Thursday 23rd May 2013The Climb to the Falls Casuarina Creek, Berkeley River
MrJ and I decided to wait till after the tide had turned from low to beginning to come in before taking our little adventure tour up the Casuarina Falls in our new second hand now fitted out for a joy-ride tinny. Instead of a morning tea/coffee I had made an early lunch to eat before we set off. In small containers and bags I had pre-packed a water bottle, cheese and biscuits, repellent, sunscreen, cameras, walking shoes and socks, torch, handheld VHF and then seal everything in our big orange wet-bag.
MrJ had already put in the tinny our old reef walking shoes, several empty water jerry bottles, the heavy old fuel tank which was fitted to the outboard, the wooden oars and extra pieces of long line rope for tying off to trees or rocks with and a long line with small anchor attached. We were wearing light shorts, long sleeved sun shirts and wide brimmed floppy hats. We did forget to pack a GPG; give us something to remember for the next trip.
Oh, how exciting that we were to being heading out on an adventure!
Getting into and out of the tinny was not the most exciting part of the adventure! To get in or out of the tinny, it was most important to step as close to the centre of the boat as possible to prevent the boat from tipping sideways; bit different to my dear little rubber duckie which to step anywhere is not an offence with its nearly flat bottom. Stepping onto the seats of the tinny made me feel like I was not in balance and all I could see was me going overboard. To step in the centre of the hull or at least to try to step in the bottom of the boat meant navigating all the gear that had been stowed around and where I was supposed to be sitting, according to the skipper, my foot space was taken up by the petrol tank. I just had to tread where I could and with every little sideways movement of the boat I would flinch and stiffing; not being able to get comfortable which probably made the ride less pleasant. During the ride up the creek I shuffled a few things around, pushed the fuel tank up further till I was happy with the foot space and could keep balance on my seat and began to enjoy the ride.
MrJ and I motor up to the rock ledge at the bottom of the falling stream of water. The tide is still too low to allow us to climb up on the ledge but we can see that with a little bit more water it would be easy to do and to fill our bottle with the fresh water. Deciding to return we motor off toward the big rock Scree on the north side to try and find the way to the top of the red cliffs.
Boy, I was so glad that while in Darwin I kept my fitness up to some sort of level. As I climbed I was thinking of Barbara and Ron Chester in their early days, with paying tourists, lugging all the gear up these rocks, movie camera gear and all. It was a couple of years ago that Ron had a bit of a fall on these same rocks while bringing gear down; he was so damn luck not to have been killed.
|Appreciating wild flowers|
In this rough rugged desolated country it was always a pleasure to find the most delicate of things; wildflowers of pale yellow or white or pale pink, the fine almost like rough hair, bark on some trees. How these wonderful things can survive in these harsh places is the magic of the natural world.
MrJ and I keep clambering across the rocky terrain till we come close to where the water falls over the edge of the cliff to the creek below. It was not such a hard climb down to the cooling rock pools at the top of the water fall where we take off our shoes, stick our feet in the water and splash ourselves with the cooling water. We take cupped handfuls of fresh sweet water, to drink, from the smaller cascading streams, wetting our dry throats; we take some time out to rest and enjoy the splendour of our surrounds before having to head back to the tinny.I was right, for me, the climbing down was harder that the going up!
Once back safely in the tinny, MrJ and I motor back to the bottom of the waterfall whose bottom ledge was now at boat level and easy to climb onto. Here we drank from the waterfall, washed the sweat off our faces again and filled our water bottles. Having the knowledge that there was a good supply of fresh water to be had was a great relief.
|Down the Berkeley|
I suppose the only experience that I have ever had that would come anywhere close to this would be the time, several years ago when MrJ and I went on a tour up Katherine Gorge in a small boat. I would say that these, the Berkeley’s high cliff faces would be as high if not higher in some places than Katherine and most certainly much narrower with relatively deep water all the way through. Somewhere up through this red gorge we pass another boat coming downstream; an old boat with just as old looking fella that had a light or greying beard almost to his waist at the helm. They both sure did look like something form years gone by; a lone-sailor no doubt, out here enjoying the last of a free world, similar to us.
We dropped anchor in 10mt of water at the entrance to the Red Fall Amphitheatre
(14'28.957S - 127'40.284E), the dark blackened rock wall looked damp but the falls were not flowing; more signs of a poor wet season.