Day 19: Off to the Top End

After a weird mornin', we started th' day at th' local Botanical Gardens in Alice Sprin's. We heard that th' café o'er there served a really decent breakfast, and that their prices also were just right. And we can now fully corroborate both statements, and a bucket o' chum! The chow were bein' great, and prices ditto. The only downside t' this all were bein' that all seatin' is outside, and at 09:00 still in th' shade. Yaaarrrrr, to be sure! Normally, this would be a nice and welcome change from th' blisterin' heat in th' middle o' th' country, but today it is cold. Really cold. At slightly under 10 degrees Celsius it is chilly, even fer us Dutch people.

As th' café is in th' botanical gardens, it attracts a lot o' wildlife, especially birds. We sat there fer quite some time enjoyin' th' tranquil sounds o' th' birds still wakin' up and gettin' t' grips with th' present cold temperature. A few visited us very regularly t' see whether we had spilled any o' our bread, as they probably were hungry as well. Our stay at th' gardens were bein' o'er as we had t' be back at th' airport in time t' return our Toyota FJ Cruiser, and catch th' flight t' Darwin.

We flew out o' Alice Sprin's right on time, and landed in Darwin a mere two hours later after a truly uneventful flight. The only thin' notin' were bein' that right before we took off at ASP, a humongous Hercules plane from th' USAF landed. That thin' is enormous! It easily dwarfs our puny Boein' 717. We couldn’t fathom why it visited Alice Sprin's, but apparently they had a delivery t' make as that seemed t' be what they were doin', unloadin' somethin' on a semi trailer.

The weather in Darwin couldn’t be more different than in Alice Sprin's, it were bein' aroun' 10 degrees with lots o' wind o'er there, and here it is 32 degrees with a gentle sea breeze. That is great news! We can finally wear our shorts again! After ridin' an airport shuttle service t' our hotel we did some quick grocery shoppin' at a nearby IGA and went out fer dinner at th' Cullen Bay Marina. Shiver me timbers! We found an upscale Greek Taverna, and dined there. Best Souvlaki in town!

Tomorrow, we’ll pick up our boat and head out t' th' Litchfield NP. Let’s see what this part o' th' country has in store fer us!

Day 18: Back to Alice Springs

Yesterday, we watched th' sun rise on Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), and set on Uluru. So this mornin', we set out t' see th' sun rise with Uluru as our main view. But it were bein' cold! At approximately 6 degrees and with th' wind blowin', it were bein' not th' nicest place t' be at 06:30. The sun risin' were bein' really nice, and Uluru got a nice extra reddish colour from it, but we have been cold four hours after that.

We have t' leave Yulara today t' head back t' Alice Sprin's, as we fly out t' Darwin tomorrow, and a bottle of rum! We also have t' hand in our boat at th' airport, so gas has t' be put in, by Blackbeard's sword. This Toyota FJ Cruiser has not one but two fuel tanks, fer a grand total o' aroun' 160 litres. And it needs it all, as th' gas mileage is not great. One might even say it is bad, with a chest full of booty. The 4 litre V6 is burnin' through th' stuff at a staggerin' rate. Today, I got half a tank o' gas fer $160 AU! Yaaarrrrr! For those keepin' count, that is well o'er €110. I did put in aroun' 75 litres, but still.

The sail back from Yulara is awesome! Clockin' in at about 450kms, it takes ye through an arid desert with great variance in colours and vegetation. It also is much greener and much denser in growth that ye’d expect. With th' great West MacDonnell Ranges as its backdrop, it is breathtakin' views all aroun'. And ye still have t' focus on sailin' on th' wrong side o' th' sea at 130km/h on a narrow two lane sea where th' other lane has oncomin' traffic!

