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Gulf of Carpentaria, 2012.

Part 2, the Conclusion

First of all, a thousand apologies for the late release of this edition of my September 2012 adventure trek through the Australian Northern Territory. I've had 'stuff' to deal with over the months which wiped out the creative side of my brain, especially the part which puts words, sentences, photos and expression together. Anyway, after much deliberation I have decided to finish this report via a single 'largish' upload rather than dragging it out via a third post. Consequently, some heavy editing has been undertaken to shorten it with focus shifted more to things deserving of a write-up. Anyway, without further ado I'd like to present the exciting conclusion: 'Gulf of Carpentaria 2012, Part 2. Please enjoy!

(please note: this is a very long and detailed trip post containing 61 high-image photos sized at '1024x768' resolution geared towards widescreen monitors. It also incorporates 16 short embedded video clips. Expect this report to suck all bandwidth dry!)

We farewell 'River X':
I've sometimes regarded my visits to the Gulf as a type of pilgrimage, maybe not to the extent of those walking the legendary Santiago de Compostela Camino in Spain seeking spiritual understanding, but as someone believing in goals and dreams and setting themselves personal challenges. River X is the place where aspirations are made and realised creating a sense of satisfaction that you've actually achieved something in life. I reckon that's a good thing.

Leaving behind such a rewarding piece of country is always difficult and I felt it while packing the Swift, knowing things were about to change. We'd now have to work harder to get a feed, watch our toes more in the water and find new trees for Frankie's hammock. 'River X' had been awesome, but I was sure we'd have just as much fun on the next leg of our journey as we pushed west chasing fish, adventure and excitement.

1 Memories of River X last forever as we prepare for new adventures.

2 Our first wet crossing on leaving River X. Shallow, but bumpy.

The Robinson Pool:
Always a fun drive in with its gulleys, washouts and soft sand, the side-track to the Robinson Pool upstream of the Robinson crossing can be blamed in 2012 for lessening the fuel capacity of my already tiny tank in the Swift. I accuse the lead driver for not calling in the boulder that did the damage - but he'll say he was distracted by a willy-willy at the time…

Here's a clip of part of a tricky section (i.e.for low clearance vehicles) encountered along the Robinson Pool track. A lot of this stuff just involves straddling the wheels across the ruts:

The Robinson pool didn't fish overly well but at least gave us a few barramundi to get worked up about with expectations a Goliath was only another cast away. For some reason the bushflies thought the pool a giant cow-pat and infested it in their thousands, driving Frankie off the water on his maiden outing and back to the truck for a sleep. I was more annoyed that another helicopter decided to turn up than a few hundred blowies on the face, wondering whether the pilot was tracking us from the last river.

Day 'Two' at the pool didn't result in much else being caught and another solo session again after Frankie left the liquid early for a second beauty sleep. Stupidly I didn't have the rifle stowed on board and as luck would have it, ran into a curious saltie in a quiet pool off the main drag.

3 Camp at the Robinson Pool - place of many flies, few fish and a late-nighter around the fire.

4 The Robinson River, quite wide but always easy to get over. The video below shows the Swift getting across:

The Robinson River crossing:
We spent a few days at the wide but shallow Robinson River road crossing in one of the prettiest and most popular campsites along the Savannah Way, dining on crispy skin barra by firelight alongside clear, gently flowing waters. Yeah, it's a pretty romantic kind of spot and I half wished Frankie had worn one of the strapless numbers he'd brought along to really set the mood, especially after a few beers and Bundy's. The key to obtaining the prime site here lies in arriving well before the families and 'convoys' turn up with their truckloads of screaming kids and babies, which is precisely what happened late on day 1. We caught a few fish in some of the larger pools in the area, but again nothing of size to write home about. Memories abound of the Robinson's fun stay with two deserving a quick mention. One was actually quite painful and a bit of a 'Russell Coight' moment after banging a rock against a large suspended hollow log unaware it concealed a wasp's nest. Naturally, I was stung on the top lip where instincts told me to scream and swat the thing on my face with the hand still clutching the rock. Aside from seeing 'stars', I enjoyed a swollen lip for the next 48 hours. The other memory wasn't as uncomfortable and involved a Black Dog:

5 Awesome campsite near the Robinson crossing.

6 Enjoying barra, beer and Bundy at the Robinson River, NT.

Black Dog:
I first saw Black Dog shortly after the morning exodus of tourists occurred at the river. She was scavenging around their still smouldering fires, pawing the ground for scraps and anything else that could be considered palatable. Clearly a drifter from one of the nearby Aboriginal communities, we felt sorry for the poor girl with teats dangling around her knees and carrying a nasty infestation of fleas, mites, ticks and parasites on her thin body. She seemed initially shy and timid but with a little AKFF love and some 'real' food she soon adopted us as friends and we nicknamed the little lady 'Black Dog'. She eventually continued her scavenge across the Gulf but not before dropping in on occasion for a pat, a sleep under the truck and another can of 'Tom Piper's' from Frankie's larder. Black Dog's tenderness touched each of us deeply and I'll always wonder what happened to her after she last visited to say goodbye as we prepared to leave the river.

Frankie's main memory of the place will be the Swedish lady sighted by a truckie walking solo across the Gulf of Carpentaria who was supposed to rock into our camp at night seeking food and shelter, and naturally him. Oh, and releasing a barra with his expensive lip-grippers still attached…

7 Black dog finishing off some 'Tom Piper's.'

The Foelshe River:
The tidal Foelshe River continues to create high expectations of fish but for some bizarre reason that I cannot put my finger on, never ever delivers - ever! This year we were at the Foelshe/Wearyan overlap ten kays paddling from camp as the tide turned, rose and began covering the bar. Mullet and baitfish were thick on the Wearyan side waiting to make the crossing into the Foelshe and we threw lures for over an hour through the schools for a grand total of just one queenfish on a popper. In the Foelshe's defence however, she does dish up great bush camping on the banks, especially when sharing it with tasty fried barra, cold beer, and exploding butane canisters.

8 The Foelshe Camp. Similar to 2010, the area above the river had been burnt out making camping arrangements a breeze. (The river is just over and down the bank behind the truck). In the morning here, I awoke to the normally shy 'Torres Strait Pigeon' feeding on berries in the tree next to my car. Great tucker, I didn't have the heart to pop one without some kind of a challenge involved!

The Foelshe is tidal up to where we camp but the water doesn't hang around for long before moving back out. This can mean a fairly long 'sandy' portage, some of which is shown in the next short clip:

9 Here is the Wearyan side of the Wearyan/Foelshe overlap with the tide running out and where schools of baitfish were congregated.

10 This image is captured looking to the right of the above shot i.e. the Foelshe side of the overlap. Frankie is shown here working a lure.

