Yellow Waters and Jim Jim Falls
12 July 2012
What a day. Today has just been brilliant, a day to remember! We were up and off well before dawn, heading for a boat trip on the Yellow Waters to watch the sun rise. The boat departed at 6:45, just as it was getting light. It was a pretty amazing site, cruising along in the still water, the mist hanging over the surrounding green marshes, watching the first geese flying over in ‘V’ formation, their honks drifting across the motionless air to us. The early morning soft light and stillness meant the banks of Jim Jim Creek, and later the South Alligator River formed amazing scenes of lush green grasses with Pandanas palms at the waters edge punctured by white Paperbark tree trunks, separated by the mist from woodland in the distance, all this was lazily reflected in the still waters. It was a perfect couple of hours, we were both transfixed by the changing light, the bright coloured lilies, the many birds, and of course the crocs!
The first croc that let us see it swam near the boat with her eyes, nostrils and a bit of her tail showing as she slowly made her way across our path. Neither of us has ever seen a croc moving in the water before. Its whole body and tail undulated under the surface of the water pushing it along effortlessly, enormous power was present and scarily you knew it could be turned on in an instant – they truly look menacing and prehistoric. We saw a few more ‘smaller’ females and then later a couple of large males and finally just as we were gliding back to the jetty a very large 5 metre (about 15 feet) big fella, a “boss croc”. We got really close to some of them with their yellow eyes glowing in the early morning light, their very large teeth glinting beneath the water and we could only imagine how stealthy they can be.
Our morning finished by feasting on a breakfast buffet that was part of the boat ticket so we feasted on juice, toast, bacon (for some), sausages, hash browns, and fruit. Considering we have been eating weetbix and muesli for breakfast almost every morning for over 4 months it was something else. Olly had what must have been most of a pig on his plate.
About lunch time we arrived to the campsite near Jim Jim falls and decided to head straight to the falls. As with much of Kakadu the falls are not accessible during the wet season and are often not flowing in the dry so we were not sure if we would see any flowing water but a swim was really appealing. The walk to Jim Jim was about a km long and involved a fair bit of rock hoping, the path ended with a field of big boulders and in front of us was a 200 metre (about 600 feet) waterfall surrounded by a deep red, white and black sandstone gorge. There were two pools to swim in, one fringed by a beach (a beach!) and the other was the huge plunge pool at the base of the falls. By the time we got there we were hot and sweaty and really ready for a swim. We had taken different paths and Lisa ended up with Alice and Tom on one side of the creek and Olly on the other, Olly swam over and we all scrambled over the final rocks and swam across to the plunge pool.
Lisa – Magic….. lying on my back I could see the falls cascading down, it seemed as though I could see all of the individual drops coming down and I was mesmerised by the patterns, colours, layers and shapes of the rock walls around us. We are small ants just visiting this big majestic place on an afternoon in July 2012 but this place has been there for millions of years and will continue to be there long after we have had our few hours there. Incredible. Olly and Alice and Tom swam over to the falls and sat under them getting belted by the water falling from so far above. I could hear their shrieks echoing when I popped my head up out of the water. We stayed for the rest of the afternoon, reading and hopping in and out of the water to cool off.
Back at camp and we are enjoying our final 4 cold beers (we put one for each in the fridge every morning) and some yummy curry and the boys are getting a fire going (no sitting around the fire though – its too hot). They are trying out something we heard at a ranger talk about natural mozzie repellent in smoke from termite chewed branches. We are at a lovely camp spot and there is a breeze! Im so looking forward to snuggling into our landy with some actual air flowing through and watching the night sky from our bed.
O and L