First Saturday in December

I really don’t have a lot to talk about today. I’m pleased that I’m well on the way to fifty thousands words for the new Ptorix Empire book. I’ve also decided to invest a bit of money, and some time and effort, in mastering Lightroom and Photoshop. They are both incredibly powerful programs – Lightroom to spiffy up your photos, and Photoshop to turn them into art.

I’m not an artist (in the painterly sense) although I have tried in the past. I know they say you don’t have to paint to anyone else’s standards – but my own art doesn’t please me. I’d rather take a great photo. I’m not advanced far enough in my training to be able to share any photo ART with you. But I can (of course) share some of my favourite photos. I hope you like them almost as much as I do.

Nature's artistry and reflections at Geikie Gorge

Nature’s artistry and reflections at Geikie Gorge

A bee in a mass of wax flowers

A bee in a mass of wax flowers

Three swans in the mist on the Rhine

Three swans in the mist on the Rhine

Whale spyhopping

A whale pops up to say hello

The folded curves of the Flinders Range near Wilpena Pound

The folded curves of the Flinders Range near Wilpena Pound

 

I wish it would rain

The full moon in cloud. So atmospheric.

The full moon in cloud. So atmospheric.

I know, it’s been far too wet in too many parts of Australia. Lake Eyre is still full, farmers in Tasmania and Victoria wish it would all lift its skirts and bugger off elsewhere and there’s STILL snow at Falls Creek. Western Queensland is well satisfied with the precipitation, thanks very much. But here along the Fraser Coast the grass is crunchy underfoot. And up North Fitzroy Crossing isn’t the only place watching the water levels. Bring on the monsoon.

Sure, I’ll complain about the rain when it gets too much, but in the meanwhile, a few inches would be nice.

I also wish the media would stop with sensationalising natural phenomena like the moon up there. We’re all so used to supermarkets going on about super sales and super size. But the fact is, the recent “Super” moon was just our regular old full moon at perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system. Which means it’s at its closest point to Earth, so being closer, it looks a tad larger. Even so, if nobody told you, I expect you’d be none the wiser. You might say, “isn’t the moon bright tonight?” but that’s about it. It’s all rather well explained here, with a nifty diagram showing the actual difference in size to a ‘normal’ full moon.There’s also a reference to the apogee-syzygy, which has been called a micromoon. It’s not talked about much. We humans prefer to talk about larger sizes in all sorts of arenas.

That’s not a super moon in the photo, by the way. Personally, I think dear old Luna is pretty special all the time.

In other news, we attended my nephew’s wedding in Brisbane a few weeks ago. What a fun event it turned out to be. Very best wishes to Jake and his lovely wife, Amelia. It was our pleasure to attend.

On the writing front, I’m getting back to my Work in Progress provisionally entitled The Stuff of Legend. It has been a hard slog for a lot of reasons. The main one is that, although I write space opera, I still like to ensure the science works. If I find myself thinking, “but why would…” or just as important, “why wouldn’t…” then something’s wrong and I have to backtrack. Some people would just say I’ll fix it later and charge off to finish the first draft, but I don’t work like that. I need to know it’s all making sense. So… progress hasn’t been as fast as I’d like, but it IS happening. I’ve even booked a spot with my favourite cover designer.

Meanwhile, I keep abreast of the US craziness via my Facebook family, where I particularly enjoy the Obama-Biden memes. Here, take a look. The coming months will prove interesting.

I sincerely hope my American friends all enjoyed Thanksgiving with family and friends. But – and I say this from the heart – you can take your Black Friday and stick it… somewhere. We don’t need Black Friday in Australia anymore than we need Halloween, or, for that matter, Thanksgiving. Huh. Yet another ‘Super’ sale. Ours (traditionally) happens on Boxing Day – the day after Christmas, which I believe is not a holiday in the US. In many respects, globalisation sucks.

Let’s see now… this week’s photo gallery. A few sights that took my fancy.