Here's a short video of the overlap showing the two rivers and tide running out (oh, and enjoy my attempt at CGI!):

11 And this is a rather big croc slide in the Foelshe we passed on the return to camp. Sights like this really get the heart racing not knowing where the beast has gone or may be waiting. The best way to manage things like this is to keep really shallow until well past the threat.

The Wearyan River:
We had two pleasant nights at the Wearyan with a bit of fishing thrown in to whet the appetites. In 2010 we found a place close to a tidal bar downstream that was nicknamed the 'Xmas snag' due to its uncanny ability to provide barramundi whenever a lure was presented to it. In 2012 this same snag offered fish but not in the numbers or size as back then - until Frankie hooked up to what was possibly his biggest barra of the trip. I managed to tow him into deep, open water to battle the beast before moving away, camera ready waiting to record this special moment in time. Alas, just when I thought PBs were about to be smashed and the record books rewritten the line went limp and he wound in another shredded leader, spliced on the fish's sharp gills…The big fella looked shattered: 'That's it', he said almost in tears, 'I'm using wire from now on!' The rest of the river fished quite poorly overall with only a few barra and jacks caught to get excited about. One of these was swum back to camp on the tether cord but managed to lose its tail to a small bull shark. I thought it amusing at the time holding the cord tight as the shark tugged and thrashed about with the fish in its mouth.

12 Morning fog at the Wearyan camp. It was here where we listened on ABC radio to my team 'Manly' get smashed by the Melbourne Storm in the semis - very sad nite…

13 Exploring the 'Wearyan island' which formed during the 2010 wet. These types of random creations mid-stream are usually temporary so I was surprised to see it still here. Crocodiles love them by the way.

14 Frankie with a small Wearyan Jack.

15 Filling some water containers as we prepare to leave the Wearyan River.

Fletcher Creek:
The return to Fletcher Creek located a short distance west of the Wearyan River was always going to be traumatic. Those of you who followed my 2010 trek through the NT bush will remember how in September of that year, a snappy saurian grabbed the kayak in this very creek leaving the hull scarred and emotions shaken. Consequently, I only managed to see a relatively small part of the waterway before racing back to the car carrying my tail between my legs. In 2012 I had Frankie along for moral support which would not only make things more relaxed, but reduce the chance of being attacked by half as the 'target' was now divided in two. Without him around I still would have paddled the creek however, been a lot more nervous in myself.

16 Our gulley campsite at Fletcher Creek.

We picked up the track into the Fletcher off the main road with Frankie taking the lead to call in any difficult stretches for the Swift. She did bog down in sand at one point, but nothing a quick tow from behind and cross-country detour couldn't fix. After making camp in a shaded gully off the track, I was surprised when a number of four-wheel drives appeared along the same route to the creek, halting when they saw us. A myriad of black faces stared from the windows as we walked across to meet the group, noticing some of the occupants climbing through windows on doors that wouldn't open on one of the more un-roadworthy vehicles in the troupe.

The mob were friendly enough but it appeared we'd trespassed onto someone's land, solved when the man in charge said he'd pass our details onto the property owner in town (Borroloola) later on. Once formalities were completed, I mentioned us intending to paddle the nearby Fletcher creek. Somehow this amused all there leading to a cavalcade of stories being unleashed of monstrous aggressive crocodiles that had attacked cars, people, dogs and boats - and probably even the odd low flying helicopter during the last muster. Even though I calculated that most of these encounters occurred during the past wet, it didn't help things considering what had happened there two years earlier. When I questioned how many huge crocs we'd actually be dealing with I was told just three, two a short way downriver with the third offender calling a pool upstream home. One of the blacks was extremely precise in sizing the largest creature we'd soon be running into, spreading both palms wide to show the width of the massive front paw.

17 Launch site at the Fletcher, not long after being told of massive crocs waiting to devour us.

We (s)hit the water:
Nerves were screaming as I launched into the creek and carefully inched past the first set of rocks (those in view above), acquiring position near the bank and scanning the surface ahead for anything warranting a second look. At the time I was alone, eagerly waiting for Frankie who seemed to be taking an awfully long time to join me as I sat quietly with the rifle in my hands, staring intently at an object that had surfaced fifty metres downstream near the left bank. I knew it was a big saltie and had the sights trained on the head as Frankie arrived, sending the reptile gently to the bottom. I suggested we make for the opposite side to avoid contact and moved off, soon calling out to my colleague behind to come up alongside for protection and safety. Hearing something that appeared to be more than a few 'I'll be there in a moment' paddle strokes, I turned around surprised to see the same croc now swirling behind his kayak a metre from the hull. 'Oops', I thought amusingly, 'shouldn't have gone this way!' How he wasn't bitten astounds me but some quick reflexes from the big Queenslander got him clear before the jaws had a chance to clamp down.

Seriously, that was the first time I'd ever seen Frankie sporting a worried look on his face and he made comment about not going on, especially after what the blacks had said about the giants waiting downstream to feed on us. I nearly agreed with him but explained that I'm often 'shit-scared' when kayaking the Gulf. You have to anticipate encountering crocs at some stage otherwise you'd never come here. Somehow that made sense and we pushed on, cautiously at first before eventually relaxing and enjoying our time on the water. Remarkably, after expecting waves of crocs to be attacking the boats throughout the day we never came across another the entire time… The fish were likewise on vacation resulting in limp lines but we did appreciate exploring something new for a change as the creek meandered lazily through a wild and unspoilt landscape.

18 Scenery deep down Fletcher Creek - minus the supposed crocs that were meant to be there.

The natives become restless:
We'd easily conquered the Fletcher's 'Dreamtime' reptiles and now had to get out. The following morning we packed and left, Frankie again leading with me behind enjoying his slow settling dust. Midway between camp and the main road he radioed that someone was approaching. 'More of the same mob' I thought as an Aboriginal man at the wheel of a white 'fourbie' waved me to a stop. Leaning from the window he asked what we were doing there. I briefly told him, adding how a local we'd met the day before was supposed to clear things with the land-owner about camping along his road. The man then surprised me by saying that he was the land-owner, that we were trespassing, and that we'd have to reimburse him $120 each car for camping there… Clearly unhappy with the exorbitant pricing, I argued the point that the track in wasn't signposted deeming it public access and that we'd never crossed the creek to his actual house. Long story short (and believe me, it was a long story arguing the point) I convinced him he was breaking the law claiming ownership of a public road and told him to put some signs up before the next carload of kayakers drove in looking for somewhere to fish. 'Hey Frankie' I radioed jubilantly, 'You owe me $120!'

