It was 40 degrees in Katherine. So hot Jacob’s thongs shrunk and he now walks around with his little toes hanging over the sides. So hot even the cold water burned. We stayed with some of Jacob’s family there, had a big bbq and celebrated like it was Christmas. After a couple of days relaxing in the air con and catching up on a few episodes of Bewitched we decided to push on.
We stopped at some amazing fresh water holes along the way before making it to the border of W.A. We’d forgotten about the quarantine and had gone shopping the day before leaving Katherine, so we were stocked. We had to guts down a feast of fruit and veg for lunch and chuck out some seeds I’d painted and a full jar of thick Wescobee honey.
The top part of Western Australia is dotted with a brilliant mix of chubby Boab trees. They look like giant upside-down sweet potatoes, the roots their arms, outstretched in different positions. Some holding each other slow dancing, others scare crows. Twisted and gnarled their gangly arms harrow above full potbellies. I’ve been excited about seeing the boab tree since we first took off, one of my many things I wanted to see on this trip. Happy to watch them rush past me, giving character to each one.
Just past the border we turned off towards Lake Argyle. I hadn’t really heard about it but was amazed at this magnificent mass of water surrounded by red cliffs that change colour with the setting sun. We stayed above the lake, looking down over it with an infinity pool that dropped off into the vast umbre. Hard to believe the beauty of the Kimberley, most of the drive through that country spent in silent awe.
Another sleepless night. It’s usually because it’s too hot or the bed’s too small, or because Bodhi practices kickboxing in his sleep. But last night an orchestra of insects played the maracas outside my window for most of the night. They conga-ed to their own tune and I lay awake trying to pick it. Something from Paul Simons later work maybe? Or Aphex Twin? It was hard to tell with out any other instrument to accompany them. Just the maracas shaking their solo sleepless symphony.
Plenty more driving. We did 500 kms yesterday which is a lot to ask of all of us, old Oscar included. We were all hot and bothered and ready to call it quits only 5 months into it. The drive had been a bit of a boring one, 50 shades of grain, a few clumps of cow dung and maybe a car or two to wave at to pass the time. Lucky we got music and soon we’ll be sinking sunset beers by the beach in the cool afternoon breeze.
Did I mention it’s hot? We wound up at Wyndham a small port town at the top of WA. A town full of rusted sheds and fences. Random donkeys eating the neighbours grass and one café open on a Sunday that had the first decent coffee we’d had in ages. Another day of long driving, sweaty, stuck to the seats, we made it as far as Derby, where the tides are high and the artwork is carved on boab nuts for the price of a bottle of sherry. We met a man at a rest stop that pulled in fast complained about every place he’d been to and was looking for the fastest route back to Port Macquarie. Must have been the heat it’ll melt the strongest resolve, but according to the locals still wearing jeans and long sleeves, this aint nothing yet.