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  • Writer's pictureJess

Week 18 Weekly Blog 23/09/2021- 29/09/2021

Last week saw us adventure around Darwin and enjoying many sunsets on the beautiful Darwin coast. Read on below for what adventures we got up to in week 18 of Allan and I exploring Oz.

Day 120

I woke up early and let Allan sleep in because he didn’t get home until late last night. I did the dishes from last night and washed Allan’s work uniform. Once Allan was awake, I made coffee for Allan, and I ate left over nachos from last night. We chilled out at camp before Allan forced me to give him a haircut. After he had a shower (to wash off the excess hair that was cut) we ventured to Cullen Bay to have a look around and investigate which boat was the Commodore’s boat, as we were going on it tomorrow night for Allan’s staff work show. We then found a spot on the marina that provided toast to feed the fish. After feeding the fish, we went to Bunnings to get the gas bottle swapped over, as we ran out of gas last night. Back at the caravan park, Allan had some lunch while I chopped up the rest of my mangoes from the $10 bag from the mango farm at Berry Springs. We went for a quick swim, then Allan got ready for work and then left. I went to the gym, went for another swim to cool down, typed up some of the blog, cooked carbonara for tea (Allan’s request), did the dishes, ate tea, then went to bed.

Day 121

We woke up to Allan’s alarm, which he had set because he had a day shift and had to leave for work at 9:30am. I got up, but Allan slept for a bit longer. Once Allan was up, we had coffee and chilled out at camp. Allan got ready for work, then I dropped him off at work, so I could have the car. I fuelled up the car and inflated the tyres, which had been deflated since driving on the beach at Dundee Beach, then went to the chemist to buy some antihistamines. I wanted to do the Mangrove Boardwalk in Tiwi, but Google Maps took me to the back of Royal Darwin Hospital, which felt a bit sketchy. I then drove to Dripstone Cliffs, which is a nice, grassy picnic area on top of cliffs that overlook a beautiful beach and the ocean. The tide was out, and I could walk along the beach, but I chose not to. I then drove towards Darwin Surf Life Saving Club and the nudist beach. I found the start of the Mangrove Boardwalk, but by this time I couldn’t be bothered going for a walk and it was very hot. Also, there was wildfire that was still burning and smoking in certain places, and I didn’t feel very comfortable being there by myself. I drove to Casuarina Shopping Centre in the hope of getting an ice cream from somewhere, but I couldn’t find anywhere for ice cream, so I went back to the caravan park and chilled out. I had a late breakfast, went for a swim in the pool, then went to reception to make sure we had the right boom gate code. As it turned out, we didn’t have the correct boom gate code, so they gave us a new one and while I was there, I bought a magnum ice cream. A car alarm kept going off intermittently throughout the afternoon, which was getting quite irritating. I then got ready to pick Allan up from work and go to Allan’s work show on Lucille’s (the Commodore of the Sailing Club) boat. We had a couple of drinks at the Sailing Club before heading to Cullen Bay Marina where we were meeting to board the boat, called “Kucheng”. We got onto the 40-foot sailboat and cruised around Darwin Harbour, chatting to the other staff, relaxing, and enjoying the view with an esky full of drinks and Lucille providing delicious nibbles including sausage rolls, guacamole with Doritos, curried egg and ham and mustard sandwiches and Tandoori chicken bites. It was a fantastic night and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the first time either of us had been on a sailboat like this, let alone sailing around at sunset which was stunning! We got back to the marina and got off the boat and made plans to catch Uber’s and head to “Good Thanks” in the city to continue the celebrations. We had cocktails and other beverages at “Good Thanks” before heading to “Babylon Bar” for more beverages and things got rowdy there with banana being thrown around. Once everyone decided to move on, Allan and I agreed it was time for us to head home. I had stopped drinking hours ago, so we caught an Uber back to Cullen Bay Marina and I drove the Triton back to the caravan park. We went to bed at about 12:30pm after an epic night out sailing Darwin Harbour at sunset and hitting the town after.

