Finally Leaving Darwin For The Tiwi Islands

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Sunday, May 14, 2006

We were finally leaving Darwin for Melville Island today so I needed to check out by 10am. Surprisingly after a few drinks last night I couldn't sleep so decided to get up at 7. Had a busy morning planned anyway.

At 9am I took a walk to the post office to post some stuff home. We are only allowed to take 10kg to the island, and I have far more than that, so posting home 3kg should help. Cost $40 thought and will probably take 6 months!

Checked out at 10am and stashed another couple of kilos in the luggage room before going shopping. I need boots that cover my ankles for the picking, my shoes don't meet this, so I had to buy some. Cheapest pair was a pair of steel toe caps at $55 which will probably cripple me within a couple of days! Stashed them with my luggage, which still weighed more than 10kg, before heading to the net. Last time I'll get to use it for a while so I got fully up-to-date before heading back to the Cav for a beer whilst waiting for the taxi to the airport.

The island is a fair way from the mainland, although it can be seen from the beach, and so a flight was necessary. No commercial airlines fly there so we had a private light aircraft for the short distance. Should be fun!

Got in the taxi and it was a pretty funny journey. The driver was talking to us about the Aboriginees. Melville is a fully Aboriginal community, which means it is a dry island. No alcohol. So they all fly over to Darwin, get drunk, sleep in the bush (address "Long grass"), save enough money and fly back. Aborigines lack any tolerance to alcohol so are quite a sorry state in town.

Got to the airport and had no idea where to go. We hadn't be told who we were flying with and there were about 30 charter companies. Better get walking around! Good job we were early. Had to walk around the massive site and enquire at every office before finally locating the correct plane, at the last office!

Waited around for an hour before finally getting on the plane. My bag weighed 14kg's, mainly books, but it was ok. The plane was a tiny 4 seater Cesna and I was in the cockpit! Couldn't see a thing over all the controls so I wouldn't have wanted to fly the thing. Our pilot also looked a nervous wreck!

The journey was incredible! 30 minutes flying the short journey, mainly over the sea. Settled at 4,500 feet and cruised until we got to Melville. The island is very flat but covered in trees everywhere, that I will be pruning for the next few weeks. Coming in to land we were basically on our side as we flew over the tree tops and bounced down on the dirt track runway. Should be a smoother landing in Darwin in 12 days time.

Once at Maxwell Creek we had the guided tour before being allocated rooms, bunks not singles as promised, but good nonetheless. Sat around with a couple of beers (bar open 6-9pm) before another perk, free food. It was great and I couldn't get enough after tuna sandwiches and pasta for a month! I think I could get used to this. Had to get up early tomorrow so turned in early to get a good sleep before the first day of work.

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Whilst I was updating my diary yesterday I spotted someone else in the room using Travelpod as well! First time I've seen anyone else using the site and it's good to see how popular this site is getting. Also thanks to all the people who have been visiting recently! Hopefully I'll top 3,000 posts this month!
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