Kimberley gorgeousness - the Ord river

Kimberley gorgeousness – the Ord river

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Summer at the Bay – low tide and fluffy cumulus cloud

The Chichester Range in the Pilbara

The Chichester Range in the Pilbara

Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island

Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island

A plague of butterflies

Any specs you can see aren't dirt - they're butterflies

Any specs you can see eg sky top left – aren’t dirt – they’re butterflies

It seems this year has been absolutely wonderful for the butterflies of Queensland. Over the last several days the air has been full of them – particularly at the beach. Yes, the beach, coming in from the sea with the strong north wind. Yes, north wind. Hervey Bay is on the east coast, but our beach faces north. It’s a little kink on the coastline. And the butterflies must have been coming from Fraser Island. And why not? If our local fruit bats can get over to Fraser to forage, why not traffic the other way? Years ago we saw butterflies crossing from the mainland to Brampton Island – which is a long way. Butterflies must be stronger than we think. In fact, some migrate long distances. The American Monarch is one such – but only the fourth generation migrates. Read the story here.

Anyway, back to our butterflies. It’s not just our patch of the state – the phenomenon was reported on the evening news. Needless to say, I had my camera with me, so of course I tried to take some photos. None of them would win a prize, but it’s pretty hard to get a picture of a tiny creature whirring past with a stiff breeze up its tail shaft.

In other news, it seems Trump is now president-elect in America. I’ll say no more, but ask you to read this fairly short and erudite essay. I have a BA(Hons) in history. I would say the gentleman’s conclusions are accurate. But the future is unknown. Maybe we’ll be invaded by aliens.

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It’s fairly battered, but it has come a long way

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Look at this! TWO butterflies in one shot!

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Most of the butterflies were white with a black fringe, like this one. With the wings down like that, it looks like a caterpillar with wings. Funny that.

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This Orchard swallowtail butterfly was in the garden, mooching around the citrus trees. The spider web put it off…

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… so it backed away and found somewhere else

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… When it found a suitable spot…

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… it laid its eggs

A brahmani kite at the beach gives me the eye

A brahmani kite at the beach gives me the eye

Let’s hear it for the girls

Makybe Diva

Makybe Diva

It’s Spring Carnival time in Australia – especially in Melbourne, home of the Melbourne  Cup, Australia’s greatest horse race. The news is full of horses, and trainers, and odds, and chances. And one of the chances was Winx. Here’s her profile. She won the Cox Plate last year – and won it again this year, at a canter. Then she was set for the Caulfield Stakes. There were only three horses in the field – nobody wanted to bother with a run they couldn’t win.

Winx has now won 13 races on the trot (if you’ll excuse the pun).  That’s not bad for any horse. Even the mighty Phar Lap only won 14 consecutive races, (only) and it’s nowhere near the 25 races won by Black Caviar. Whereas Winx was beaten once (I think) as a filly, Black Caviar never lost a race.

And hand up anyone who can tell me the name of the only horse to win three (3) Melbourne Cups? You at the back there… no, not Phar Lap, Carbine, Peter Pan, Rainlover, Think Big… Makybe Diva. A mare. Her at the top of the page. Bear in mind that the Melbourne Cup is a handicap, so Makybe Diva had to carry more and more weight every time she ran the 3200m race. In her third and last Cup run she carried 58kg – a weight-carrying record for a mare.

So what is the point of all this? Folks, Winx and Black Caviar and Makybe Diva are MARES. Girls. Females. The weaker sex. Black Caviar was the darling of Australia, not just the racing set. As her record of wins increased racetrack attendances were at an all time high every time she ran. Fans turned up wearing her colours – salmon pink with black polka dots. Immediately after her 25th win, her connections retired her. Now, like Makybe Diva, she’s a brood mare and producing very expensive foals. She has her own  Facebook page.

I guess it was inevitable that a three-time winner of the Melbourne Cup would be a gelding or a mare. Stallions have won the race twice, but that’s enough profile to guarantee enormous stud fees, and owners don’t want to risk injury. After all, a stallion can cover a *lot* of mares in a season, while a brood mare can only manage one foal a year (at most).

Seems that people are starting to realise that the ladies can make the grade if given the chance. Last year (2015) the Melbourne Cup winner (Prince of Penzance at 100/1 odds) wasn’t female – but the jockey was. Michelle Payne finally broke the jockey’s glass ceiling, putting paid to the myth that women aren’t strong enough to be jockeys. As she said at the time, it’s all about developing an understanding with the horse. The other very special point about the 2015 race was that the horse’s strapper, Michelle’s brother Steven, has Downs Syndrome. Here’s a link to the story.

