Sunday, 1 August 2010

Kakadu - Cooinda

We left Jabiru yesterday morning stopping at Nourlangie Rock  for a look at the rock art, and Anbanbang Billabong before heading on to Cooinda where we plan to spend three nights.



This painting depicts a hunter hunting kangaroo with his spear.


Hand prints serving a purpose similar to the signature you'd find in the corner of modern-day artwork.



Aboriginal people used art as a means of communication.  They told stories relating to their culture, moral and religious beliefs.  In this painting the red breasts at the top left indicate "secret women's business", and the figure drawn with testicles signifies "men's business".  In Aboriginal culture it is common to have knowledge and ceremonies that are exclusively female or male.


Below is Nabulwinjbulwinj (pronounced Nar-bull-win-bull-win).  He is dangerous spirit that eats females after striking them with a yam.


The figure at the top is Namarndjolg.  He and his sister broke the incest laws on the rock ledge above this painting.  Sister is not a sister in the way we think of the relationship, rather a female of the same "skin group" which I touched on in my last entry.  In punishment he is tied to a tree and set on fire.  He is burning, but luckily for him his bindings burn and he escapes to river where he turns into Ginga, a saltwater crocodile.

Below Namarndjolg family groups are depicted on their way to a ceremony.  The two women on the right have flecks on their breasts which indicate that they are breastfeeding children.


Today we went on the "Yellow Water Cruise".  We were told that the sunrise and sunset cruises were the best for spotting wildlife (and the beautiful sky), and we chose to cruise at sunrise which was well worth the early start.





Cruising at sunrise was magic!




Only in Australia would they have ducks that don't swim, and whistle rather than quack.  You should have heard them!  They sounded like a bunch of songbirds.


This bird is a Jabiru which is a type of stork.  The place we camped at previously was named after this fellow.


And here is his massive nest.


Of course there were the requisite crocodiles in residence.  Amazing how after you've seen so many of them even crocs can become old hat!


This bird better not become too blasé about the crocs, as this croc may have him on his breakfast menu!


Even the non-quacking non-swimming whistling ducks know to keep a wide berth.


Water lilies


A close-up of the beautiful flower.


We were lucky to spot a white breasted sea eagle surveying the water below him.


As our boat approached an eagle swooped down right in front of it and plucked out a fish with it's talons.  It was an amazing sight!

Further along another sea eagle took flight causing pandemonium amongst the weird whistling ducks, and other birds.  They didn't want to become it's next meal and took to the air en masse, filling the sky with swooping and swirling hysterical birds.  David Attenborough, eat your heart out!

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