Day 122

Allan had the next 4 days off work, so we had a bit of a sleep-in, before chilling out at camp while having our morning coffee. We went to the Parap Markets and had a look at the stalls. It was very similar to the week before when I had come with a very large variety of stalls. Allan was starving and wanted to try Mary’s Laksa, as it had been recommended to us by many people. The line-up to get it was quite short, so we went to the ATM to get cash out because most of the stalls take cash only and neither of us had any cash on us. The line-up for the ATM was long and there were 2 ATM machines. We waited in line for about 10minutes before finally getting to the front of the line. By the time we got back to Mary’s Laksa, the line-up was about 30 people long! Allan was adamant he wanted the laksa, so we got in line. We waited for about 30 minutes before we got to the front of the line. Allan’s phone rang when we were about to be served, it was Annika (Allan’s boss from work), but he didn’t take the call, but said he would call her back later. It was so hot and muggy and both Allan and I were sweating bullets from just standing stagnant in line for so long. Allan ordered the laksa and it was ready within minutes. I wanted an acai/smoothie bowl, so I went to the stall that sold those and there was no one waiting so I got served straight away and ordered a salted caramel smoothie bowl. I waited less than 10minutes and it was ready. We went and found a place to sit and managed to score a table with 2 chairs. We were just about to sit down and eat when Allan received a second phone call from Annika, which he missed, but called her back immediately, but left the table (and food!) to find a quiet spot to take the call. While Allan was taking the phone call, I took the obligatory photo for Instagram (not that I am any good at taking photos). Allan finally came back to join me and said that he had to go into work tonight and tomorrow afternoon, as Sandy (the other duty manager) had a fall last night out on the town after we had left them, was in hospital and had fractured her skull! He said that Annika didn’t know any more details than that, but he had said that he could cover Sandy’s shifts for the next 2 days, because we hadn’t planned anything even though he had originally had the days off. Allan told Annika that he couldn’t come to work until 6pm so we could still spend the day together. We ate our food pondering what had happened after we had left the city last night. Allan was sweating bullets, mainly because the laksa was hot (and it was hot and humid outside), but also because the laksa was spicy. My smoothie bowl was very large and filling, but also delicious and curbed my craving for sweet food and was great in the hot weather! We walked back to the car, then went for a drive to Casuarina Coastal Reserve and parked the car at Rapid Creek Picnic Area to have a look around. This area had a bridge that we could walk across the creek. We stopped in the middle of the bridge and saw lots of fish and Allan was very tempted to go fishing. We then drove past Dripstone Cliffs and stopped at Dripstone Park Picnic Area and searched for a geocache. Unfortunately, the geocache hadn’t been found for a while and was declared missing, so we aborted that idea and drove past the Darwin Surf Life Saving Club to the end car park. It was the end of the road, but there was the Mangrove Boardwalk walking trail and a track to go to the nudist beach. It was too hot to do the Mangrove Boardwalk, so we decided to drive to Lee Point Picnic Area. Lee Point Picnic Area was a beautiful grassy spot with lots of shade from trees and was right next to the beach. We had a look at the beach, then decided to walk the 500m to the WWII observation post. The walk was easy but didn’t have any shade and it was hot and muggy and we were sweating heaps. Wildfire had also gone through the vegetation recently and was still smoking. There was a warning sign telling us not to go any further because of the wildfire, but we ignored it because the WWII observation post was within sight, and we had walked all that way for nothing otherwise. We had a look at the observation post before walking back to the car and driving to Buffalo Creek picnic area and boat ramp. There were a few people out fishing as it was low tide and there was a sandbar to stand on so you could fish both fresh and salt water. We spent some time wandering the sandbar trying not to slip in the mangrove clay mud before driving back to the caravan park. Back at the caravan park we had a quick dip in the pool to cool off before Allan got ready for work. Allan left for work, and I chilled out at camp, went to the gym, then went swimming in the pool again. I ate tea and chilled out at camp for the night. Allan got home from work relatively early for a Saturday night, as I was still awake. I did go to sleep soon after he got home though.

