8 June 2014

Camping at Jagged Heads on Groote Eylandt

Last week Adrian and I ventured out to a spot called Jagged Head. We camped under the stars, literally, as we slept on foam mattresses wedged into the luggage rack atop our Troopy. I woke up several times throughout the night in fear that I’d roll off and break my neck; either that, or survive the fall and be dragged to the shallows of the water by a hungry croc lurking on the sand below. The upside to my disturbed sleep was that every time I opened my eyes, the glowing Milky Way had shifted in the night sky. It was a spectacular sight; one I’d never really stopped to admire before (perhaps due to the lights of the city outshining the stars-both literally and metaphorically).
The time we spent out at Jagged Head would undoubtable fall into my top three favourite life experiences. Most of my favourite travelling experiences have involved an element of unfamiliarity or surprise e.g. wandering through the elaborate Disneyland-style castle where the queen of Portugal once resided and spending hours getting lost in the enchanted Sintra forest. But my time at Jagged Head was probably so enjoyable for the opposite reason; as I felt so comfortable and at peace listening to the lapping of the water whilst squishing sand between my toes and eating breakfast.
I’m going to keep this post brief as I think Adrian might be writing his own, more detailed version for me to share in the near future. Here are some photos taken during our over-night stay. I hope you’re enjoying our photos as much as we’ve enjoyed taking them to share with you. Whilst our lives have become simple in many ways, we also feel extremely lucky to be on an island with so many exciting, natural places to explore right at our doorstep. We’d be thrilled to show any visitors these spots we now call home. If the city is dulling your stars, consider venturing a mere 60km from the mainland to join us for a cup of billy tea and an experience that may just make it into your top three.
When you leave town (Alyangula), you must check the visitor restrictions board. The green areas on the map are the only areas outside the main three towns (Alyangula, Angururu and Umbakumba) that non-Indigenous people can visit without written permission from the traditional land owner. When a red ring is placed around a recreation area, it means the land is closed due to the death of an Indigenous person. Non-Indigenous people must avoid these areas out of respect whilst mourning ceremonies are taking place. These can last for several weeks.
At Jagged Head the beaches face north-east, causing the prevailing wind to carry rubbish to the shore from Indonesia. The sand is littered with plastic containers, rubber shoes and glass bottles. Scavenging through the rubbish has become one of Casey's favourite weekend activities, bringing home piles of 'useless' items she 'swears' she'll use for something.
There are many pristine spots along the coast, which is where we chose to set up camp. We decided to take our annual 'family photo' when we arrived, but Wilson was having too much fun bounding through the water; making it impossible for Adrian to keep him in the photo frame long enough for the self-timer to go off.

Casey, Adrian and Willy go exploring through the rocky outcrop, always bearing in mind they're in croc territory.

Playing scrabble by the camp fire. Adrian is always so determined to bet Casey and takes the game very seriously.

Watching the sky as the stars vanish and the sun creates a stunning landscape of colour for us to admire as we eat breakfast.  

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