Saturday, August 25, 2012

I ride...

Just thought I'd make a quick post of nothing in particular... just a ride into town maybe one day, I'll put together something that shows just how special this place is and how much beauty I see along the way... this isn't that post.

I was reading a fellow bicycle commuters blog the other day, he was simply describing some of the every day wonders he sees along the way and I was reminded of the sense of gratitude I have for living in such a beautiful part of the world and being fortunate enough to be able to cycle to work or anywhere else I'd like to go in this city.

I had intended to do a bunch of photos of all the wildlife I saw along the way but I didn't actually see too much today and was too slow with the camera for those things I did see so anyway here's a few of the wonders between my place and Darwin City.

As I rode through the park virtually right outside my door a flock of Red Collared Lorikeets was spooked from their roost by a group of Torres Strait Pigeons.The lorikeets would take flight, fly a circle around the trees and then come back and land where they started. Then the pigeons would do the same... It was really weird but then I saw the reason. A group of Black kites were hunting them and all the birds in the park were freaking out! Fortunately for the prey birds the Black kites are due to leave as the humidity returns to the Top End.

I left this scene and peddled off on my Xtracycle with the Avanti Blade in tow... literally.

Towing again...
Towing the Avanti to the bike shop for some tlc.

From the bike shop I headed down Dick Ward Drive to Fanny Bay. (Seriously that's what they're called!)
At Fanny Bay I rolled down past the giant Milkwood and the war memorial, past the playground to the beach and the rocks and the milky blue water and the fish jumping and a large group of Aboriginal people, probably salt water people, possibly Yolngu but maybe a mixed group... I dunno. It was pretty laid back... I didn't talk, just sat and watched the fish jumping for a while... walked to the sea cupped my hands and splashed it over my face and hair, wiping it over my arms and legs. Tasting the salty brew on my lips and dreaming of sailing over the horizon... Enjoying the glorious freedom of the salty sea and the blue sky for the brief time between now and the buildup.

Black kite's hunting along the coast!

Rolling on down the hill past the Yacht club I saw an interesting vessel and wondered what it would take to build her up! Too many times I've wandered down there and drooled through that fence.

Onward toward Vesties Beach, past the ski club where they've built a new bar, Million Dollar views!
That tourist boat bus blocks the path as it prepares to enter the drink.

Boat bus enters the drink... Quack

Peddle past the museum and to the left are a couple of Orange Footed Scrub fowl. Our very own Macropods. They're very common in Darwin but you won't find too many elsewhere. They are very particular about where they live and our City appears to have more suitable habitat than you'll find in the wild. Scrub fowl are loyal lovers. They are always hanging out in pairs, although recent observations have indicated that the females aren't too particular about who sires her chicks. Apparently.

Bit of a slope after the museum headed toward the Highschool. There aren't too many hills in Darwin so I don't often put my chain under too much stress. Well this hill put my gear to the test and I discovered that the 16,000 odd kms I've done have worn out my chain and sprockets! I had to gear right down to get up this hill, the chain kept slipping, I'll have to do something about that some time!

View of Mindil Beach from the lookout. Notice the lack of swimmers on this inviting stretch of coast? Darwin has plenty of nice beaches but unfortunately the combination of stingers, crocks, stone fish, sharks and possibly the huge tidal variation leaves our beaches virtually un-swum!

Oh Yeh... Mindil beach was actually a Larakia Burial site. Nobody cared too much back in the day and even when they built the casino (that big white building just left of the centre) they even dug up some bones! That's the territory for ya! The area has also been a Chinese Garden and holding pen for the abetwar, now it's the site of Darwin's biggest tourist market.

Spiegeltent: This tent is just awesome! Darwin Festival is on so there's art everywhere! All kinds... Check out the Mo on the guy in the shorts! There seems to be a bit of a trend lately for young arty guys to be sporting a Village People Mo! I don't get out much and have no idea how this became popular but it's a great laugh to see young taking their facial hair so seriously.

Sp Tent
Spiegeltent again.

Getting closer to town and there remain only a few signs of the Darwin I found when I arrived here 16 years ago! Oh where have the rusty iron roofs gone!

Met up with a mate and we headed down to Lameroo Beach for a chat. This was once the place where hippies and eccentric travelers used to live on the beach in busted up old boats. It's all been cleaned out now but there are still a few hangers on. Sometimes it feels like Darwin has been completely homogenized but if you get down to the hidden corners you'll find there still exists some of that old spirit that made this such a special place to be!

Today was the last day of the Asylum Seeker Art Cries Freedom exhibition so I dropped in and had a chat with Vikki the curator and Bill Day (Author of Bunji). The art was quite amazing. Click here  Not too many people turned up for this show. Compassion for the vulnerable is not really in vogue in this country at the moment!

Anyhow I'm sick of writing now and not too much more happened... I went back and wandered the beach on my own for a while and then rode home, sunburned nose, tired and happy.

Oh yeh I didn't go to work yesterday or today... two days annual leave... stress leave, what better way to spend them!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice, quick tour of Darwin.
I enjoyed all parts of this post, particularly the photos of the beach, the duck boat, Orange Footed Scrub fowl, and the black kite.

I read a bit about stonefish after I learned about them from your post. Holy Spokes - those things are a mess. And, add to that mix stingers, and crocs? No wonder nobody is swimming in the beach. Very wild!

The art created by the detained immigrants is quite nice. What will happen to those people anyhow?

Peace :)

Great post!

David J said...

Hi anonymous reader,
I'd really like to do a much more decent tour some day. This really is a very interesting part of the world. We've just had our State Election (well Territory election actually, we don't have all the rights of a State yet).
If i had time I'd do a post featuring all the crazy candidates we've got.

The art exhibition was strictly monitored by agents of our Immigration department. The artists can only be identified by their immigration ID which is a combination of letters and numbers. They will be detained for an unspecified amount of time, during which Australia's immigration laws will likely change several times until eventually, depending on what form of deterrent (punitive example) the Government decides to enact on them, they will be either accepted as refugees or sent back to the countries from which they are fleeing for there lives! It's brutal and it sucks.

Joe said...

You've made me very home-away-from-homesick, Dave! Really enjoyed that post. :)

David J said...

Hey Joe,
Yeh... I've just been down in Melb for 3 days and saw all those things I've been missing while up here. Magpies, Wattle trees, soil!
It's been a great dry season here in Darwin though. Maybe you guys should try to get back up here for the next festival.