And while Michelle didn’t get a ride in this year’s cup, (Prince of Penzance was injured and will probably never race again), she won a race on Ladies Day. May she win many more.

 

 

Blog Tour – Scavenger’s Mission

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Alisha’s skills are so far beyond a normal cadet’s, that the Colonel is concerned many could die trying to learn them. Especially when they are required to collapse their chute. That will send them into a state of terror since they have been taught a collapsed chute is the equivalent of death.
Upon thinking back to the reasons she wasn’t afraid, even the very first time she collapsed her shoot, Alisha suggests they buy a wind tunnel. Logan, has never heard of such a thing.
She explained when she lived in Flatland, which has no wind whatsoever, she would daily go to the wind tunnel, don a baggy suit, hand over two hundred dollars and spend an hour soaring about in the tunnel. Thus, she never equated having winds rushing up from below to ‘dying any moment now’.
For your entertainment I located a youtube that shows exactly what should happen in a wind tunnel…if you aren’t afraid, click here.

It does look like fun!

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Meet Alisha: A young woman who refuses to live the life her parents want.

In a single month, Alisha Kane has gone from a wealthy debutante to street girl to scavenger.  While testing her new flying skills in the Cully Canyon, Alisha incurs a near-death crash landing. She’s “rescued” by a colonel of the SkyRyders and her life changes forever.

Meet Logan: A SkyRyder colonel in charge of a sleepy fort with little to do other than arrest the occasional scavenger.

For the first time in his life, Logan’s attracted to a young woman, only she’s probably a scavenger and he’ll have to arrest her.  But first he offers her a shower and food while he checks on his crew. His Videographer has captured her extraordinary flight through the Cully and her flying is astounding!

He forgoes arresting her and puts his career at risk by asking MAC to assess her skills and integrity as a potential SkyRyder. If he can get Alisha into the SkyRyders, it will be his greatest contribution to the Corps.

Meet MAC: the Artifical Intelligence that runs the SkyRyders Corps.

Upon seeing her arrival, MAC upgrades Alisha’s test. Her flying skills are not just excellent; they exceed what was previously thought possible. MAC classifies her as its top asset and soon she proves her value.

But…the SkyRyders remain a male dominated Corps where Alisha’s sense of right and wrong often clashes with her superiors. How long can a rebellious young woman survive in a regimented Corps?

Excerpt

Alisha pouted and frowned over the list, finally drawing a line after the third item. “Is there a wind tunnel in Fort Capital?”

“A what?”

“A wind tunnel. You know, it’s an arcade ride. You put on this huge suit and pay a hundred dollars to fly about a vertical wind tunnel for a half-hour.”

“I doubt it. Not many kids have a hundred dollars to spend on something you can find by walking outside the mall.”

“It’s different from a horizontal wind. This simulates what you feel when you collapse your catcher mid-air.”

“Terrified?” Logan asked.

“See? That’s what I’m concerned about. To a normal Ryder, collapsing your catcher is the equivalent of death. Yet most of these maneuvers require the flyer to collapse their catcher. And I can tell them how to do it, and we can practice on the ground, but if they freeze in terror during the unfamiliar sensation of air rushing up from the ground, I can’t open their catcher for them.” She met his gaze. “I can’t save them from dying.”

Logan sighed. He refused to accept that, of all the incredible skills she possessed, only three were going to be transferable to other Ryders. “Any idea how much a wind tunnel costs?” He walked over to his computer and started typing a query to MAC.

“Actually, I do know. I was a frequent patron of the one in Flatland. The guy who ran it said I could have bought my own tunnel for the amount I spent at the mall. I knew my parents wouldn’t actually let me have one, but I asked him for the price so I could dream. He said a new tunnel goes for about a million, but you can buy the old ones, without the new security features, for two hundred and fifty thousand. Actually, I prefer the older ones. They have higher speeds.”

Logan almost stopped typing when she told him the cost. He knew the Corps’ budget was painfully tight this year. He’d never get approval, not even for the used version. But given its importance, he typed in the maneuvers Alisha had listed as teachable if she could remove the fear of falling from the equation. He sent it off to MAC. It was all he could do.

LINK

The SkyRyder’s Series, Book 1

Scavenger’s Mission

AMAZON

About the Author

Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.

