Cooinda is the perfect base to head off on our Yellow Water Cruise. We’ve seen so much of this park from lookouts and at the base of waterfalls, now it’s time to check it out from the water. The picturesque Yellow Water Billabong and tributaries of the South Alligator River are quite simply a wildlife spotting feast, teeming with birds and saltwater crocodiles.
We’ve been happy to pay the hefty family fee for this privilege, this indigenous owned business gives us access to a mind-exploding array off wildlife and a very informative constant spiel from our guide and boat driver.
Saltwater crocs lurk and glide lazily by, monitors slide from paperbark logs, buffalos graze in knee deep swamp, wild brumbies raise their heads slowly and exotic birds making the most of nature’s pantry and playground.
As we cruise along water-lily covered estuaries which vast flocks of birds have called home for the dry season, we gain a terrific insight into the Bininj people’s mythology of the flora and fauna, and we’re picking up a few aboriginal terms for these critters:-
Buffalo – Annabaruu
Ginga – Saltwater Crocodile
Gurmegan – Freshwater Crocodile
Murruddwi – Sea Eagle (also known as The Spirit Bird)
The little Squid who has taken to birding with a passion is ticking the bird life of as fast as she spies them.
Azure Kingfishers, Magpie Geese, Jacanas, Sea Eagles, Egrets, Cormorants, Shags, Jabirus, Rufus Night Owls, Ibis … her head is swivelling with delight.
The bigger Squids head is swivelling at the number of crocs we are sighting.
This is one boat you do NOT want to fall out of. We are cruising alongside 4 metre long crocs on a number of occasions, their 3 eyelids staring at us complacently (told you I learnt something) and their scaley tales powering behind them.
Kakadu, from the water, is alive with critters.
We take a post-cruise visit to the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
It’s a good chance to gain an understanding of the connection Kakadu’s Aboriginal traditional owners have with this special part of the world. The Squids are fascinated with things like message sticks, spirits, skin names and hunting tools. I am enlightened by the explanations of moieties and aboriginal mission recollections.
This is one Distance Education excursion that will provide the basis for several assignments in weeks to come.
Check back in later, I’m way out yonder and there’s not enough juice to upload photos! Or pop over to our Instagram page and see what we’re up to.