Less than an hour later we'd reached Borroloola for a general clean-up and regrouping session in the caravan park. More importantly though, we were there to use town as a base for a journey to a sinkhole I'd mapped a route into thousands of kilometres away back in Sydney. To ensure we could actually drive to the point where I calculated that we'd need to walk, I suggested we complete a dummy run in the truck before attempting going full-scale the next day. This mission had been five years in the making and I was hoping things went off without a hitch.

19 Exhaust 'repairs' on the Swift at Borroloola - Plastibond is the bushman's friend!

Setting off mid-afternoon, we drove twenty kilometres south before locating a certain track off the bitumen which through satellite imagery and the GPS, would connect to another path or three eventually leading to a waypoint marked 'walk from here'. I was a little surprised noticing the initial track well-used but once discarding it for a couple of faint, ancient cow-trampled depressions barely recognisable through the burnt landscape, all evidence of recent use vanished. Miraculously, after picking our way carefully through the numerous waypoints we actually found 'walk from here' precisely where it was supposed to be. I have always been amazed with the accuracy of Google Earth and on this occasion it delivered superbly, including revealing the impassable gully close by where we did in fact have to leave the vehicle behind. Overjoyed at our success we began our return, not quite expecting what was waiting for us in one of the gullies on the main track in…

20 Marking the route in with good 'ole dunny paper!

Dropping into a creek bed we came across a mob of blacks standing around two four wheel drives parked on the sand. One of the trucks seemed in reasonably new condition with the other heavily cut down and modified into a bull-catcher. I noticed an old woman in the party, four or five kids of various ages and two adult men. One of those men in particular glared at us when we stopped and approached Frankie's truck. I said hello to him, asking if they needed any help. The following is a summary of the conversation which followed:

'No we don't need your help! What are you doing here?'
'Err, just going for a drive. Why?'
'This is Aboriginal land. You're trespassing - this is my land. I'm gonna have to fine you!'
'We didn't know it was Aboriginal land. We just saw a track and followed it and went exploring.'
'You know what I do to people I find out here - I bash them!'

At that point I sensed things were about to turn ugly. The man in my face was making personal threats against us which in my mind, he intended carrying out. Physically, he was well-built for the job of belting people and cranky enough to do so. The other bloke present who could have been a problem was much younger than the person I was speaking with but as yet, not getting involved. Frankie seemed to be remaining calm at this point but I sensed his fuse burning low and knew he wouldn't hesitate defending himself should the situation escalate. I didn't want to see that happen, especially with the kids and old lady nearby and set about trying to talk the situation down as much as I could:

'If we'd known it was your land we would've asked for permission.'
'You know I bashed a cop that I found here. He lost his job as well. I'm gonna have to fine you and take your car!'
Hearing that, Frankie started the ignition with the intention of driving out before the younger bloke was told to block us in with his vehicle. We weren't going anywhere.
'Hey, where are you going?'
Frankie mentioned something about telling the police in town and how they could deal with it.
'Hey, are you being smart? Are you the smart guy? I'll ram your car and push it into the creek!'
More steam from Frankie's nostrils. I quietly signalled to him to say nothing as I felt he was about to explode.
'Where are you from?'
'We're tourists from Sydney, up here on holidays. We're staying in town and just felt like going on a drive.'
'Did you see the sign as you came in saying this was Aboriginal land?'
'No, we came in from the Doomadgee side - didn't see any sign so we didn't know it was Aboriginal land.'
At this point I sensed a slight change in the man's mood but still believed the wrong remark would see a ham-sized fist coming through the window.
'I live at Curtain Springs up the road. Why didn't you come and ask permission first?'
'Because we didn't know you lived there. So, can we come and see you tomorrow and ask permission to come back out here?
'You scared all the bulls away. We came down here to catch one and you scared them all.'
'We didn't see any bulls…'
The rage suddenly came back. 'That's because you scared them!'
'Look mate we're really sorry we trespassed, but can we come back tomorrow and ask permission to come back out here?'
'You're tourists you say? How long are you here for?'
'Just a day or two and we like bushwalking. Your land is really nice and we want to explore a bit more. Can we come back tomorrow for permission?'
'You know I should be fining you!'
I felt the conversation going in circles at this point but stressed the fact that we'd made an honest mistake:
'Hey mate, look we're really sorry but we don't know the rules up here as we're just dumb tourists from Sydney. If we knew the rules we would've asked permission. Can we come and see you in the morning and get permission?'
He stared at me for what seemed like an eternity before speaking again.
'Look, I'm gonna decide to let you go. You're the first people I ever let go that I catch here. I can see you're an old bloke anyway…'
I took some aversion to being called an 'old bloke' but to my surprise the guy managed a smile as I offered my hand and we shook, feeling a deliberate crush of flesh before I had a chance to counter the squeeze. Frankie lent across and shook as well, hopefully matching the pressure after warning him what was coming. At that moment an extraordinary change came over our new best friend, 'John'.
'Hey, come out to see me tomorrow at my home. Do you want to come piggin' or catch some bulls. I'll take you to a spot up the track to get some barra - plenty of barra up there!' he said excitedly…

I didn't care too much about catching bulls or pigs - all that really mattered was we'd just made a new and extremely important friend, and obtained permission to trek freely across a restricted part of the Australian outback to finally lay eyes on what I'd dreamed about for a very long time. As we waved goodbye to the smiling gathering in the gully I turned proudly to Frankie: 'Mate, that's twice in one day I've saved your arse. You owe me big time!' And no, he didn't kiss me.

Nimbi Nimbi - A voyage of Discovery:
The next morning we seemed to 'lose' John between his home in Curtain Springs and Borroloola and it wasn't until noon that I managed to spot his blue Navarra at the Bulk Discount Store in town with the man in question in the driver's seat. Walking over to him, he left the cabin to give me a 'man-hug' before shaking hands, much to the bewilderment of the few dozen blacks loitering in the area. 'Hey John', I said. 'Is it still okay for us to go walking on your land?' 'Yeah' he said waving an arm in the air, 'Go anywhere you like!'

21 Best mates! John and I at Borroloola.

The area we'd planned to explore was known traditionally on the maps either as Nimbi Nimbi or Numby Numby, depending on whose references were taken. We hadn't actually told John we were heading there and he didn't mention it even though he knew our trek would be in the general direction of the pool. Better to say nothing I thought just in case we were met with some kind of 'sacred site' restriction. In researching Nimbi Nimbi, I'd only ever found two photos of the pool taken from the air in the 80s (I think) and uploaded to Google Earth several years ago. To me that wasn't good enough and I'd always dreamed of seeing what was really out there and getting some current digital imagery of the place.