OTHER BOOKS BY LIZA O’CONNOR

SCIENCE FICTION

The Multiverse Series

Sci-Fi Soap Opera with humor, romance, and science

The Gods of Probabilities

Surviving Outbound

Surviving Terranue

Surviving Sojourn

 

Artificial Intelligence Series

Sci-Fi/Romance

Public Secrets

Birth of Adam

 

The SkyRyders Series

Sci-Fi Romance

Scavenger’s Mission

Scavenger Falters-coming 2017

Scavenger Vanishes-coming 2017

 

The science of climate change

Crimson sunset after a day of rain

Crimson sunset after a day of rain

Not so very long ago, before we embarked on our trip around Australia, I put forward my position on climate change ‘the religion’. Confessions of a climate change denier.

Just the other day I was sent a link to a presentation about CO2 and global warming. It was made in 2007 by the BBC, and I wish I’d watched it years ago. Whether you’re a ‘believer’ in man-made climate change or not, I urge you to give up the time to watch this program. It’s 75 minutes long but worth every second. Please ignore the rather sensational title. Scientists, eminent in their fields,  present hard scientific facts to explain what really causes climate change on planet Earth. And it isn’t the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

I have closed comments on this post. But I’ll post a few pictures anyway.

A rainbow in a rain cell, dawn, Hervey Bay

A rainbow in a rain cell, dawn, Hervey Bay

A summer storm piles up on with a tornado touching down on the horizon

A summer storm piles up on with a tornado touching down on the horizon

A red dawn at the beach

A red dawn at the beach

Mammary cloud under a huge summer storm at sunset - fortunately tracking away from us

Mammary cloud under a huge summer storm at sunset – fortunately tracking away from us

 

Summer’s not far away

Sunrise in the desert at Border Village, SA

Sunrise in the desert at Border Village, SA

The travel blogs are finished for this trip and it’s time to get ready for the summer here at Hervey Bay. It never gets especially hot – not much more than mid-thirties – but the humidity is a killer, so we avoid too much labouring outdoors in the heat of the day. And for me, it’s time to get back to finishing another book. I had a few things to say about that over on Space Freighters Lounge, where I have a weekly spot that I devote more to the books and writing caper.

I’ll bet I’m not the only one who will be overjoyed to see the end of the Don and Hillary show. But I also suspect the after effects will linger on long after the election is won and lost. Do I care who wins? I suppose, yes. The sad thing is that the anti-establishment folks have picked someone like Donald Trump to represent them. I’ve said before that the whole of the western world is becoming heartily sick of “democracy”. Then again, I’m not too impressed with the alternative choices made by places like Russia and Turkey.

I’m also a bit cynical about the coming ‘defeat’ of ISIS, when Mosul is finally taken. Anybody taking bets that the Kurds, the Iraqis, and the Turks will be fighting within a month?

On a happier note, here’s a few more holiday snaps that didn’t make it into blog posts.

From Hawk's Head on the Murchison

From Hawk’s Head on the Murchison River

The cliffs at the mouth of the Murchison River (Kalbarri)

The cliffs at the mouth of the Murchison River (Kalbarri)

Esperance coastline in late afternoon light (and blowing a gale)

Esperance coastline in late afternoon light (and blowing a gale)

The muddy Moonie and its old bridge

The muddy Moonie and its old bridge

19 – Going home

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Taken from a rest area off the road. Rest areas are fairly common in the outback, because of the distances. Councils provide rubbish bins and long-drop toilets for travellers. And often they’re in very pretty places.

Kununurra and Katherine are both large enough to arrive and look for a place to stay, but Tennant Creek is a bit different. It has a large indigenous population and a reputation for unrest. With that in mind, we tried to book online at a place we’d stayed at before, but the online booking services couldn’t finalise the transaction. So we rang the motel. It’s not the only place in town, but we liked the security aspect. When we arrived, the price for the room had gone from $150 a night online to $160. Usually when you book direct the room is cheaper because the motel doesn’t have to pay a booking fee (around $8). This happened several times in our travels. Pete pointed this out to the manager, an Englishman who hadn’t been there very long. But even when he discovered the motel was offering a room at $146 per night on one of the booking services (he didn’t believe us, so he checked), he was adamant. $160. He told us we didn’t HAVE to stay there. I don’t think he quite ‘got’ it. He’s managing a motel in the middle of Australia. The place certainly wasn’t full, and he wasn’t likely to get any more passing traffic. I also heard him turn away a last minute young couple wanting a ‘budget’ room. The thing is, an empty room doesn’t earn money. Also, the place has a bar and a restaurant, so it’s easier to eat in than brave the town. He could expect to get his ten bucks back.

