Day Thirteen

tim

It was good to have at least a bit of a sleep in today. As usual, Dad got up before everyone else, and did whatever it is he does when we’re alls till asleep. I remember having a particularly pleasant and vivid dream. I remember hearing the zip on my side of the tent opening and dads’ voice saying, “Would you like a coffee?”. Since all I really wanted to do was get back to my dream, I answered, “No thanks,” then heard dad say, “Oh, there’s gratitude for you…”

What I’d failed to pick up on (with my eyes closed) was that dad was not so much offering to make me coffee as offering me the coffee he’d already made. Needless to say, a few minutes later I was fully awake and drinking coffee in bed.

Breakfast was pancakes and fried eggs, and I had one of each. Mandy and Marco had told me that the place where the track crossed the creek a little downstream was a good secluded bathing spot, so I grabbed a bucket, my toiletries, my towel and a change of clothes and headed down there to take a look. Nice spot! The water was warm and clear, and it was the most relaxing bath I’ve ever taken standing up. There’s something liberating about getting your kit off in the middle of the bush, and keeping an eye out for crocs and water buffalo just makes it all the more exhilarating. I returned to camp clean and refreshed, and with my clothes washed.

Our friend Paul in Nhulunbuy makes a weekly trip to Bremmer Island, where he spends time with the people there. The island serves as a youth detention centre, and is operated by the elders there. By all accounts it’s a preferable alternative to conventional detention, and offenders usually spend around a year there before returning to their communities. Paul was able to offer 5 seats for members of our party to join him today. It was decided that Andy, Lyn, Jordy, Katy and Brad (all members of the same family) would go. They deft us at before lunch to drive the two and a half hours to Nhulunbuy. We’ll see them tomorrow night when they return.

Later this morning we intended to head to the cultural centre where Silke works, but unfortunately it had been closed down for the morning due to a visiting dignitary, and we wouldn’t be able to go. Instead we spent some time reading down at the wash spot, and after lunch (just as we were planning our next attempt at getting to town) Silke and Zoey arrived with two local women: Daniel’s adoptive mother Lucy, and Rudy. They took us to a popular sitting place (just near the wash spot, it turned out) and showed the women how they make baskets and string bags. Men aren’t allowed to join in, I found out… only watch. After watching for some time, Marco, Nick and I headed back to the wash spot, where there is also a small but deep swimming hole. The water is cool and clear, and dotted with small waterlilies, and below the surface at exactly the right depth is a perfect log for sitting on. What a way to spend an afternoon.

Around five-ish we followed the ladies into town and finally checked out the cultural centre, where artworks by Lucy, Rudy and other local women were on display and for sale. We bought some supplies, and returned to camp.

After tea, Daniel, Silke and Zoey returned and spent some time with us by the fire.

Good day all ’round.

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