The following video shows some of the track in plus a basic crossing, then ends where the path disappears entirely and we had to rely on the GPS:

22 The waypoint 'Walk from Here' was spot-on (note the gulley in the background that I identified in GE and couldn't be crossed in the truck).

23 Fires were still burning in places. Below follows a little video I took in this area:

Our seven kilometre trek began at the hottest part of the day across a land recently blackened by fire. Several areas continued to burn adding to the heat however, we agreed to disregard temperatures and powerwalk the distance to the pool in as straight a line as possible to save time. Despite the land appearing like the aftermath of a North Korean missile strike, the absence of vegetation actually assisted in allowing us to maintain a near direct track. Putting all faith in the GPS though became one of the weirdest things I'd ever done and throughout the hike visions emerged of miscalculations and waypoint errors and whether we'd actually find our destination mark. My curiosity was also racing as to what we'd see once reaching our target. The land being traversed was basically flat and featureless and didn't appear to possess the attributes needed to support a giant hole full of deep, artesian water.

24 Pure devastation - we went through seven kays of mixed terrain like this putting all faith in the GPS to reach the alleged sinkhole.

When the GPS beeped saying we were nearly there I began thinking the entire project, created years ago on a rundown Pentium PC one night after a few 'home brews' had been a complete waste of time - I'd mucked up the location, the hole had been filled by landslides and we'd die from thirst. Then, through a backdrop of fried branches I saw something in the distance which appeared to be a kind of depression. Switching the camera to video I began filming, trembling with excitement knowing that in under a minute something on my bucket list would soon be fulfilled. Reaching the edge and trying to control my breathing, I panned the lens down attempting to capture something that few people on this planet had probably ever seen. The following video shows us approaching the sinkhole for the first time:

The hole was larger than expected and full of clear, aqua-coloured water that seemed entirely out of place in respect to the terrain we'd just covered. I took a few photos before trying to find a way down, recalling how earlier investigation mentioned a washaway on the north-western perimeter as the route to take. I needn't have bothered with research however, and just followed the wallaby tracks that accessed a crumbling shale wall into a shaded inlet of dense lily pads where the water temperature measured a warm 31C. Here are a few photos I made as we walked the perimeter of the depression:

25 Eastern view of Nimbi.

26 View from directly opposite, looking back to where the above photo was taken.

Here is a clip of us walking the perimeter looking for the way down:

27 View west, looking into the access point down and the lily pads.

28 Another angle, taken while nearing the access point in.

29 Frankie looking at the wrong way down. Note the crumbling shale which could have collapsed quite easily.

One of my missions at Nimbi was to take depth readings of the pool. Accomplishing this involved snorkelling out through the forest of lilies (gross!) into open water and dropping a weighted line to the bottom. After testing several locations I soon realised this was a very significant body of water, the deepest mark indicating an astonishing 55 metres (measured accurately later). To say it felt weird floating alone mid-pool was an understatement, not knowing whether some resident mythical Dreamtime beast would suddenly materialise and drag me under. After all, legend said the place was taboo to the blacks because of a disagreement with the rainbow serpent some time back when the depression was first formed. Nevertheless, I managed to conduct my assessment of the pool without mishap but wasn't convinced the water was thermally heated as someone claimed years ago. Granted, the surface temperature was hovering around the 31C mark but that could easily have been explained by the warm sun and I clearly felt the toes a little cooler when treading water mid-pool.

30 Part of the Nimbi project was to take measurements and readings. Here I am tangled in the lilies trying to achieve this.

31 Finally I'm out in the open and able to measure the depth.

32 Perspective of the pool on the climb out.

33 Heading back to the truck after our session at the sinkhole, we discovered these rippled rocks atop a rise, caused by wave action and conclusive evidence that this whole area was once a sea floor millions of years ago.

It would have been magical spending a night in the area but Frankie's holiday had been cut short by work commitments and he couldn't afford the time. So, we hiked seven kilometres back to the truck in more oppressive heat, reaching it late afternoon drained but happy. We'd done it, and had one amazing story to tell!

The Limmen River:
The next morning we packed for the Limmen River, a great little fishing locale and home to some good barra for me over the years. Frankie had not been there before but could only spare two days before having to return to Karratha for work. It was a shame he couldn't stay on, as the Cox River junction following the Limmen also had fishing potential plus its unique tidal waterfall to appreciate and the chance of massive crocs. Several creek crossings are encountered en-route to the Limmen which can vary in depth quite significantly. Here's one that I didn't initially walk and surprised me by being deeper than expected, the actual water 'peeking' over the bonnet at one stage. Unfortunately, I had the camera aimed just a touch too high to capture that exact moment:

On reaching the Limmen camp, I saw for the first time since visiting the area many years ago in 1999 that fires had completely destroyed the normally pretty environment and sent any animals away. The only positive from the carnage was exposing a new area slightly off track to camp in though the blackened ground made everything seem hotter and dirtier than normal. I might just add here that since leaving River X the entire countryside either side of the road had been burnt. I've harped on this before about the useless destruction of bush caused by the locals but still it goes on year after year wiping out helpless plants and animals. It wasn't mentioned earlier on the Nimbi report but in the fourteen kilometres we walked, I never came across or saw another living creature (excluding Frankie) except near a drying waterhole and at the actual sinkhole.

34 Limmen camp, in the new area exposed after the fires had passed through.

The Limmen - Wetting a line:
The barramundi fishing had been a little disappointing over the past week but luckily the Limmen allowed us to bag a few more, some being quite sizeable and worthy of a digital memory. Typical Limmen fishing though, many kilometres of paddling were needed to get the fish in areas inhabited with crocodiles that occasionally made a guest appearance. One encounter though not threatening, is worth a mention as I consider what happened being 'instructional' for people considering paddling similar waters:

It's not rocket science that fruit bats in the NT attract hungry crocs, especially those swinging in their thousands above tidal rivers keeping the world awake with those annoying squawks. One such colony had decided to make camp in the upper reaches of the Limmen where the banks weren't too wide and passing by felt like playing Russian roulette wondering where the predators were. Keeping paddle noise to a minimum saw me negotiate the 'feeding zone' without incident and I was about to put the rifle away when I heard a banging from upstream. Turning around, I noticed Frankie next to the bats thumping his kayak trying to stir them up (I think). I screamed to myself, 'No Frankie, what are you doing!' just as the scrub above the bank exploded sending a three metre reptile crashing into the river beside me. Yeah, thanks for that one mate!

