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Old 04-27-2007, 06:53 PM   #166
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Here's the proof.


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Old 04-27-2007, 06:57 PM   #167
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I'm moving to Brisbane in August, so this is a pretty fantastic summary on the whole chunk of continent! Thanks!

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Old 04-27-2007, 06:58 PM   #168
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Unfortunately, my new-found optimism was given a smack almost straight away. This shows that I made it out of the next crossing, but it was both deeper and with a stronger current. The wake from the front wheel was lapping at the air intake and I was beginning to think that maybe I was pushing my luck. I mean, I had to ride back too, didn't I. . .


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Old 04-27-2007, 07:08 PM   #169
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This is the Manbiyarra Border Store, the last outpost before Oenpelli, which is just about it for all of Arnhem Land until you reach the coast. Arnhem Land, for non-Aussies, is as big as most countries and, being native Aboriginal land, is pretty much terra incognita, even for Australians. It stretches about 1200km east-west and about 600km north-south. You can go there if you get the permit organised, but even with a permit at this time of the year I don't think you'd get very far - a lot of water out there.



Anyway, the store was closed and there was nobody anywhere around when I arrived here, so I headed off to Ubirr for a look at some rock art.

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Old 04-27-2007, 07:14 PM   #170
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Had to stop and get a shot of this first though. Believe the signs.
Every year some people don't.



Incidentally, remember our twat British early explorer (whose name I mercifully can't find)? Well, this is not the East Crocodile River. OK, one little mistake you might get away with. People might even think it's a bit funny, but he named this the East Alligator River, not having learned from his error at the South Alligator. We've seen through you, pal!

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Old 04-27-2007, 07:16 PM   #171
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Immediately ignoring my own advice, I walked down to the river edge to get this shot. Alligator country, apparently.


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Old 04-27-2007, 07:18 PM   #172
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Upstream. This is my first sight of Cahills Crossing, my next geographical obstacle. Doesn't look too bad from here, does it? Note the guys in the boat - they're some of those Barra blokes I mentioned earlier. Lots of 'em here too, but these were the only ones I actually saw. There were about 40 4X4s with trailers in the carpark though!


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Old 04-27-2007, 07:21 PM   #173
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A few kays up the track (on this side of the river) is Ubirr Rock, which is the main thing I've come to see. This pic makes it look cool and shady, but let me tell you the sun was blazing, humidity was over 80% and the temperature was somewhere close to 40C. Lovely, especially in bike gear. After parking the Pig, I went for a walk.


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Old 04-27-2007, 07:24 PM   #174
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Some of the rock art here dates back tens of thousands of years.


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Old 04-27-2007, 07:27 PM   #175
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This is a painting of Mabuyu, a figure which is used to warn against stealing other blokes' stuff. Apparently the story goes that Mabuyu was taking his catch home when some greedy SOB cut the string and stole the lot. Mabuyu, being a kind and gentle type, found the cave they lived in and blocked it with a stone until thay were all dead, women, children, men. Nice guy. Don't touch his stuff.


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Old 04-27-2007, 07:30 PM   #176
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Looks great!!

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Old 04-27-2007, 07:39 PM   #177
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This one is some kind of weird supernatural thingy according to the Aboriginals, not painted by humans. Sadly I couldn't show you exactly where these were, because of the rock platform I was walking on, but these are on the ceiling of a grotto about 30 feet directly above my head. There is no way anyone could get to them without some kind of scaffolding, and it's hard to see how you'd even do that on the rocky, uneven ground. The mind boggles trying to come up with a method that would've been available when they were painted, some 2000 years ago.


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Old 04-27-2007, 07:42 PM   #178
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To give you some idea of where I was at this point. I was gradually climbing this pile of rock, which was riddled with undercut boulders and eroded layers of ancient stone. No wonder the locals thought this place was somehow sacred.


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Old 04-27-2007, 08:16 PM   #179
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They know these paintings are less than 2000 years old because - and here's another fact few Australians are aware of - this area only began turning into wetland about that long ago. So, the pics of waterbirds, long-neck turtles and such are a bit of a giveaway.


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Old 04-27-2007, 08:17 PM   #180
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Eventually I got to the top of the rocks. This is what most of Kakadu looks like.


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