Garig Gunak Barlu National Park (Cobourg Peninsula) June 19 - 20 2021
  June 19th has arrived.

We filled in the application form in March 2020, about 15 months ago, having delayed our trip by a year due to Covid-19.

Approved in March this year.

And here we are. Permit in hand (well, on computer really). We leave Jabiru after filling diesel and water tanks and fridge.

Turn north.

  Ubirr is indeed closed.

I guess it happens quite often given the far from temporary looking sign.

  We are about to round the corner of the Arnhem Land escarpment and head east before heading north.
  Billabong visible in the mining lease. We think Ranger North.

Entry prohibited!

  Cahills Crossing (of the East Alligator River) is the boundary between Kakadu and West Arnhem Land.

Its tidal so timing is important.

We think low water is about 11am. It looks like we are either too late for slack water (when tide is balanced by river flow so there is no movement) as the tide recedes or too early as the tide comes in.

There is some flow, but not deep.

We have little hesitation (though I do change to 4wd).

  The crossing has a reputation for crocodiles waiting for fish.

It seems we cross when the crocodiles are having a rest.

Also, the police vehicle with breathalyser equipment is not present.

  We continue past wetland and escarpment.

A change from the intermittent floodplain and dryer land.

  So green.
  We have yet to learn whether "stone country" is simply an abbreviation of "sandstone" or if it refers to unusual erosion patterns.
  As close to Oenpelli (Gunbalanya) as we will get. A few km.

No permits are being issued because of Covid-19.

The small town nestles on dry land among the very extensive billabongs.

The Injalak Art Centre has resorted to displaying its wares at the border store.

  We will soon leave the wetlands and travel north.
  But wait. Before that .......

What turned out to be a blown fuse, but we didn't realise that until the following day. And still don't know why.

About an hour to provide a bypass wire to the engine fuel cutout solenoid.

The only electrical connection to the Perkins engine. Which makes fault finding when one occurs incredibly easy.

  The turnoff to the north.

East would be Manangrida and East Arnhem Land.

235km from here to the park ranger's office. A few km more to campsite.

About 270km from Jabiru.

  The road was graded last year.

It needs another grade.

  Though for large parts it is very good. Lots at 70km/hr and some nearly 80km/hr.

Which is quite fast for us.

  Just before Murganella the eucalypt forest gives way to a patch of monsoon rainforest where we cross Murganella Creek on its way south west through all sorts of wet land and swamp to the coast.

Egrets trying to catch ....

  .... fish ...... eating the weed attached to the concrete road base.
  A rather beautiful strip of forest.
  We arrive at the campsite (behind the dunes) about 5pm.

About 6 hours without stoppage of about 1 hour.

A quick look at the beach while dinner is cooked - we are all tired so soup is on the menu.

This looks like our sort of place ....

  So after a good night's sleep. A walk along the beach.

Just a couple of km as we are a bit achy and tired still.

  The red looks like a sandstone conglomerate with small particles of corundum.

The black on the beach is the corundum freed and washed up as fine, sand grain sized, particles when the surrounding sandstone is eroded. Corundum is aluminium oxide. About 500k east south east of us, in East Arnhem Land, is Nhulunbuy and the Gove bauxite mine.The white is sand left when everything else is washed away.

  Somewhere out there is a reef. We see bits of dead coral on the beach.

Lots of damaged shells.

This one was probably washed up this morning.

  It really does say "crocodiles crossing".

We aren't planning on waiting, the tracks from beach to creek look quite old.

  We sit around the table provided, under the shade cloth.

A ranger visited Peter and Margaret while Ali and I were away.

Our permit is for a week.

We think another week will be a good idea - to sort out Monday morning.

A limited number of vehicles are allowed in the park at any one time.

  The previous bird was a flycatcher.

This is bigger ....

  We decide to repeat our dining out experience with a visit to Smith Point.

Looking east from the point.

In places on top of the red sandstone is a black crust. Some well above the high tide mark, above the small cliff. Ancient coral.

  And looking south from the point.

Into the bowels of Port Essington.

  There is no indication at the point as to who Smith was.

But apparently the fishing is good.

A small bait fish has been caught to support tomorrow's fishing.

  Those not fishing have finished dinner drink coffee, eat chocolate biscuits, and watch the sunset.

The monument to Smith, built by a party of Aus Navy sailors, and a couple of trucks, in the background.

Dining out was a success. Even better than Anbangbang Billabong.

We think we need more practice .......

Garig Gunak Barlu National Park (Cobourg Peninsula) June 21 - 22 2021

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