35 One of the better fish from the Limmen - C'mon big boy, up ya come!

36 That's better - Finally, after so much paddling and driving a decent fish for a photo.

Frankie took some video here showing the fish and release:

Traumatic times in the Limmen:
I've basically covered the Limmen River in past trip reports so there's no need to dwell on it further. However, on September 26, 2012 something transpired there that seriously had me wondering whether I'd be coming home that year. I've detailed the incident below as it unfolded, aiming to recreate exactly what happened at the time. Here goes:

Back in 'River X' we adopted the method of tethering barramundi to the rear of the kayak to swim them back to camp where they stayed alive and fresh in the heat. Later at the Wearyan River we did the same until a snappy little bully grabbed the fish from behind, biting off the tail following a 'give it back!' AAMI moment (you know, that silly lady with the swan…) on the tether. Hmm, can you see where this is going?

The barramundi I'd tethered to the kayak in the Limmen would have been in the 60-65cm range, healthy and fat and good for a few meals. I'd swum it for probably five kilometres before the river commenced a wide left arc towards a tidal bar where the quieter pools beyond I knew were infested with troublesome bullies. At the time I wasn't trolling but decided to put out a lure for the final 400 metres to the bar where I'd then bring the fish in to keep the sharks away. As I lay the paddle down with the intention of picking up the rod, the kayak jarred to a sudden halt before being dragged violently backwards. Instinctively scrambling for the paddle, I dug the blades down deep to counter the pull I knew was originating from the tether line. To my disbelief I found no amount of thrust had any effect on what I believed was a big croc behind me. Frankie was thirty metres off to my front left and I screamed out to him that something had the fish. He turned towards me with a blank stare as the kayak maintained a rear course, no amount of paddling being able to stop it.

Once I sensed the animal growing tired of dragging what would have been a cumbersome load, I managed to turn around to try identifying what I was actually dealing with. The first thing I noticed was the incredible tension on the tether line and shock cord it was clipped to. Stretched beyond its limits, the laws of physics said it should have snapped by now. But, my biggest surprise came at the end of the line. The barramundi was gone, replaced not by a crocodile but the upper body of the largest bull shark I'd ever seen. Strangely I felt relief just then, knowing that at any moment the nylon trailing from its mouth would be cut and I'd simply be cursing the loss of a bloody good meal! Unfortunately, that was when things went pear-shaped and what followed began one of the most harrowing ordeals of my kayaking life.

The shark unexpectedly dived for the bottom, wrenching on the line and taking the boat down with it. The hull rocked and lurched as I was thrown off-balance, an adjustment in weight fused with a savage paddle assault made to stem the flow of water into the cockpit. Several long seconds passed before the kayak righted itself, leaving me wondering why I was still attached to the animal. Before I had time to think too much about us parting ways the boat went under again, a concerto of unyielding thumps accompanying the dive that travelled through the line and hull like a jackhammer. Water streamed in behind the seat as I battled with the paddle to keep things as level as possible aiming to conserve buoyancy. It was about then when I contemplated the seriousness of being pulled completely under in a river probably crawling with curious sharks at the time. If the cord didn't snap soon, I felt I'd soon be swimming with them.

The kayak bobbed back to the surface easing the anxiety of staying afloat when without a moment's mercy was taken down a third time. I noticed the cord had shifted more to my left side by now causing the craft to nearly flip if the tension wasn't countered by leaning excessively to the right. Stuck in this position for what seemed like forever, I watched the water level creep up the sides of the hull before another outbreak of solid body 'slams' saw it breach the edging again. Annoyingly, I'd expected the shark to be tiring by now yet the direct opposite appeared to be occurring and I honestly believed it had the strength and determination to pressure the nylon until the hull filled and I sank. At that moment I basically accepted things being over for me and that if the animal took another journey south, I'd be swimming with it. Strangely, in all my years exploring the Gulf I'd always imagined a big crocodile doing the final damage and felt cheated that a shark should get the credit.

The pressure eased once again allowing the kayak to right itself. Enjoying my final moments alive, I heard what sounded like a 'crack' as the line snapped taut and the shark drove its body downwards in what felt like the most powerful descent yet. Tipping dangerously to the left, I dropped the paddle and clasped the edges of the cockpit for stability as the kayak took an absolute pounding through the line. My legs were anchored safely inside the hull ready for submersion, assuming the built-in buoyancy tanks kept me at least partially afloat once flooded. Nevertheless, I knew that once the creature realised it wasn't fighting against it as much, little energy would be expelled to offset a couple of 'neutral' buoyancy containers. For now it was the only plan I had and so long as I could hold my breath throughout each 'take-down', I'd be okay and maybe then Frankie would attempt a rescue instead of just watching the whole thing in dumb amusement.

Looking down I saw the river rising with each heave on the line, levelling out a millimetre from the cockpit edge. An especially powerful shudder then shook the boat as I sensed the shark taking position for what I expected to be its final dive. The strain on the cord increased and the kayak was pulled sharply sideways. Bracing for submersion I counted the seconds before I'd be under when unexpectedly, everything went quiet and I bobbed gently to the surface, free from the animal. Turning around, I realised the line hadn't been severed with the entire shock cord and retaining fastener now missing from its anchor on the back deck. I floated in silence a moment before paddling over to Frankie more than a little upset: 'F'king shark took our dinner,' I told him sadly before making for the rock bar and camp.

37 Area in the Limmen where the shark took the fish on the tether line.

Several questions will probably be raised from this, the obvious being, 'What on earth were you thinking tethering fish in shark and croc infested rivers?' My only answer here is that it seemed a good idea at the time - It's just unfortunate I didn't count on the sharks getting so big. Here are a couple more that people have asked since returning to Sydney:

Q Why didn't you just cut the nylon cord when the shark was on?
A The nylon cord was clipped onto shock cord on the rear deck which had stretched way out of reach from the tension applied to it. At no moment during the tussle did I have time to drop the paddle, find the knife and try to cut myself free. I spent the entire time trying to steady the boat, mainly by controlling the paddle and adjusting my weight. Even though I have described this ordeal in considerable detail, everything was happening at speed, allowing next to no time to do anything but keep the boat as level as possible to stop it taking water.
Q Why didn't you try to shoot the shark?
A. See above - same reason.
Q How big do you think it was?
A. I never saw the full length so I can't say but big enough to pull a buoyant kayak under. Do the math.
Q. Would you tether fish to the kayak in the future in similar waters?
A. Actually yes, but I'd employ a quick-release mechanism over the fixed one. It's still a great way to keep fish alive and fresh in the heat!
Q. How does this compare to when the croc bit the kayak on the 2010 trip?
A Honestly, I was more concerned of the outcome this time, especially with what else was probably swimming underneath me at the time. This ordeal lasted much longer as well meaning the 'suffering' was extended.
Q. Why didn't Frankie come and help you?
A. Who? Oh Frankie, that guy who wanks on about hammocks? I actually think he was laughing too much to really do anything useful. Let him describe what he saw - it actually is quite amusing!

