I’m back – with tales from the outback…
In today’s installment, a bit of narrative, but mostly just lots of pics – both from up in the air and on the ground.
The landscapes here are stupefying. Endless horizons and beaches, islands, savannah, rock formations, cliffs. There’s so much to take in… so much to, perhaps, paint. Shame, say, Turner or Constable never made it down here.
Scenes like these were created eons ago, when the ocean rose and thereunder grew coral reefs aplenty. Then the sea level fell again, exposing the coral and allowing terrestrial flora and fauna to grow across the territory. Add to the mix a monsoonal climate and tropical heat and the waves crashing against the coastline for further millennia, and eventually you get what you see here today. Talk about a tenacious labor of love!
In four months of the monsoon season here falls more precipitation than falls in Moscow in a whole year (precipitation accounting for snow of course too:)! (If Wikipedia is to be believed.) Yep, in summer (November to March) here there are constant downpours and flooding, while in winter (April to October) it’s impossibly hot and dry weather. C’est las vie dans les tropiques!
Here’s the savanna from the plane. The red ‘blisters’ (in the pics – almost black due to the shadows they cast over themselves) that litter the territory in the next few pix are termite mounds!
And the baobab here are… bodacious! AKA dead-rat trees, monkey-bread trees, upside-down trees or cream of tartar trees, these specimens are just astonishing. And no one can for sure of their age! The baobab doesn’t have rings on the inside of its trunk like most trees, so determining how old one is impossible using the traditional method of totting those rings up. By conservative estimates a baobab lives for around a thousand years. Other sources say that if a baobab is 4.5 meters wide (!), then, according to radiocarbon analysis, it should be more than 4500 years old! What a tree! My fave tree in the world for sure. The first baobab I saw was in Zimbabwe, and right there and then I was down on my knees, Wayne’s World style, chanting ‘I’m not worthy’.
Seeing that there’s plenty of baobab (and termites) (like in Africa) it could be deduced that these trees existed many millions of years ago – when Australasia and Africa were one great big land mass together. None of us is worthy :).
The roads here are… interesting! Bright orangey-red, and mostly as straight as as arrow. The thinner, short ‘roads’ that come off the main one in the next pic aren’t actually roads at all. They’re special channels for draining rainwater in monsoon season. First time I’d seen such things.
Kimberley’s shorelines are out of this world. At low tide the sandbanks that emerge look… extraterrestrial from a distance. I’ll stop writing and let the pics do the talking…
That’s your lot for today folks! The next installment from Kimberley, tomorrow!…
All the photos are here.