Day 9. Kununurra ( 1 )
This morning we cruised on the Ord river. We had a 7am continental breakfast and were soon on the bus to board our Triple J Cruise. This turned out to be a boat skippered by a young man who seemed far too young for the responsibility. Never the less he was full of information about the Ord river project and obviously proud of the achievements of the people of Kununurra.
Young Captain Triple J CuisesYoung Captain Triple J Cuises gives a talk on how the Ord system works. We'd already seen kilometers of vegetables growing in the rich irrigated soil of the district. The pondage at Kununurra is only a small part of the overall project and serves many different masters. Power and fresh drinking water for the town, irrigation on demand for the large agricultural area. Drought proofing a large slab of the East Kimberley. Its prime purpose though would be flood mitigation. The figures for the amount of water captured in Lake Argyle upstream from here in a normal wet season are mind boggling. In a season described as a "Big Wet" even Argyle couldn't cope and the Ord/Kununurra dam comes into play enabling a controlled release of water, and giving a huge safety margin to boot. Just as well!
After we had toured around the mitigation dam we headed upstream at a brisk pace, through farming land which soon gave way to impressive scenery, stark in many ways, crumbling cliffs of orange and brown, lush greenery along a wide band of the lake. Ord river CliffsOrd river Kununura Cliffs.
After a while we came to a junction between the lake and the river. We took the left turn into the river proper and all of a sudden we were in a different world. Rainforest along the river banks held in by substantial ironstone cliffs, many of which looked as though some giant had carved them and built them up from huge rectangular blocks. It wasn't long before the boat came to a quick halt and our captain pointed out an impressive freshwater crocodile. The animal was sunning itself along much of a dead tree lying partly in the river. It did get bored with the ooh's and aahs of us tourists however and quietly slid beneath the water. We saw several more later in the morning, but a lunch was planned for a little further up stream on a partly cleared bank well above water level. This turned into a gourmet picnic with something for everyone. Many of us spent some time here photographing the Kapok flowers which abound in this country. We also learned about the Kimberly Rose which seemed to grow in the most impossible rock clefts well out of reach of regular camera lenses, though I did get a passable shot further up the river where the cliffs closed in more.
This was after lunch and we passed through a section of river much wider and with mud banks frequented by all manner of water birds. Egrets, snake necked darters, pelicans, " Jesus " birds which walked along on lily pads seeming to walk on water and many others. Most of which were not interested in posing for photographers. it was in this section that we met with some more croc's.
One was pointed out to us, just submerged with just its eyes above the water. Almost impossible to see until with a massive swirl it leapt up and dived down to disappear completely. The other, in the same area was, like our first, basking. I think it was bigger than the first as well.
Already there are more pictures than I planned but what to leave out?
So, I've split this day into two posts and I do hope I haven't overdone it. Wouldn't it be wonderful to spend a week just doing this one area with your own vehicle, 4wd and boat. Even to do it again in the wet.
Dream on - Cheers - Peter
Keywords: Australia, Australian, Kununurra, Ord, Ord River Scheme, river, pondage, , River", WA, Western Australia, birds, blue, cliffs, croc, crocodile, flowers, flowers, people, raptors, rocks, rugged, water
Thanks Peter...Would love to see it all but this is the next best thing...reading your blog...keep up the good work. Maureen
Ann in Dunstable UK(non-registered)
Best one yet Peter, your comments made it come alive - Thanks and have fun,
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