That night at the Limmen was Frankie's last in the bush. Come morning he'd be off to Karratha, WA leaving me to fight my demons alone once again. Seriously though, I was getting tired of fighting demons year after year at the Limmen, especially when trying to sleep and the visions became real upsetting slumber patterns. As in the past however, I'd learnt to put creepy things behind me and soldier on, especially with a few more days fishing still on the agenda to help clear the mind.

Going Alone:
Diary date 27th Sept, 2012
Frankie seemed surprised when I decided to stay on another day at the river but with great weather and fish to be caught there seemed no reason to pack and go so soon. In addition, I'd planned a little cross-country bushwalk to a nearby creek system and was keen to check it out. An abnormal silence fell over camp when he drove out as I prepared to battle the bush alone once again but didn't delay with plans, getting the hike underway early before the sun got too warm and the snakes came out to play. The rest of a 'typical day at the Limmen' could be summarised as follows:

• Attempted to catch that big ole' shark with a big ole' lure (well, wouldn't you…);
• Had a helicopter hover overhead me in the river, close enough to be impacted by the rotor downdraft;
• Went to retrieve dinner (mangrove jack) from a keeper net - found the net ripped apart by the sharks and my meal gone;
• Another five barra landed, plus two jacks;
• The saltie near the bat colony said hello again - I think we're good friends now;
• Drank port at night, listened to a 'Di Morrisey' audio book and star gazed;
• Realised Di Morrisey writes 'girly' stories - but bloody good ones!
• Went to sleep quite late in a car crawling with ants;
• Missed my buddy Frankie.

Here are a few digital memories from the day:

38 On my bushwalk to the creek system I came across this family of seven (very still) quails - look carefully, can you see them?

39 A little further on I realised a 'wobbly' was checking me out (center shot).

40 This is part of what I discovered on the morning walk - cascading waterfalls, tropical pools and wildlife aplenty.

I've also included a short video of a Limmen barra that gave me hell as it decided to take a path under several overhanging trees. What I like in the commentary though, is how I said I'd release it as I already had a jack stowed away for dinner (in a keeper net not far away). But, as the photo directly below the video reveals, the sharks got to it first leaving me with nothing but a keeper net with even more holes in it!

41 My trashed keeper net with the jack long gone.I average one keeper net per trip up here which is why I always take two away.

42 Final(and emotional) moments at the Limmen camp as I prepare to leave (note the clearing in the background where the track ends - that was the old camping area). Nevertheless, this trip was far from over and the ultimate surprise was still yet to come…

The end (of the Limmen chapter).

New day, new dreams:
It's not every day that one of your lifelong aspirations comes true, an item on your wish list that for some reason or another has proven elusive ever since the notion of kayaking the Northern Territories' rivers began so many years ago. I'm talking specifically about joining the kayak barramundi 'metre-club.' And no, not with one of those obese farmed impoundment fish fattened on chicken nuggets and cooked prawn heads, but a wild creature dragged from its natural habitat on light line. Beyond the Limmen only minimal opportunities remained to accomplish my goal of such a fantasy fish before heading home and I hoped the planets had aligned themselves correctly when I next wet the boat.

The only thing I felt could ruin my dreams was the car. As it began distancing itself from the Limmen I sensed the clunking in the rear becoming more pronounced as the corrugation spells worsened. I'd tried to locate the source of the problem many times over the weeks and suspected a worn suspension bushing but with the car loaded, was unable to determine which one was the culprit. The alternator was the other main issue and continued to undercharge despite giving just enough power to the battery to keep the electricals and fridge happy. Running lights at night I knew would stress the unit but decided not to worry about that until I actually had to use them.

The Cox/Limmen junction:
Reaching the Cox junction to make camp I found I had it all to myself, any other day-trippers nowhere to be seen. After quickly settling in, I launched the kayak targeting the main Limmen channel where I had low expectations of picking up anything decent but with favourable rising tides, was worth a try. An hour passed by spinning a patch of rocks off a bank for nothing before I gave it away to follow the same tide over the Cox bar. Within ten minutes I'd sorted out a barramundi for dinner which for once wasn't stolen by a shark. The Cox's deep pools had potential for further action but I decided to limit the excursion to the onset of the wide, deep hole where the now beardless Craig (Junglefisher) met 'T-Rex' back in 2009. This place continues to give me the creeps and with the sun dipping low complicating vision, there was no way I'd take unnecessary risks purely for a fish, especially with a rifle demonstrating serious misfiring issues.

43 Cox camp, sorting out my crap before hitting the water.

44 The Cox bar, a restrictive deterrent to anything bigger that kayaks heading upstream.

The next day the tide was a little late covering the bar but I launched anyway, figuring upstream was deep enough to hold a few 'rod benders'. My assumptions were correct and the Cox once again turned it on, offering nine nice fish with five escapees throwing the lures. Strangely, over the 20-kilometre return journey I didn't come across any large crocodiles which became unexpected considering the number of ideal habitats encountered. I didn't plan on spending more than two nights at the junction and come morning intended to shift to 'Big Lake', a pretty pool last visited in 2010 for some fantastic camping and tarpon fishing. What this basically meant however, was that I'd lost my chance to get my 'metre' trophy as places and time were running out unless I decided to tackle the Roper River or one of its croc-filled offshoots.

'I love it when a plan comes together!'
Diary date: 30/9/2012
A weather check early on the new day saw skies dark and cloudy with rain a real possibility. Everything about it reminded me of 2010 when a crocodile chomped the kayak and therefore, wasn't missing leaving the Cox behind for a user-friendly lake that didn't offer similar saurian packages. Once mobile however, I had a sudden urge to try something with the kayak in a place I hadn't stayed at or launched from since September 1999. Little did I know then what this random change of plans would lead to:

With the Swift safely off the road sheltered beneath a stand of trees, I carried the boat to the water staring intently at the sky. It stank of vicious crocs and knowing the rifle was faulty almost saw me cancel the outing. Eventually I forgot about the past, took a seat in the present and pushed away from the edge. There was no way I was going to cancel a morning's fishing because of something which happened two years ago!

Five minutes from launch saw a small barramundi in the net followed quickly by three of his mates. It wasn't until trolling a deeper section of structure further along however that things became somewhat more interesting. The fish were significantly larger than those caught earlier and seemed to be concentrated between two particular snags where the lure was being continuously bumped. I soon gave up trolling for casting, placing the lure around one of the snags and enjoying the regular strike and capture which followed.

