Saturday, 17 October 2009

Back from the West, still in one piece (Episode 3)

After our great experience at Marglu Lagoon, we headed back in to Kununurra for one more night, stocked up on supplies, had an interesting experience at the local chicken take away shop. Len and the children were getting our tea while I finished off the groceries. They found themselves sitting amidst a fight breaking out, police arriving, people massing around. Meanwhile, they sat reasonably calmly waiting for their meal to be ready. If we hadn't had all our experiences the last 2 years this probably would have been a pretty scary experience for them, but they were all quite calm and safe as well. Praise God! As I came out with the trolley and heard/saw all the action over there I was naturally worried for them all and wondered what on earth was going on.

The next day we set off for Lake Argyle, lovely drive in, good roads and quite picturesque. The caravan park at Lake Argyle Village was a pleasant spot, clean and casual. We explored the area, were amazed by the small dam wall which had created such as massive lake. Below right is the dam wall, taken from the Ord River side. The left shot is looking back down the river. Below is the Lake Argyle side of the dam wall and looking out over the Lake. It is something like 35 km by 75 km.

We were all pretty amazed by the sheer size of this project, and to us as complete amateurs, it seemed to be such a positive thing not only for the communities of this area but also for the environment. It would be great if other places in Aus could tap in to the natural supply of rain water each year. Even if this Lake had no rain for 25 years they would still have plenty of water for all the irrigation etc for the region. But of course they get the wet season every year so the water quantity is huge. They even have to let some of it go, enough that would provide water for other parts of Australia. What a pity they can't come up with a cost effective way to move it south. The water capacity of the lake is nearly 20 times that of Sydney Harbour.

On our second day there we decided to treat ourselves to a Sunset cruise on the Lake, and a treat it was. First we watched a dvd about the construction of the Lake, most of the resources used were found in the immediate area too. The cruise just showed us again how awesome the size of this place was. We were on the boat for about 4 hours, and only saw about 1/4 of the Lake. We saw various birds, a few rock wallaby, some fish (the Archer fish were cool, they spat water at you when you were feeding them). We had one swim half way through the cruise in water around 26 degrees - beautiful. A little daunting that the solid ground was up to 19 metres below you - we stayed close to the boat. The kids loved it. Later, at sunset, the boat was stopped again for a second swim, complimentary drinks, dip and crackers, all while floating around in the water again watching the sun go down. Wow, what a great moment. This time they gave us noodles to bob around on so we could relax a bit more.

What a wonderful day and experience. One of those again that we will never forget. We seem to have so many of those from the last couple of years, we better get some extra long term memory storage for all these great moments.

After our 2 nights at Lake Argyle, we set off back to NT, the border only about 1/2 hours drive from Lake Argyle. We stopped at Timber Creek for lunch, met a guy from Wynyard who is travelling round Aus on his own after his wife died. Then on we went to Katherine. Decided to stay there for a couple of nights and relax a bit before heading home. The caravan park was one of the best we had. Well laid out and concrete slabs for all sites. Incredibly noisy bats as the sunset though, quite an amazing sight and sounds. We also had a meal with Colin & Merran Smith. They are the couple who let us use their house in Gunn when we first came over from Tiwi. Judith is now working at Litchfield Christian School, sharing the class with Merran and Colin is the principal. They also went to the Kunurra area for the holidays. Enjoyed relaxing for the 2 days, went to the Katherine hot springs and on our journey back we went in to Edith Falls, another very pretty spot which we had never seen, just north of Katherine. Had a swim and on we went back for home. A great 10 days, and the van and Prado had served us well. A few things to fix or improve on, but now we feel ready for the journey at the end of the year.

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