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Sunday, 29 January 2012

January catch up

Its been a few weeks since ive posted anything, so basically all I am going to do is put a few photos up and let you enjoy :)
A couple of barra (60 and 55cm)

One of 14 muddies mmmmmm

A very stuffed up Nightcliff jetty after getting smashed during the monsoon on 24/25 Jan

The ute run got cancelled due to the wet weather, but the bogans still turned out in force!

With Charlie the water buffalo, down at Adelaide River Inn.  Charlie was the star of the croc dundee films

Adelaide River War Cemetery - A lovely respectful place for the fallen.

A giant ARSS sign.  (Adelaide River Society Showground)

Friday, 23 December 2011

Gone Fishing....with L plates on :)

A few weeks back I told you how I spent an evening up at Shady Camp, (and with the constant fear of shitting myself due to an inevitable croc attack) I didn't actually catch anything.
I wasn't happy, as one of my goals since moving here was to catch a barra.
The NT is pretty heavily regulated for catching barra, which I believe works in the favour of the angler, so I feel a bit better about pulling a few out.

The day was supposed to be simple, catch up with Julie from work, and go to the city and buy some gear.  She knew the people there and said she would help me get some good gear and a few $$ off.
Change of plans.....No simple day....
We did the buying (2 rods, already had a reel, so now Sam has one too) then headed out to a private farm that Julie's hubby, Peter manages.  With a massive amount of fish in their dams, they wouldn't miss a few :)
Julie teaches a females class up here called "femme fishing", an 8 week course teaching women to fish.  Since there is no mens class, I got myself a private tour.
Julie taught me all the imporant things I needed to know, casting for barra, jigging for barra and all those important things.  After this, I threw my new gear into the water for the first time.
It took me a while to get anything happening, as it was the middle of the arvo and the fish dont eat then (and barra are lazy and wont do bugger all).  Julie however, was pulling in a few.  Oh well, keep trying.  I managed to hook a few, but inevitably, a few dropped.  Julie hooked one, and asked if I wanted to pull it in, so I said yes, and managed to land it.  Julie said I can claim it as it was my first landed, but I wanted a full catch.
Not long after I landed the first, I managed to hook up on a decent sized barra, and with some help from Julie, got it to shore!!  Success!!  I am going to claim this one as my first catch, as I did it all.  It came in at 68.5cms.  It felt really good catching it, as they are quite challenging and had many others decide to have a chew on my plastic, but spit it out (sometimes even mid air!!)

Julie then taught me how to fillet and clean up the fish, something I could never do before.  I do believe its a change in my attitude, as before all fish were too nice.  I now see barra fishing as sport, but still think reef fish are too cute and nice to hurt!!

When I got home tonite, I cooked up one fillet of my fish, and Sam and I were able to share it.  Those buggers are HUGE and have a lot of meat!!

As I mentioned, I got a 2nd rod n reel for Sam, however im sure that whoever comes up can use it.....  You know you want too :) 

The first landed..... fish was slipping, theyre heavier than I thought!

My Rex Hunt impression, the first fish I caught myself.

Nicer pic of the first fish caught myself.  68.5cms :)

Gutting and filleting etc...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A day in Gorge-ous Katherine

