Friday, July 16, 2010

Fantastic FNQ photo Friday

Aurukun Wetlands Photos - Images by Paul Dymond

Well this week's fantastic FNQ photos come from a really remote part of Australia. Up on the western side of Cape York, the Aurukun Wetlands are about as far from civilization as you can get. An amazingly pristine area of wilderness that boasts such giant, majestic rivers as the Archer and the Jardine. It's also home to the Wik people, the aboriginal custodians of this beautiful part of the country.

I had a chance to spend a few days with some of the elders who gave us a glimpse into their traditional way of living. From fishing for barrimundi to weaving baskets. From getting honey to cooking our freshly caught fish in traditional pit ovens in the sand.

But for me one of the highlights was the chance to go stingray fishing in crocodile-infested waters! Considering the night before I'd been out spotlighting for crocodiles and had seen more glowing eyes than I would care to remember I don't know what convinced me to get in but there you go. I felt pretty safe with my guide Jasper and figured if he thought it was safe then I'd believe him.

The skill and grace with which he glided through the water before launching his multi-pronged spear into the water again and again until he speared his catch. A large spotted stingray that he quickly dispatched, cut up and put in the fire to cook for lunch.

Afterwards one of the younger women said to me, "Do you know how to tell if there's crocodiles in the river?". Figuring I was about to be let into some local aboriginal secret I was all ears. "If the water is cold there aren't any crocodiles, when it's warm there's a crocodile nearby". I assumed that that meant that crocodiles don't like cold water. She broke into a big grin as she explained. "If the water is warm it means that the crocodile has peed in it!" If I am ever close enough to a crocodile in water that I can feel it pissing on my leg I'm in big trouble!

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