Thursday, December 16, 2010

Windjana & Tunnel gorge

Our intention was to head into Bell gorge after we refueled at Iminji store. The store owner indicated Bell gorge was now closed for the season. It seemed we missed it by only a day or two after being stuck in Kalumburu.  Bugger!  He recommended a camp about 1km back up the track were we saw the junior handbag earlier. It was still early in the afternoon so we chose to make a dash for it & head down to Windjana gorge to set up camp for the next few night. 

Off in the distance was part of the range that made up Windjana gorge. Take a close look at the bump at the low point 

Queen Elizabeth's head. No I'm not making this up... Its a recognised land mark. Best viewed in the late afternoon . Lucky us...

Part of the ancient Devonian reef extends up to 100 meters high in sections 

This is camp. The Showers have only 1 water temperature range starting at warm, very warm & hot. The daytime temp is in the mid 40's .The ground gets that warm that in the evening you don't dare turn on the hot tap if you don't want to get scolded. The heat in the ground is enough to provide a hot shower let alone the solar hot water systems on the roof. If you want a "cool" shower you get up at 5:30 am and have one as the sun is coming up and hit the showers then. In winter its a different story I'm sure. Again this is the last week of the season for Windjaja & come the weekend it will close for the season.

The next morning we opt to hit the gorge early as its been so hot during the day. 7:30am we venture out on the walk
Caves on the wall of the range.

The walk along the path into the gorge leads to this narrow cave  

Exit stage left.... 

The rest of the path in the gorge follows the Lennard river

Two words....spectacular!

Apparently a fossilised squid  

Whale rock.. Tonight's hang out for the big show

The beach on the Lennard river. Only freshies reside here  

yet again two words..... spec tac u lar

Since Kalumuru I noticed that the car was using water. It turns out the radiator cap seal had perished & the water was gradually leaking into the overflow bottle. This is my second attempt at repair . The first one was back at Galvans gorge after lunch time Mangoes. The self amalgamating tape did improve the situation but there was still a leak so I thought I would have another go at it with a few more layers. My only option of a new radiator cap would be at Derby or Broome at the end of the week.

After lunch it was off to Tunnel gorge. Smart move... In the cover of the caves when its 40 degrees plus outside.
If you stuck this photo next to a mirror image of the Bali Tubes restraunt barrel  I reckon you couldn't tell the difference.

The initial enterace to the cave. It was like being in an air conditioned room at this point. The air rushing out of the exit was nice & cool. Hhmmm air conditioning
With memory's of ElQuestro gorge still fresh in my head I was hoping this would be as hard as it gets. One large boulder to negotiate

Once we negotiated the rock we came across this pool. The water was stagnant & had an awful stench. The though of negotiating waterways smelling this bad didn't appeal at all. We could see the beach just the other side of the rocks to the right of shot. I figured we could still stay dry & check out the cave just a little further before we decide if we should turn back or continue.

First section negotiated without incident. Lets continue

This is the beach we walked out onto after negotiating the cave for about 15 minutes. The opening in the cave was a collapse in the roof.  The cave continues another 500 mtrs

This tree root started life hundreds of feet above were we are now.
Croc tracks. They head up the beach to sit up on the bank & sun themselves in the midday sun. Its the only time the sun reaches the cave floor   

The water was crystal clear from here on. Lucky for us

Check the scale. This was awesome

All the black dots on the roof of the cave are Bats. They also have a unique odour but no were near as bad as the stagnant water we had earlier in the cave. 

The view back were we left the beach & heading back into the darkness. That sealing is 10 mtrs high!

One of the 4 residents in the cave.

We did see small fish but not enough to sustain a few croc's
Turns out they eat bats & there are plenty of them to go around. We had to do a waist deep crossing only 20 mtrs up from this guy. He was ok as we could see him but his mates didn't like the look of us & took off into the water.  One of the croc's that made a dash for the water was at least 10mtrs away from the crossing. We had our torches flicking all about the place trying to see any red eyes but they didn't want to come for a closer look.  While on the trail we did spot 3 of the 4 croc's but couldn't find the last one. Its the ones you can't see that are the problem.

Usless fact 657
Croc's Roo's & Barra all have eyes that glow red when you shine a torch in their direction .....

The end of the tunnel was this. 

A rest in the afternoon sun outside with a snack & a drink before we headed back into the cave & back out the entry point 
The pool at the end of the cave.

The butterfly's hung out on the cool cave walls . There were heaps of  them flying about the entrance 
Its hot as hell out here !

Ancient Oysters! 

Can anyone else see the lady in the bikini lounging back???
If this was in a gallery someone would pay a small fortune to have this on their wall

No I didn't eat the mushrooms that were growing on the track in Kalumburu 

The ruins of the Lillimulura police station outpost.

The constable was out on a patrol with a local aboriginal tracker Jandamarra. The constable was actually using Jandamarra to track down his own family. Jandamarra while the constable slept was convinced by his family to release them & the constable was killed.

Jandamarra used Tunnel gorge to hide from the police during subsequent man hunts after the murder of the constable.

Another long day on the trail.  We had been told by the ranger to head back to Windjana gorge on sunset & watch the croc's . They try & catch the Bats as they swoop the surface of the water trying to get a drink.

The galah's also head out of the canyon on sun set. Noisy little buggers

One of many croc's we spotted waiting for dinner

The twilight was majic. The bats soon appears in the hundreds. You would have silent waves of bats flying overhead constantly. After over 20 minutes of the bats flying out of the gorge we left & they showed no signs of letting up. 

A croc catching its own dinner or even a beer would have made this all just that little bit more special.... if that was at all possible. 

One of the couples from camp nearly stood on this python. We had all been hunting them down all day without success as this place is noted for its fresh water croc's & pythons. This one was "small" at about 1.5mtrs long

A jumping spider! awesome what else are we going to come across?

A small Bat clung to the walls of the narrow cave that you go through to get to the gorge.

Until next update

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