Sam had her birthday this week, so we decided to spend the weekend doing something a little different, so we decided to head 300kms down the road to Katherine and spend the nite there.  And yeah, its the birthplace of the greatest Australian cyclist, Cadel Evans!!
Checking into the allseasons was easy, then a nice (massive) feed at the hotel, then sleep was on the cards.
Sam had checked out the Cutta Cutta Caves a few days before and wanted to head there in the morning.  27kms south of Katherine, this limestone cave system was found by stockmen who lost cattle.  Our guide Ethan took us through the cave, which is a lot different to the wet caves normally found in southern climates.  This was definitely a highlight and worth going to another time.
After driving back to Katherine, which itself is pretty average, except for the thermal pools just 2kms down the Victoria Hwy (heads to West Oz), we filled up and headed to the gorge.
We weren't going to head out on any tours, preferring to do it ourselves.  However, after we saw that there was no hope of checking out the caves without a long walk, we took the $$ option and took a 2 hour cruise down the river.  This was incredible.  The gorge, is an amazing experience.  A rain shower (tropical downpour) for a few minutes added to the appeal.  Gorge 1 was pretty, but the real treat was gorge 2, which was one of the most beautiful places in the world I have visited.  We didn't go any further, but that was ok, as gorge 3 is apparently really short and tour boats rarely go further. 
I would love to take a chopper ride up and down the gorge, seeing all 13 of them (and in a few minutes!!), but that will need to happen when I win lotto!! 
Other activities that occur in the gorge are swimming and canoeing, however due to the wet season and waters getting higher, the possibility of salties in the water are much higher, so its banned.  They leave the freshies in there, they are just small and not so scary.  We will head down there when the water drops (and the crocs are not there) and do some canoeing!!  Cannot wait!
Welcome sign, north side of town

Cutta Cutta Caves

Gorge Action

2nd Gorge

2nd Gorge

Sunday, 13 November 2011

When craziness becomes reality.

I've never been much of a fisherman.  As a scuba diver, the mere thought of hurting an animal that I consider photogenic, would be ludicrous.  However, I am slowly turning my views on fishing and am seeing it good as a social experience and if I can get some dinner, that'd be good too.
Since moving up here, every person I've met has caught a barramundi.  These fish, considered by many as one of the best fish to catch, with a lot of charter companies taking tourists to far flung places, by road, boat and even fly in by helicopter.  I had to have a go.
So the boys at work were heading to a place after work on Friday called Shady Camp to catch some fish, the tides were good, the moon was full and it was a Friday.  We were keen.  Except, hang on, isn't shady camp the place where there are a lot of crocs?  Maybe going there isn't so clever?  Ah bugger it I thought, I wanna go check this place out!
Shady Camp is about 150kms from school, so 170kms from home.  The drive in is pretty good, highway all the way bar the last 50kms, and of that about 30km is dirt.  The dirt is where the fun begins. Wallabies, cows, water buffalo, lots of animals all like to pretend the road is ok to be on.  We got to Shady Camp not long before sunset, so I could have a look and see at the place.  Freshwater on the left, saltwater on the right and a barrage in the middle keeping them apart, except at high tides.  And fishing was to be done on the barrage.  Cool I thought, its light, I can see the crocs.
Some fishing was done, very poorly by me, I am the snag master, and got to learn all about birdsnests and all other stuff which limited me from fishing, and annoying the boys into fixing my stuff.  When the water started to run over the barrage the fun began, lots of bait fish, mullet and other fish were all trying to get over the top, to escape whatever was hunting them on their side, except, just as much was on the other side!!  Silly fish.  The barra got bigger too when the water started to run, with a few legal fish caught.  I didn't catch my barra, but I did get a few nibbles, so the fish were there, just wasn't my day.
So crocs at Shady Camp....... well, I now also know why it is reputed that the place has the highest density of crocodiles in the NT.  I think we guessed roughly 40-50 different crocs within sight.  Just the ones we saw..... The little red eyes when we shone the torches on them was an amazing sight.  Apparently the average size of the crocs up there is 4m.  Well we saw some small ones, but im sure there were a few who were nudging 5m too.  Plenty of other big buggers too. At one stage, one monster on the saltwater side came gliding in towards a group over the other side of the barrage.  He was moving wayyy to fast just to be cruising, which sent 4-5 guys moving very very fast.  This scared the shit out of me.  Why the hell was I fishing at night time (something ive never done), on a bank with lots and lots of crocs around.  I came up with one answer.  It was fun.... and it is something I will do again.
The signs don't mess around

Freshwater side, with barrage on the right

Saltwater side - Closed for fishing at the moment, but still full of crocs...

Obligatory sunset pic.

This lil cutie was about 4m i reckon.  Long lens was on and the head torch gives it the flare.  I wasn't getting closer!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Killing time in Kakadu

Sam and I at the park entrance.