We might have argued, but ten bucks wasn’t much in the scheme of things, so we shrugged and paid. Certainly the rooms had been extensively renovated since the last time we stayed there, but we won’t be in a hurry to go there again. We’d stopped for a very late lunch maybe a hundred clicks from Tennant Creek at Renner Springs – basically a tiny settlement with a pub, a bowser and a caravan park. That’ll be the go next time. It avoids the 25km detour, too.

As it happened, we had a dreadful night at Tennant Creek – not because of the motel, but because the cough I’d had since we left Perth flared up. Neither of us got much sleep. In the morning I suggested we should head for home, and visit the Atherton Tablelands another time. After all, it’s only about 1,500km from home.

So we changed our route plan, going home via Mt Isa, Longreach, Biloela.

But that’s not the end of the story. I almost managed to tick off a bucket list item – a photo of a wedge-tailed eagle.

Wedgies are the biggest eagles in Australia, and they’re quite common all over the mainland. I saw this one eating road kill and managed a few parting shots (as it were)

Undercarriage still down, taking off

Undercarriage still down, taking off

And he's off, getting out of the way

And he’s off, getting out of the way

img_7245That was nice – but on another piece of road, I noticed that unmistakable wedge-shaped tail in the sky – and the bird flew down towards us, then LANDED IN A TREE BESIDE THE ROAD which, of course, we zipped past.  My driver immediately slowed to a halt and turned around. I had my camera ready but (of course) the eagle had taken off, being harassed by a magpie. This shot was taken from the car, when he flew back a little closer, hotly pursued by his tormentor. Oh well. Maybe next year.

And I’ll finish off with a few more pictures of outback Oz.

There's a lot of Brahman or Brahman mix cattle up here - they're more resistant to ticks. They're originally American cattle, bred from four Indian breeds. Yes, that's the edge of the road at bottom left. There aren't too many fences out here.

There’s a lot of Brahman or Brahman mix cattle up here – they’re more resistant to ticks. They’re originally American cattle, bred from four Indian breeds. Yes, that’s the edge of the road at bottom left. There aren’t too many fences out here.

Typical Kimberley country - flat plains and flat hills

Typical Kimberley country – flat plains and flat hills

Termite hills. In places they're so common it feels like you're driving past a cemetery

Termite hills. In places they’re so common it feels like you’re driving past a cemetery

Straying cattle is a major problem up here.

Straying cattle is a major problem up here.

Cue "Jaws" music

Cue “Jaws” music

Spectacular sky on the way out of Longreach

Spectacular sky on the way out of Longreach

Well – that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the ride. When we finally rolled into our driveway, we’d done just shy of 14,000km in a calendar month. We left on 28th September and reached home on 28th October. We used 1,190 litres of diesel. Pete added up all our costs – fuel, accommodation, meals, and sundries. It cost us $232 per day for the two of us. Not bad, really.

 

18 – Across the top

img_6996From Fitzroy Crossing we were basically heading back to Queensland via Kununurra, Katherine and Tennant Creek. We spent the days driving, though I did get a chance to take some pictures.

Up here in the North, it's not just straight roads through endless plains

Up here in the North, it’s not just straight roads through endless plains

There's rain ahead

There’s rain ahead

Coming into town. It's raining.

Coming into town. It’s raining.

After the heat at Fitzroy Crossing, towards Kununurra we drove into a rain storm. It’s that time of the year, before the monsoon. Clouds gather and dump buckets of rain for a few minutes, then move on. In Kununurra that was a great thing because it cooled the air. We were told it was a stifling 39 with high humidity before the rain.

Kununurra exists because of the Ord River dam. In 2013 we took a trip down the Ord river from the dam. It was a terrific ride – well worth a diversion if you haven’t read it before. Go on, I’ll wait…

Great to see you back.

Right, on to Katherine. We did a great tour on Nitmiluk Gorge here last time. If you’d like to recap, once again, it’s worth your while. We have time…

There has been fire, and rain. Already the bush is regenerating.

