I am in Kakadu, where everything is dangerous. But let me start at the beginning of the day.
My new tyre is lovely:
I also include for your viewing pleasure the fix on my handlebar and a slightly blurred rendition of what it should look like. Peter fastened the fix-it bolt off with loctite. Hopefully it will hold:
Once the tyre was done I headed out. First stop Humpty Doo (because, well, how could I not stop there?). But there was nothing going down at Humpty, so I decided to take my simple supplies to Fogg Dam, which I had heard was a great place to have a picnic, while watching the water birds.
In the Hema book, the guy says it’s a beautiful ride, well worth doing. He also stresses that the croc signs are serious, and you have to look out. He says it in a kind of light tone though… as you can see (from the photo above, and my weirdly tilted helmet cam pics, below, it was very, very beautiful:
But the most terrifying ride of my life. The whole way along I was acutely aware that my legs were exposed and crocs are smart and they watch people and follow them. I know I’m on a motorbike so can take off fast, but crocs are incredibly fast, and he or she would have seen me long before I knew s/he was even there… and my legs were so vulnerable… I was so vulnerable. My body was so tense as I rode across. There were lookouts, but they had signs saying do not stop, and do not get out of your vehicle (omg) when I got to the end the first thing I said was fuck, I have to go back! I went to the turnaround where normally you can park and it said no parking under any circumstances. I wasn’t brave enough to stop. I head back across the dam at a rather fine speed, and when I got to the other end my heart was racing. I got there though, and as I rode out I must have lost my mind for a moment – I decided after all I wanted to see the jumping crocs…
so jumping crocs are kind of like a nature circus act. There is a fine line between this and the dolphins at Monkey Mia. They do four tours a day and provide one chunk of meat to each croc they encounter along the way. They say it is different to Monkey Mia (I asked), because this particular tour only operates six months of the year, and the crocs go back to being completely wild the rest of the time… (at least for this tour. some of them are year-round). it wasn’t very pleasant though and I wish I hadn’t done it.
so this is the road out to the croc place. it is the abandoned rice paddies of Humpty Doo (a failed agricultural experiment):
our disturbingly racist tour guide:
(in case there’s any ambiguity) the meat:
and some of the crocs:
they jumped on cue and they jumped on command, but they were intensely wild and felt unpredictable. We had strict instructions not to lean any part of our bodies or our cameras from the boat… it was horrible and they were magnificent. It was awful to see them playing the game. Their eyes were terrible, like they knew exactly what was going on…
nature at her finest I suppose. the marsh lands were beautiful.
Our guide’s racism really disturbed me. I’m not being racist, he would say but… (then go on to say something really offensive) I was disturbed, offended, and while I did say something, I don’t think I spoke out clearly enough.
From that little enclave I head straight for Jabiru. I bypassed Nature’s Window (another one) and I’m sure it was breathtaking and a much better choice than the jumping (I almost wrote dancing) crocs. Nonetheless, it is what it is. We don’t always make the best choices I guess, and now I was going to Jabiru.
of course, it was nothing like I have imagined – this, at least, it shares with everywhere else. this shot was taken along the road (my helmet cam may be on an angle but at least it’s working now, woohoo! and the angle is easy fixed :))
I had my own little disaster when I arrived… after the local travel agent found me a cheap room, I headed off to the servo to fuel up. I'd taken my jacket off and balanced it on my luggage behind me with the arms tucked into some elastic straps, but moved it so no fuel would splash on it, then forgot to put it back. When I took off, it fell off the back without me noticing, the arms keeping it attached.. My brand new tyre must have liked my jacket as much as me, 'cause it seems to have pulled it through the tyre-guard, and burnt part of it on the exhaust :/ :/ :/
all part of the adventure said Bertie, and. I know he’s right, but still…
Now I know my jacket makes me look a bit like a turtle from certain angles, but it was a beautiful jacket. Its waterproof-ness isn’t really compromised – the pants cover my butt where the hole is, and the front flap over the zipper will only make a difference in torrential downpours.. But my jacket no longer looks lovely. It looks war-damaged, as if my adventure is a dangerous pursuit. The zip that holds the armour in place is completely destroyed – I’m going to have to sew it together, which means I won’t be able to take it out, so no more washing of my jacket unless it has ample time to dry.
My friend Tania could do a lovely gleaned repair job on this if I let her at it. I wonder if I can convince her to take on the job when I’m home?