Cute Dragonfly

Me at the main gallery site

Fish art

Turtle Art

Different fish art

Sam and I overlooking Arnhem Land

The site at the top of Ubirr

Sam with the wetlands at Ubirr in the background

Art depicting the rainbow serpent

Mamakala Wetlands

Magpie Goose

Pano pic at the top of Ubirr with Arnhem over the back
Today Sam and I went to the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park.  This is a place I have always wanted to go, however didn't think I would be seeing it till much later in life.  Surprises are always nice.  Originally we were supposed to go next weekend, however a cancellation of a course I was to attend allowed us to drive over today.
The drive from our place, to Ubirr, which was the furthermost we were to travel today took about 2hrs 30min, of which most was spent at 130-140km/hr.

Wikipedia is my friend for Ubirr.
Ubirr is located in the East Alligator region of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia, and is famous for its rock art. It consists of a group of rock outcrops on the edge of the Nadab floodplain where there are several natural shelters that have a collection of Aboriginal rock paintings, some of which are many thousands of years old. The art depicts certain creation ancestors as well as animals from the area such as barramundi, catfish, mullet, goannas, long-necked turtles, pig-nosed turtles, rock ringtail possums, and wallabies.
From the top of Ubirr rock there is a panoramic view of the floodplains and escarpments that is especially beautiful at sunset.
The rock faces at Ubirr have been continuously painted and repainted since 40,000 BCE.[1] Most paintings there were created about 2000 years ago. Some have been repainted right up to modern times. There are three main galleries of art accessible to visitors. National Park rangers, many of them Indigenous, give talks at all of these sites.

All of the above was true, but cannot vouch for the view at sunset. But I would love to head back and check it out!!  The walk to the top was pretty easy really, but wouldn't be fun on a wet day.  LOTS of water is also required.  It gets bloody hot out there!

From Ubirr, we drove about 3 mins to Cahill Crossing, which is one of the main gateways to Arnhem Land.  We wanted to see if we could see any crocs, which we do at all creeks..... usually with no luck, but this time, sitting about 10 m from the boat ramp was a smallish sized croc, just cooling in the water.  We watched him for about 15 mins but he wasn't in much of a moving mood, so we moved on.
Around this area, there are some amazing rock structures, which is even more amazing considering most of Kakadu is so flat!!

We headed into Jabiru next, to check out the hotel shaped like a croc, which was cool, but first went to the Ranger Mine just out of town.  Bloody big hole in the ground it is!!
Jabiru wasn't too exciting, except for the hotel.

On our way home we went to Mamakula Wetlands, which is full of birdies sitting and eating / drinking in the water.  A nice undercover platform made our lives easier with the heat, and some seating allowed us to look easily.  What was better was the lack of people around.  A mum and young son turned up as we were leaving.  Even Ubirr was really quiet.  Perfect!!

The drive back was interesting with heavy rain most of the way through.  I can't wait for the wet season!!

Next trip, Im hoping to get to Fogg Dam, which is just the other side of Humpty Doo.  Dont know whats there, but I want to check everything out!!!!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Mango Festival and Berry Springs

So we headed down to the mango festival today at Berry Springs.  They combine the local community markets, which are held once a month, with the festival, which is held to coincide with the mango season.  We got down there about 10.30 so we missed the good stuff like the mango lawn bowls and mango cricket.  Cute lil festival and nice lil markets. 

After all the fun of the festival, we headed down to Berry Springs Nature Park.  Unfortunately the water wasn't open for swimming, but when it, we will head back.  Will also be taking my underwater camera there to get some under/over photos.  This is the nicest place we have been too I believe.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Roller Derby - Territory style!

So if there ever was a sport made for the crazy women of the Territory, then Roller Derby is it.  I know its pretty big on east coast, but tonite it made its debut in the territory.  The Darwin RollerGirls out muscled and played the Malice Springs Rollers by 194-134 I think.  Over 1000 people attended the game, which was a sell out, a shock to a lot of people!  If you get a chance to go to this sport, its fun, and worth going along too!!!