I gather you are all wondering if we had sprung off the planet, as it’s been a few days since our last update. I just love technology….when it works! We have had nothing but problems with our Telstra 3G mobile broadband and for a few days had no contact with the outside world, though maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Anyhow, all sorted now after a few phone calls at $1.50 per 30 seconds on the satellite phone. I could hear the meter ticking over……
Katherine to Dundee Beach – Saturday 30th June, 2012
It was a leisurely circa 400km drive from Katherine travelling north via the Stuart Hwy to Dundee Beach, with a stop-off for a cuppa with some old friends at Bees Creek just south of Darwin. We hadn’t seen Greg and Beth for around 25 years so there was a lot to talk about and catch-up on. Greg had a few tips for us on the best fishing spots. Their ‘estate’ at Bees Creek was amazing! As we pulled into the property, we thought we were entering some sort of holiday ranch.
We arrived at Makill House, Dundee Beach at around 4.00pm and after unloading the vehicle, we had the pleasure of watching the day draw to a close with a beautiful sunset across the Timor Sea. Quite a contrast after watching the sunrise on the opposite side of the Northern Territory a few days earlier at Turtle Beach, East Arnhem Land.
View of sunset from Makill House, Dundee Beach
Julie checking out the beach outside Makill House, Dundee Beach
Dundee Beach – Sunday 1st July, 2012
Orientation day – After sitting on the veranda having a leisurely feed of bacon and eggs, watching the boats go by, we spent the remainder of the morning having a look around Dundee Beach and seeing what was on offer.
Just after lunch Viv and Peter, from Hooked-up Boat Hire arrived at the house with our boat for the week, having just driven down from Darwin. Greg was like a kid in a lolly shop and all excited, trying to act his age and not look too enthusiastic. The boat was a beaut and everything was tip-top…….there would definitely be a little willy-waving once we hit the water! Peter gave us a good run-down on the operation of the boat, with a few good fishing tips thrown in.
“Our Boat” for the week, anyway!!!
“Our Boat” for the week, anyway!!!
1st Fishing Trip – Dundee Beach, Monday 2nd July, 2012
Having prepared the rods and associated fishing tackle the day before, the boat and crew headed-off with the boat in tow to the Dundee Beach Boat Ramp for a day of ocean fishing. We arrived at the ramp around 7.00am, though it’s only 500 metres from the house and purchased some suitable bait and ice for the eski. We were met at the ramp by Jethro, who drives the local tractor at the ramp for the launching of the boats. Due to the extreme tide changes it’s impossible to use the 4wd for the launch of boats.
We didn’t travel too far and concentrated our fishing on the reef areas inshore. In all we probably travelled around 10km out to sea to give the boat a good run, though the further out we went, the rougher the water became.
The daily catch included Garfish, Sharks, Catfish, more Sharks and a couple of ‘yellow fish’. We didn’t have any luck with Salt Water Barra, Black Dhufish or Snapper, which were on the original shopping list.
‘Son of Jaws’ – Julie fishing off Dundee Beach
Baby Garfish – Julie’s first catch of the day, Dundee Beach
2nd Fishing Trip – Finniss River (Fresh), Tuesday 3rd July, 2012
As the wind had picked-up a little from the day before, we decided to put the boat in the water at the Finniss River (fresh). The ramp is located around 50km east (inland)of Dundee Beach and the water there is fresh and not to be confused with the Finniss River section which comes out at the coast south of Dundee Beach.
We spent the day travelling the river, which is absolutely beautiful as can be seen by the photos that we have included. It would be very easy to fall into a false sense of security based on the surroundings, though don’t be fooled as there are large saltwater crocodiles lying in wait both in the water and along the banks. (yes, you do get salt water crocs in fresh water)…..oh, did I mention the snakes in the trees?
All in all it was a great day, though the locals said it was ‘too cold’ to catch Barramundi at the moment….they were right. But hey; who cares we had a great day out with me as Captain and Julie as first mate.
“Captain Greg”, Finnis River, NT
View from the boat, Finnis river, NT
3rd Fishing Trip – Milne Inlet, Wednesday 4th July, 2012
Well the wind hasn’t got any calmer so we decided to take the boat out via Milne Inlet and Byone Harbour areas. The ramp is located around 45km north east of Dundee Beach. Today was another great day on the water with warm temperatures averaging 30c and things being very calm for the first few km’s from the ramp.
Fishing wise it was mainly sharks and more sharks and while we had to fight them into the boat, we let the majority go again. By the end of play that day Julie had christened me ‘shark man’.
After 3 days of using the boat we were pretty much getting the hang of things and were really impressed with the boat. Each time I found the opportunity (or excuse) to push the throttle forward; the boat would literally stand-up in the water…very quick indeed. I was told off on more than one occasion as Julie wasn’t too impressed with the spray coming in where she was sitting. Personally I couldn’t see a problem from where I was as it was relatively dry….I think it’s a guy thing!
Rest Day – Thursday 5th July, 2012
After three days out and about in the boat, we decided to have a day to recover around Makill House, Dundee Beach. While we were both really enjoying ourselves, there was a need (at our age) to pace ourselves a little. Did I mention the plunge pool and spa at the house? Julie and I spent the morning sitting in the spa looking out to sea watching the boats go past….It’s only fair to give the other guy a chance
Greg, resting from trying to get his phone to work!!
Dundee Beach – Friday 6th July, 2012
Today is the last day with the boat, so we decided to head-out from Dundee Beach Boat Ramp for a last crack at the Dhufish and Snapper. The wind had settled a little from the previous days, though we didn’t have too much luck with what we were chasing. Having said that, my winning streak on catching sharks continued, with a total of 9 pulled onto the deck. By the end of the day I was ready for that spa as I ached from head to toe. It’s a tough job this fishing, but somebody has to do it.
Last days at Dundee Beach – Saturday and Sunday 7th & 8th July, 2012
Saturday was spent packing all the fishing gear away and getting ready to head-off Sunday morning. Viv and Peter from Hooked-up Boat Hire arrived to collect the boat around lunch time and were kind enough to bring along with them a couple of freshly made local Aussie meat pies for our lunch. Mmmm; they were the best!
Sitting on the veranda with Viv and Peter having a cuppa gave me the chance to practice my fishing stories before getting back to the UK…..HOW-BIG!!! I could tell they were both impressed
If you are ever in the Darwin area, please look them up. The boats are brilliant and we haven’t enjoyed ourselves so much in a long time.
We made a good distance on the Sunday, travelling from Dundee Beach, the 400km down to Katherine and then continued west after a bit of food shopping. We camped that night around the Buchanan Hwy turn-off from the Victoria Hwy. Total distance covered for the day was around the 650km mark.
The next couple of days will be spent in and around Kununurra, before the next leg will take us down the Gibb River Road to Derby and Broome.
Lake Kununurra, West Australia
Ivanhoe Crossing, Kununurra, West Australia
Boab Trees – On Track to Ivanhoe Crossing, Kununurra, West Australia
Stay tuned for Leg 5, which I’ll update you all on once we arrive in Broome. In the meantime, please have a look at the pics we have placed on the ‘photographs’ page and follow our progress live via satellite on the ‘live tracking’ links.
Thanks for taking the time to read our Blog……
Greg and Julie