles sitting astride a pole and boxes of old military communications equipment etc etc etc.

By the time it got to bedtime we decided against sleeping in swag bags, covered with mosquito nets or not. There was just too much animal life about and the kind barman from Bolton put us in one of their backpack rooms outside. I doubt whether I could have found my way the short distance back to the camp.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 April 2009 13:24