Tuesday April 14 Amphitheatre

After cleaning up the daily carnage of bugs we headed a further 9 NM upstream to the Amphitheatre. Lea's bites were driving her nuts and we had no Antihistamines so we sent an SOS to Troy, hopefully still Darwin, via Satphone and HF email to buy some for us. In the meanitime Lea is dosed up on Stugeron (mild antihistamine and seasickness medication) and a cocktail of lotions and potions on the offending “itchy spots”. She is also trying mental exercises to “compartmentalise” what she refers to as the “God Damm Itchiness”

Motoring up the river was stunning with high red cliffs narrowing in and rising high to the gorge.

The Amphitheartre is magnificent with a 60 metre waterfall cascading down to a flat ledge offering easy access.

It didn't take us long to get over to the very inviting falls and we found the ledge area cool and shaded. We returned to the boat to grab chairs, lunch, books and beer for an afternoon of relaxation on the ledge punctuated by many cooling showers.

We had a few visitors during the afternoon. Berkley Lodge tour boats and a group here to research animal life found here especially rare geckos.

Before dusk we went for a fish and hooked up a nice size Queenie but I was impatient and set the drag too high and pulled out my knot, losing the fish and my lure.

Not so many bugs up river so enjoyed an after dinner wine on the tramps stargazing.

Wednesday April 15 Berkley River Rock Bar

It's daylight at 0530 so we are getting into the habit of rising early in the cool of the morning for exploring. Lea was hoping to get a shot of the morning sun on the Amphitheatre waterfall but found that it remained in shade.

We headed off to the very top of the navigable river where a rock bar blocks further passage. Explored up river a bit towards Mt Casaurina but it was soon getting too hot so we found a nice pool for a cool down.

On the way back we poked the nose of the dinghy into a little cleft in the rocks and tied up at the base of another lovely little waterfall. At the top of the falls is a picturesque little creek with waterholes, Lillies and Pandanas.

After a refreshing shower we headed back to Gemini Lady and coffee before retiring for the rest of the day under the shade of the Amphitheatre. It was 37 degrees on board. The poor freezer is running about a 100% duty cycle to maintain temp.

Met up with a couple of fishermen from Darwin. They were part of a group of 4 boats that had come out of Wyndham. Nice guys and we were joined by the rest of their party later. We were given a bag of fresh Golden Snapper fillets for dinner. Delicious!

Thursday April 16

Up early to climb to the top of the Amphitheatre. Located the first cairn on the western side and clambered up to the top of the gully. Here we lost the path and had a difficult time pushing though the head high grass on a compass bearing toward the creek. Fortunately we had both worn long pants and socks. Finally we broke through onto the escarpment above the creek and followed it down to edge where it plunges off.

A couple of large billabongs with Pandanas lining the sides looked inviting but there had been croc sitings so we found a small pool near the edge to cool off.

We didn't feel like exploring further upstream after our bush bash in. We found the path again and this time followed it around the edge of the Amphitheatre, then all the way around to our gully. We found where we had gone wrong so added a couple of new cairns to make it easier for the next walkers.

Back down at the dinghy we found it high and dry on the mud.

No problem, we had plenty of water, snacks and shade so we could just wait for the tide to rise. As it turned out the mud was quite sandy and firm so we dragged the dinghy the 15 metres to the water watching very carefully for crocs. A stop at the falls was required for another cooling shower.

We set up camp ashore again after lunch and Lea proceeded to do an exercise class.

Great Escape Tour tenders arrived and they we're very friendly and up for a brief chat. Another fishing venture resulted in 2 skippys that I (wrongly) thought were too small so I released them.