Day 123

I woke early, handwashed Allan’s work uniform (I’m not paying $4 every time we wash Allan’s uniform!), then went to the gym. Allan was awake by the time I was back from the gym, so I made coffee and chilled out at camp. We went for a swim in the pool and Allan being Allan was 7 years old again and spent the time bombing into the pool and trying to make a big splash. We then went out for brunch to Sweet Brew & Co. The place looked tiny from the outside with cute décor, but inside it was massive and had lots of seating out the back. We found a seat and Allan ordered a long black (his go-to coffee). The menu had amazing food and everything that was coming out the kitchen looked delicious! Allan ordered smashed avo with 2 poached eggs and I ordered The Big Boi Board which had chorizo, speck (glorified bacon), chilli beans, 2 poached eggs on sour dough bread with hollandaise drizzled over the top and was also meant to have halloumi, but it didn’t come with it. I was quite disappointed about the missing halloumi, but I only realised it was missing once I had finished the meal and was re-reading the menu (lol). The food was to die for and very filling. We finished brunch and decided to do a self-guided tour of the Fannie Bay Gaol. It was quite interesting with the infirmary at the Fannie Bay Gaol holding the last ever hanging to occur in the NT. It was quite an eerie feeling, and the gaol cells were tiny even though they said they kept 1 or 3 people in each cell. They had separate cell blocks for men, women and children and even a secure section with individual cushioned cells for people that were going to harm themselves or others or who were mentally unstable. The unfortunate thing was that the gaol overlooked the ocean and it felt like a tease to the inmates. We went back to the caravan park and Allan got ready for work, then left. I went swimming, went to the gym, cooked tea (lamb chops with salad), ate tea and chilled out at camp. Allan was home early again, and I was still awake, but again I fell asleep soon after he was home.

Day 124

We woke up and had coffee before going for a swim in the pool. We were the only ones in the pool, so Allan once again got his inner child out and had fun doing bombs into the pool to try and make a big splash. We went for a drive because it was very hot and humid, and the car air conditioning was extremely refreshing. We went to the car park at Casuarina Coastal Reserve where the start of the mangrove boardwalk was, although it wasn’t a boardwalk to start with, it was an 800m dirt walking track exposed to the sun, with not a lot of shade that went straight past the nudist beach. Allan had to have a look at the nudist beach, but we did know that there was no one on it, as the carpark was empty aside from us and one other person who was also walking along the beach. The mangrove boardwalk itself was quite beautiful and cool, but only went for about 200m winding through the mangroves. Allan tried to spot some mud crabs, but only saw small ones. We watched hermit crabs walking around and tried to spot fish in the tidal river. We walked back to the car and decided to go to Woolworths. Allan had the day off work today and wanted to cook pork belly in the Baby Q, so we needed supplies. Allan bought a pie from the bakery first because he was starving and couldn’t think about what we needed. We bought everything we needed including cheese and bacon rolls which both Allan and I devoured on the way back to the caravan park. We chilled out back at camp and went swimming in the pool. Allan had to drop something off at work, so I went along for the drive. We found out from Lee (General Manager of the Sailing Club) that Sandy is home and is doing all right, but unsure when she will be back at work. We went back to the caravan park, stopping at reception to collect mail and I bought an ice cream. We had another swim in the pool, then we started cooking the pork belly. I made guacamole and had it with Doritos while the pork belly was cooking. We had decided to have pork belly burgers with coleslaw and Allan put me in charge of making the coleslaw, so I made it with cheese and pineapple. We also made a garlic, chilli mayo to put on the bun of the burgers, which was very garlicky!! We played Monopoly Deal (Allan is still winning 29-24) while the pork belly was cooking. We made the burgers and ate them. They were delicious, the pork belly was crunchy but not dry, the rub Allan used on the pork belly went well, the coleslaw was refreshing and crunchy and the garlic, chilli mayo was able to cut through the sweetness of the coleslaw. We went to bed soon after eating.