There has been fire, and rain. Already the bush is regenerating.

Over the border into the Northern Territory. Have a look at the speed signs - end of 80, then a notice that says max speed in NT is 110 unless signed. And up on the bend - it's 130. (130 is generally the max in NT. There's a LOT of empty space and not much traffic)

Over the border into the Northern Territory. Have a look at the speed signs – end of 80, then a notice that says max speed in NT is 110 unless signed. And up on the bend – it’s 130. (130 is generally the max in NT. There’s a LOT of empty space and not much traffic). Until recently there was no speed limit – until a Japanese man crashed his Ferrari at 300kph +. He’s dead, of course)

The mighty boab tree, seen all over the North

The mighty boab tree, seen all over the North

Just - an awesome picture

Just – an awesome picture

Our accommodation at Katherine was… interesting. We stayed at a cabin in a resort. That was fine, we had our own bathroom – but it was outside the cabin. That is, not the sort of place you’d want to stay in if you’re into 2am widdles. It reminded me of my youth, where we had an outside toilet. Especially when it rained.

Next morning we were off to Tennant Creek. We would have preferred to avoid the town, but the drive to Mt Isa is just a bit too far.

 

 

 

17 – Fitzroy Crossing and Darngku

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Girrganyi – the black kite

After a two-night R&R in Broome we drove across to Fitzroy Crossing. We didn’t do much in Broome, treating it as a chance to do nothing for a day. After all, we’d had a busy few weeks so far.

We stayed in one of the safari tents at Fitzroy River Lodge. They are what it says on the packet – a canvas tent set over a concrete base. Each tent has its own small ablutions block. The idea is when the monsoon comes, the canvas, beds etc are packed away, the ablutions block is sealed, and the weather does its thing until the water recedes. They’re fine for a one night stay, but it was the end of the season. The shower leaked and the sink was blocked. Pete complained and it was fixed – but one expects better at $180 a night.

5v3a6737This was the first time it was really hot, reaching 39. That’s not very hot for this part of the world where the average maximum is 37.5, but we felt the heat, We sat on our little veranda facing the Fitzroy’s very empty course. Pete read a book and I watched the few birds out in the heat. Big black cockatoos munched on acacias, a handsome little northern kookaburra panted on a tree branch. A kangaroo hopped across the sand banks in the Fitzroy near one of the remaining pools.

We’d decided to go down to Geikie Gorge (Darngku is its aboriginal name), one of the Fitzroy’s permanent water holes, for a short boat trip. It was due to start at 4pm, when the temperature had dropped a little and the sun was sinking. A nice young aboriginal man did the EFTPOS thing with us at the park. (Visitors are not asked to pay to enter the park.) While we waited for the tour to start we read through the displays telling people about the gorge, and some of the aboriginal legends. That’s why I have a picture of a black kite as the header for this post. Here’s his story.

The story of the black kite. And you do see this bird wherever there's a fire

The story of the black kite. And you do see this bird wherever there’s a fire

About a dozen of us hopped onto a shallow draught boat for the hour-long trip. It was a fabulous little tour, best told in pictures.

The gorge from the start of the tour

The gorge from the start of the tour. It’s an amazing place. Some ancient species like sawfish still exist in these waters (remember, it’s fresh water).

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The colours are amazing. That white line is the high flood mark

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See how the rocks have been undercut? You can see the ripples reflected on the stone. And those lumps of mud are bird houses, little local mud larks.

If you look inside the circle you'll see two little faces

If you look inside the circle you’ll see two little faces. The nests will be swept away in the next Wet – but they’ll build again.

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Arty-farty gorgeousness

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The ‘dark’ side of the gorge. There are caves all through there, home to many things. The ranger told us a story about two people who went exploring. Their torch died, and they sat down in the dark to take a breather. Until their ‘seat’ moved. It was a 4.5m olive python.

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One of the local wallabies came down to watch us glide past

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The line of debris towards top left is a fresh water crocodile. They’re harmless (to people). It disappeared in a swirl of water as soon as it realised it had been spotted

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Right place, right time. I noticed this kite hunting and managed to get a rather grainy shot of it with its prey in its beak

Last light on the rocks as we disembark

Last light on the rocks as we disembark