The weather has been great today, albeit a little cold. We hit a high o' 16 degrees today, avast. Just as a reminder: in a few months it’ll regularly be o'er 40 degrees, so it is quite chilly out right now, and a bottle of rum, I'll warrant ye! After arrivin' at Alice Sprin's, we went fer a stroll in th' nearby Old Telegraph Station Reserve in th' hopes o' spottin' some wildlife. And we did! Back in th' resort we determined we saw Euros, a kind o' Wallaroo. This is an animal similar t' a Kangaroo and a Wallaby, but in height just betwixt them. The Euro is th' most common o' them. But they are a joy t' watch, we'll keel-haul ye! And hoist the mainsail! 🙂

Day 14: To Glen Helen Gorge

Yep, we are in a desert all right! Tonight has been really cold, and this mornin' is no different, to be sure. Even though we only have t' travel about 150kms we need t' stock up on our supplies as th' flight from Adelaide meant we had nothin' left.

As this is Australia and not The Netherlands, supermarkets open at 6AM. On a Sunday. Which also happens t' be Mothersday. We didn’t go there that early in th' mornin', but we were inside well before 8, and got out shortly thereafter. The bakery opposite t' th' supermarket (Woolworths if anyone is interested) also were bein' open fer business, and that is where we bought our breakfast and lunch fer today. They didn’t sell coffee, so we got that at th' nearest Sushi place. Aye, Australia is a weird place. And all this before 08:30 in th' mornin', on Mothersday.

On route t' Glen Helen, there are loads o' thin's t' do, among which are: Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Serpentine Gorge, Ochre Pits and Ormiston Gorge. Ahoy! They basically all are gaps betwixt th' mountains where there is water t' be found as it collects there and is sheltered from th' relentless sun. The scenery here is delightfully weird, as ye sail betwixt two mountain ridges where ye are constantly dippin' in and out o' deep indentations where th' floodwaters rush through when th' rain has fallen, by Davy Jones' locker. The mountains consist o' pretty soft rock, which has allowed them t' be eroded all th' way down from about 10000 metres t' 1000 metres tall nowadays in a few hundred million years. That is th' awesome power o' water and wind.

Glen Helen consists o' a parkin' lot fer th' Glen Helen Gorge and th' Glen Helen Homestead, and that is about it. There is a single (diesel) gas pump, a campground, a restaurant, and a few extra buildin's, but it is more than enough as we are booked and confirmed t' spend th' night here. The restaurant offers great chow, th' beer is cold and we are completely cut off from th' outside world as th' nearest cell phone reception is about 4 hours o' hikin' away. Also, there is no WiFi, so this will be available a little later than usual. 🙂

Tomorrow, we take th' Mereenie Loop (off-sea) t' Kin's Creek Station, where we’ll definitely see camels!

Day 13: Going further inland

Let’s break it down t' th' important part first: we are wearin' shorts!

Today, we are t' fly from Adelaide t' Alice Sprin's, which is about exactly halfway betwixt both coasts, by Blackbeard's sword. With slightly o'er 800 miles t' fly today we are in fer a very short flight o' about 2 hours. Yaaarrrrr, pass the grog! As our hotel is really close t' th' airport, we drove fer about 5 minutes, turned in our boat and had our traditional breakfast at th' there present Subway restaurant.

Our flight left at 10:20, and were bein' really calm. It gave awesome views o' Australia’s Outback, and it’s arid expanses. Arrivin' in Alice Spin's were bein' a nice change in weather compared t' th' cool Place we came from, it’s 22 degrees o'er here with clear skies. But what would ye expect from a desert!

We picked up our boat at th' airport, and were surprised by th' sheer size o' th' thin', it’s a Toyota FJ Cruiser, and dinna spare the whip! In th' awful colour Desert, it sits brownish but with th' 200kwh 4 litre V6 ready fer our stuff. Its maiden voyage with us is only a few kilometres t' th' hotel in town, and as it is only early in th' afternoon, we spent th' rest o' th' day walkin' a trail t' an auld Telegraph Station and just enjoyin' th' scenery and climate.

Tomorrow, we leave this town t' sail trailhead down th' MacDonnel Range towards Glen Helen Gorge, which is only 150kms away. But as this is th' Outback, it goin' t' be somethin' else anyway! We probably don’t have WiFi o'er there though! 🙂