After releasing yet another fine specimen from the depths I decided to experiment with a large popper aiming to entice the fish to the surface. Hardly expecting a result, I was surprised when the river exploded beneath the plastic launching it skyward to land two metres from impact. 'Holy shite!' I said aloud winding in, seriously wondering whether it was wise trying to catch whatever had hit it. The next cast saw the popper travel a short distance before another similar detonation threw it clear. Some hesitation prevailed with putting it out again but I did, finally seeing the hooks hold and easily the biggest barramundi of the day netted. Believing it possible to control anything out there on light line, I returned the lure to the snag adopting another slow retrieve. Not much happened until it neared the kayak whereby the river again exploded showering both man and boat. 'Faark that's huge!' I screamed, clearly happy I didn't lose my lure to that particular fish on some underwater structure. I was beginning to shake a little by now, realising it only a matter of moments before the 'really big guys' below got serious and stopped playing.

45 That bit of a tree poking out just to the right of the center is near where some very big fish lived and where most of the action was concentrated.

Another cast had the popper back on the snag where a series of 'bloops' brought it almost to within touching distance. As I was about to lift it in a truly cavernous mouth opened and it gently disappeared. Unsure why I actually let this happen, I held the rod expecting immediate disaster but to my surprise the fish chose to drag me midstream, away from the snag and where following a challenging but somewhat 'lazy' battle, allowed me to tire it. Clearly too large for the net, I swam it upstream towards an island sporting a pretty little beach.

46 Not a bad fish I thought at the time.

One look at the thing lying in the sandy shallows told me it had to be a metre but without a tape-measure, could only be estimated and marked on the paddle for later confirmation (105cm). I wished Frankie was there at that moment to share my joy. After all the years battling the elements and suffering endless ridicule I'd finally done myself proud with the ultimate trophy, a 'metre-barra' on 6-kilo mono! Releasing the fish and watching it swim slowly away became the ultimate conclusion to a fantastic adventure holiday. Nevertheless, it didn't mean I had to put the rod away and a return to the snag saw another fantastic specimen boated before I decided to give the place a rest for a look downstream. Three hours of mixed success elapsed before dreams of something bigger filled the head and I came back to the snag. (continued below following picture 49)

47 Well, wouldn't you be happy…It's taken me 13 years yakkin' the Gulf to get me a fish like this!

48 A different angle of the same fish. The reel in shot here is the same Penn Slammer 360 which has performed effortlessly over the past three trips away.

49 View from the beach where I swam the fish to. All the action happened in the background on the right side of the river.

Here is the video of the above fish and its release. I had the camera sitting on the front of the kayak at the time which is why I seem to be making an effort to keep in shot:

The sun had finally broken through the cloud by now which seemed to affect the popper's performance as absolutely nothing touched it. Replacing it with a battered RMG diver, the first throw saw the plastic whacked down deep by another sizeable creature that became wrapped in a surface snag. Working the leader by hand got it free and into the net with another trip to the beach for a photo and measurement, later learning she went 95cm and making it my second largest barramundi ever landed. I knew there were bigger fish lurking around the snag but decided to retire then, more than happy to pick up something smaller to take back to the car.

50 This is the 95cm fish taken from the same snag about three hours later. It sort of seems smaller than this but that's because the tail is underwater and she was a lot leaner in girth and shoulder than the larger fish above.The video below gives a better representation of size of this fish and where I commented that I thought she was more in the high 80's:

Big Lake:
Big Lake had undergone a remarkable transformation in the two years since leaving it. Water levels were well down from 2010 meaning driving was possible across the smooth flat edge to some really nice campsites offering million-dollar views. Fishing became abysmal however, the shallower water concentrating the weed and if any tarpon were present, I never found them. Angling turned more into a bird-watching venture with the lake and surrounds teeming with ducks, geese and other waterbirds loving the weed and rising in huge flocks whenever I neared them. I found the birds took flight after dark as well, especially when shaken by the sounds of exploding butane canisters. Beer, bombs and 'Di Morrissey' - life was pretty good at big lake, even if there were no fish about.

51 Awesome camping at Big Lake.

52 Spectacular sunsets at Big Lake.

53 Amazing dawns at Big Lake as the moon sets beginning a new day.

54 Birds everywhere, but no fish!

55 Curious ducks and geese near camp.

Following my second morning at the lake I was supposed to leave for Mataranka but had a momentary urge to catch something big. I knew exactly where to achieve this and returned to the snag targeting the monsters that called the place home. Full sunshine greeted me on this occasion which seemed to make the popper useless. Switching to the RMG did the trick and on the second cast was connected to a solid beast that dragged me backwards into the snag before becoming caught up in branches just below the surface. Moving in to unravel the line I saw she was easily over the metre, possibly even larger than her companion nabbed two days earlier. Once the leader and fish was free I attempted to guide this latest trophy towards the boat however she didn't comply and gave a thrust downwards, the nylon slicing the hand as I tried uselessly to stop it. Seconds later all tension eased and the fish and lure was gone. Disappointed, I managed a quick keeper for the fridge before waving the snag goodbye to conclude the most amazing month of barramundi fishing in my life.

56 After just missing another monster at the snag I managed something to take back to the fridge. This was my last barra caught for the year 2012 and which fed me over the trip home, the last fillet being consumed at Tambo, QLD during an overnight stopover. Note the shock-cord arrangement - this is what the shark in the Limmen took off with.

Going Home:
Easing the car from bush to bitumen was never going to be an easy task. Mataranka had to be reached before the service stations closed for the night and I prayed the road wasn't too rough to make it on time. Punishment began early however, the 'highway' dishing up probably the worst corrugations of the trip including random pools of deep mud and water, tell-tale reminders of the recent storm activity. An '86 Swift can only handle so much misuse and when I thought something had to fail, the engine light came on forcing me to pull over. Ten minutes later the starter motor seized up and the car wouldn't go anywhere. Here is a short video driving through a bulldust patch on leaving Big Lake. Looking back over this clip, the Swift seems to handle it better than the truck directly behind:

Eventually, after being gawked at by every other driver I saw (I'm kind of used to that by now) I did make the smoothness of bitumen wondering once again what it was that keeps this little buzz-box together after such unforgiving treatment. On completing an oil change I drove the final 126 kilometres to town where I managed to find a service station that forgot to close on time. Fuelled and with camp and dinner organised at the awesome 'Territory Manor' (barra on the barby), I prepared the Swift for the very long journey home.

The end.