Day 125

Allan had today off and wanted to put some mud crab pots into Rapid Creek and Buffalo Creek using some chicken drumsticks as bait, which I thought was a waste of good chicken drumsticks. It was going to be high tide, so not the most ideal time to be putting the pots in, but it wasn’t the most ideal tidal pattern anyway. Allan has 3 pots so he wanted to do a competition between us to see who could catch the most mud crabs in Rapid Creek and the third pot we were going to put in at Buffalo Creek boat ramp. We had coffee before leaving. We parked our car at Charles Darwin University and walked down a walking/horse riding track to Rapid Creek with 2 of 3 crab pots. We baited the pots, and I chose a spot and threw one pot into the water, and Allan chose a different spot and threw the other pot into the water there. We walked back to the car and drove to Buffalo Creek boat ramp. While Allan was sorting out the crab pot, he gave me fishing rod with a lure and told me to go fishing. Within 5 casts, I had managed to get the lure snagged on a rock and it snapped the line before I even realised, I was snagged. I went back to Allan to tell him, but he didn’t care too much. We put the pot in the water and left to go back to camp. We had pork belly and coleslaw burgers for a late breakfast, then went for a swim in the pool. We chilled out at camp for a bit before heading back out to check the pots. We made a bit of a detour to the Darwin Chocolate Factory and bought a mixed box of truffles. I ate one before we had even left the shop and it was delicious. We stopped at camp to put the truffles in the fridge to keep them cool, then headed back out to exchange our fan at BCF, as it had stopped oscillating some time during the last week. We then went to Supercheap Auto to get some electrical tape in case we actually caught a legal-sized crab to tape their claws shut so they wouldn’t nip us. We went to check the Rapid Creek pots first. Mine was empty, so I put it back in the water. Allan pulled his in and there was a mud crab in it, but it was slightly too small, so Allan let it out of his net and let it find its own way back to the water. Once the crab was back in the water, Allan put his net back in as well. Running tally for crabs being Allan-1, Jess-0. We drove back to Buffalo Creek boat ramp and found the pot to be high and dry, so Allan moved it and put it back in the water. We drove around and went looking for geocache. We found one, which was quite an inventive spot, and the clues suited the spot. We tried another geocache but others who had looked for it recently hadn’t been able to find it, so we gave up on it. We drove to Darwin Waterfront and went to The Oyster Bar, because Allan felt like a nice cold glass of white wine and was craving oysters. We almost didn’t go, because Allan thought the oyster prices were too expensive, but I managed to convince him (it didn’t take much). I dislike oysters and find them gross and slimy, so I had a bowl of sweet potato chips and aioli. We relaxed watching people on the waterfront, ate and drank and soaked in the atmosphere. We left The Oyster Bar and stopped at an ice cream stall so I could get an ice cream. I got 3 flavours: choc-mint, caramel and cookie dough. They were delicious, but the scoops weren’t very big for the price of the ice cream, which was a bit disappointing. We went back to camp, chilled out, went to the pool and cooked fish for tea. We decided to leave the crab pots in overnight. Ate fish and salad for tea, chilled out, then went to bed.

Day 126

We woke up, had coffee, and chilled out for a bit before heading out to check the crab pots. We went to Rapid Creek first and both pulled up completely empty nets with no bait or anything! We decided to take the pots out, then headed to Buffalo Creek boat ramp. At Buffalo Creek, the pot was again high and dry, but also wasn’t where we had left it. The bait was still in it though, so Allan decided to put it back in the water. We went back to camp, had pork belly and coleslaw burgers for breakfast, then went for a swim in the pool. We chilled out at camp, did the dishes, then washed the car! The car hadn’t been washed since we had left Adelaide and it was long-overdue for a wash as it was filthy! Once it was clean, we could hardly recognise it, as it no longer had an orange tinge to it. We chilled out at camp, went for another swim in the pool, then ate some lunch. Allan had to go into work at 2pm for a spirit tasting, so he started getting ready for work, then left. I chilled at camp, typed up week 17 blog and caught up with handwriting the blog before going to the gym for a quick workout. I was super-hot after the gym, so I decided to go for another swim, which is when I bumped into Kristy who I went to university with and hadn’t seen in four years since we finished studying. We stopped and had a chat for about an hour, before heading to the pool and going for a swim. She was in Darwin for a week with her boyfriend and his family to celebrate his mum’s 60th birthday. I said goodbye before heading back to camp. I cooked spag bog for tea and chilled out at camp. I ate tea, watched Home and Away Catch Up before going to bed.

This week we got to go on a beautiful sunset cruise with Allan’s work crew, explored Darwin a little more, Allan got to try his luck at mud-crabbing, and we finally washed the Triton after 18 weeks on the road through a lot of red dirt. Stay tuned for next weeks adventures exploring Darwin for our last full week.

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