Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day Nine
It was up early for the Cooks as we made sure we got down to the edge of the gorge for two canoes (and yes we beat all the Grey Nomads…. chalk up one for a wise family and an 8 year old that can cover 100 metres faster than any retiree). A quick walk from our camp site to the edge of the gorge had revealed something of the oasis that exists in the harsh, dry outback landscape. Little did we realise just how impressive the gorge really is. As we paddled further into the middle gorge it was like being in a TV commercial….. you know the ones “you'll never never know if you never ever go”. This is one of the few natural creations I have seen that is truly breathtaking, to the point that even the three children were continually giving more positive comments than we even get from Mario vs Sonic at the Olympics on the Ninetendo …that’s tough competition. All in all we spent nearly 4 hours paddling and even had to drag the canoes 150 metres overland so we could go up a waterfall to the upper gorge. This really is a must do experience. All the planning, effort and money was almost worth it for this one experience. Thanks to Annie and Steve for steering us in this direction as it was truly a great moment to share as a family. When we got back to the camp. It was then that Harry met our neighbours (the serious campers). His name was Steve, he was from South Australia (Port Lincoln) and it was clear that this guy had played more than a few games of AFL (Jon he reminded us of you…..perhaps in your younger days). Harry was kicking around his football and Steve started to have a kick with him. So we all joined in with Wes trying to look like he had always layed AFL…. Tough ask. We got talking, meet his wife Carley and the their two girls teamed up with our girls and all was great. As we were both planning to BBQ that night, Steve suggested we cook it on his serious outback BBQ so we arranged to clean the kids and meet at their camper. As we arrived with beer, wine and some dip and biscuits, Carley was putting the finishing touches to some salmon and caviar snacks ( Now thats camping!). Steve even taught Harry how to find true south using the stars, I of course nodded as if I had always known. We proceeded to have a great night as the kids played in the adjoining dusty common. We learnt all about this couple who ran an oyster farm and the fascinating world of the oyster market. Steve had worked many jobs but interestingly spent a few years as a tuna fisherman. He said that during his many hours on the deck alone he had the time to contemplate the meaning of life and of course we wanted to know(especially so we could ass it to you Boppo). I’m not sure if it was the red wine or the profoundness of the comments but I think they are worth sharing. He believed the meaning of life was “to leave something for others”. Maybe this is something that is obvious to others but for me in the middle of the Australian Outback and under a crystal clear sky with the stars reflecting the collective knowledge of the universe, I new I would never forget this. It was a privilege to meet and briefly get to know this lovely family.

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