Gulf 2012 became my most successful trip ever to the Northern territory. Naturally the extraordinary fishing had a huge part to do with it, but I also found the preparation and modifications to the car made the holiday entirely fun and enjoyable. And, throw in the amazing trip to the sinkhole, a few tense encounters with the wildlife, some annoying helicopters, one or two cranky blackfellas and too many spectacular butane explosions and you have the components of the holiday of a lifetime. Thanks must also be given to Frankie for the great company provided along the way and teaching me about trees, hammocks and wood-gas. Here are a few things about the kid that you may not know but deserve a mention:

Sleeps a lot, farts a lot (and keeps count), covers everything he eats in chilli sauce, could never work out how much bush bread to make for two people, hates flies, sleeps a lot, thinks I care about fancy knots, can easily carry an entire dead tree over his shoulder, believes he's more appealing than Fabio, bought greasy fish and chips at Borroloola purely to do some spadework on the pretty euro thing working at the shop then suffered with the craps the next day on the walk to Nimbi Nimbi, regards someone being dragged to their death by a giant shark as funny, reckons wood-gas is real, still waiting for that Swedish lady from the Robinson River to find him, sleeps a lot.

Frankie, I'm sorry you missed the best fishing of the trip but at least I got to show you how wire can increase your catch rate. Oh yeah, I found your favourite silver mug by the way, on the track at the Limmen after you left me alone, shaking and scared that morning. If you want it back let me know!

As always I've included a few facts and figures below which may interest some:

Kilometres travelled: 7839
Litres used and cost: 561.35l, $918.47
Mpg: 39.4
Repairs to car: replace alternator, starter motor and rear shocks (which were the source of that ongoing clunking), repair windscreen (bullseye), weld the muffler, front struts replaced (these were actually a casualty from the 2010 trip and removed prior to 2012 as a warranty claim - ('happened driving around the city' I told the KYB manufacturers…)
Repairs pending: still need to pop out the fuel tank and get the rest of the dust out of the panels (err, there's still dust in there from 'Gulf 1999' so I can't see that happening too soon!)
Current odometer reading: 422,000 …

Here's a few happy snaps that never made it to print and a final video or two:

57 zzzzz - sleeps a lot…

58 Frankie's barra… (Sorry mate!)

59 Suicide bomber being interrogated at River X…

60 Part of the packing process for the Swift (note the little white controller to the right of the speaker box -that's my Chinese dimmer switch for the 12V plug directly above it next to the seat belt). The following video gives a kind of 'guided tour' inside the car and how some of it was set up, especially the seat and fridge:

The Future:
I've since asked myself on coming home could there be another trip in the future. At this stage yes, but I'm not sure when and exactly what I'll be doing. One idea Frankie and I are tossing around is following 'River X' right through to the ocean. That would be an insanely massive trip and require many days on the river - exciting, pioneering stuff but needing some serious planning and probably heavier line!

Oh, remember those helicopters and notes on the cars in 'Part 1'? It seems the Station Owner was trying to contact us to let us know he may be back-burning. An aerial search undertaken by him during the trek downriver failed to locate us (because we hid whenever the choppers appeared…) so the next best option was to leave the notes. Strange how things turn out, isn't it? But, I'd like to finish this story with a real bang and here's a medley of butane explosions captured on the trip just for those who get off on this sort of thing (volume on high please and expand the player for maximum effect!)

Thanks everybody for following my/our amazing journey.

Rick and Frankie

61 Sleeps a lot…

Here's the link to Gulf 2012 - 'Part 1' just in case any late readers missed the earlier action:


9,364 Posts
I feel like one of those people who see's the flashing light and goes in to the shop to only look at the items on sale. I've had a good enough read to know that I need to take some me time and read this properly without interruptions.

4,098 Posts
Awesome that you finally got that metery Rick!
Sounds like a typical adventure filled trip.
Just reading about you going back up the Cox River is enough to bring back the goosebumps. Still, that place fishes well for you.
Sinkhole looks awesome.
The river you got the big girl from looks a bit diferent?

61 Posts
More than worth the wait. Can't begin to imagine the forward planning you put into these trips...no, calling it a trip doesn't do you justice, it's Epic. No doubt you'll make another, but will the Swift ?

811 Posts
Fantastic Rick and Frankie, thanks for sharing such an amazing experience. Congrats on the metre Barra and it felt as though I was right there with you when you were getting dragged by the shark :shock: glad you two made it back in one piece with such a great story to tell.

847 Posts
After reading that uninterrupted I feel I must pay tribute :D Amazing trip, well written and documented. Could almost feel the sphincter tightening as the yak went under again and again :shock: I always wonder what you do for a day job and excitement in Sydney ? Congrats on the Barra of a lifetime must be some great memories.

3,600 Posts
Come on Frankie, your turn on the bull tug of war!

Awesome once again. Absolute congrats on your meter plus Barra too! Loved the sink hole and amused at what drove you to depth sound it. But the we call all use a little bit of what it is that drives Murd.

2,459 Posts
A simple thank-you doesn't quite seem like enough here Murd, but that's really what I want to say.
Thank-you for doing these trips & writing about them in the way that you do.
It really does feel like Christmas morning whenever I see you've put a report up, I can't wait to unwrap it & see what's inside.


3,600 Posts
missingdna said:
theres a movie in EVERY trip Murd does.
I keep hounding and harping Rick that he needs to do a book (or books) on all of his adventures.
Most nights around the fire was filled with me asking Rick to tell of his past adventures, and he never disappointed.
If Murd EVER points a bony finger in your direction and says (your coming with me next trip) you say "YES SIR" and strap in,hold on and thank God your on the trip of a lifetime!!!!

Frankie (he who farts a lot(and keeps count))
Enough already we want to hear about the bull thing.

12,307 Posts
Rick that trip of you and Frankie again shows the real Australia that most of us will not visit, and your writing skills had me holding onto the desk chair for support every time the minnow tried to roll over above the shark.

And how worthwhile was that trek into the sink hole, quite remarkable.

Appreciate all your efforts in posting the adventure, thanks.

545 Posts
A great read but i think you must be crazy - in the nicest possible way-. I've been up there and fished a couple of those rivers from the bank and 12 ft tinnie. Got stalked by a saltie on dusk one night that seriously had me earmarked for dinner and had nightmares for some time. My flight fight response is active now reading your account. But really enjoyed the fishing adventures and the thrill of the unknown and will do it again some day -but not in the yak! Thanks Rick and he who sleeps a lot for rekindling the memories through your own adventures. A great read and i look forward to your next adventure

79 Posts
What a great story.

Murd, do you take a solar panel & 12V charging regulator? A 50w panel would nearly run your fridge setup, and can be left hidden if required or even propped inside the windscreen if leaving the car alone. I spent a lot of time in the NT's interior and a solar panel can mighty useful in maintaining charge.

14,293 Posts
Unfortunately, due to the change in ownership of this web site and the lack of response by the owners to my requests to remove my email address from all administrative-level notifications and functionality, I have decided to remove my posts on AKFF. Thank you for the great times, the fantastic learning experiences and the many many fish. If you are desperate for the old content of this particular post, it is available below base64 encoded and bzip2 compressed.



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