Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Race around Australia

That is what it feels like we are doing at the moment. Such huge distances to cover in as short a period as possible. There is nothing for 100's of kilometres, and we really don't want to hang around in the middle of nowhere. So hence we have spent yesterday and today driving humongous distances and spending hours in the car. This morning we left at 7:30am, after arriving at camp last night at 7:30pm. At 7:46am Rohan asked 'are we there yet?' quickly followed by 'I'm hungry'. If I hear 'are we there yet?' or 'how much longer?' one more time I may just go insane. I shouldn't complain too much, they have been so good considering.

Litchfield was wonderful!!! In fact I would go as far as to say it's better than Kakadu. If you are ever in the situation where you have the opportunity to visit either Kakadu or Litchfield then I would definitely say Kakadon't. Hehehe! I wish I could claim that joke as my own but I can't. I heard it from Kristy, who heard it from her friend Kelly, who heard it from her husband....

Anyway, Litchfield is so welcoming. The swimming opportunities are magnificent. So many plunge pools, water holes, water falls to swim in. All full of refreshing clear water that is safe from crocs and nasties. So far Litchfield has been the highlight of my trip, and I can't see that changing. There are so many fascinating places to visit and 4wd tracks to follow.

We spent one day 4wding and Kristy lost one of her personalised number plates in a croc infested river (there are crocs in the rivers but rangers work hard to make sure there are none in the water holes - unlike kakadu where they don't like you to swim anywhere. I had been so traumatised from all the croc warning signs that I didn't even feel safe in the caravan park pool at kakadu).

Back to my story... apparently, although I did not have the good fortune of witnessing it, James decided to wade into the river to retrieve the number plate. We had been told, by a local, not to put even so much as a toe in this river so James going in was complete stupidity. Nevertheless, with Kris and Con on croc watch James delicately went across the river, picked up the number plate and started back. On his way back his foot brushed something that gave him such a fright that he fell over in the water. According to Con, who rates this as the funniest thing he has ever seen, James was so scared that he lost control over his arms and legs, both flailing everywhere while he tried to both swim and run through the water screaming and yelling. I am so disappointed that Ben and I didn't hang back to witness it!!!

At the moment we are some where between Katherine and Tennant Creek. I have no idea where. Kylah just asked Ben how much longer till we get to Tennant Creek and he said 'one and a half hours'. Kylah replied 'oh good, that's not too long'.

I have nothing too interesting to report. Everyone in the group has been getting along well. So far there has been no sub divisions or mutinies. Most of the power rests firmly on my shoulders as I seem to be the one organising our days and everyone else just seems happy to follow. I spend most of my nights going from one campsite to the next trying to sort out what everyone wants to do, which invariably ends up being what Ben and I had planned to do.

You would think that by 3 weeks in to the trip we would have the set up/pack up routine down pat but alas, it is still completely chaotic. It isn't so much sorting out the caravan, it is more the issue of sorting out the large amount of children Ben and I have. Someone will need a toilet, or food, or a bandaid, or won't be able to find their drink bottle/hat/shoes, or need a breastfeed (only Diddy requires the breastfeeding just for the record). Just getting everyone into the car and buckled up takes a good fifteen minutes. Putting Diddy in and fitting the mask + turning on the machine takes about 10 of those 15 mins. She hates it and has worked out that she can self remove quite easily. So I have to hold her little arms down till she goes to sleep or have whoever is sitting next to her pin her arms down.

Tonight Ben is taking me out to dinner in Tennant Creek. He has promised to buy me some oysters at the local pub. Considering the distance the oysters would have to travel to reach the Tennant Creek Pub, I am highly surprised that they are a speciality there and am questioning their freshness. Tennant Creek is one of the furthest places from the coast in Australia.

Ben used to live in Tennant Creek and is keen to show me around. Anyway I had better go, Ben is insisting that I look at the view out the window (personally I think it looks the same as the view from 100kms ago... and I suspect I am about to have a lesson on the subtle differences!!!)


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