Mar 2, 2012

we got to go to Bawaka - a homeland about 2 hours drive away - the land of the Bayini Women and Nike the Crocodile. Will turned 50 so he got permission to bring us down to help celebrate. We had been told it is paradise at Bawaka and that was no exaggeration... it is a beautiful place with a gentle bay and a resident crocodile - Nike who sadly/luckily didn't make an appearance for us - and dolphins swimming by ... the kids played all day on the shore and in the rocks ...

The traditional landowners at Bawaka (Dhalulu's family) run a cultural tourism program where people pay thousands of dollars for a chance to experience yolngu culture and the homeland life. The set up for the tourists is great - a whole lot of recycled wood and metal reconstructed into high tables and seats or swings from tree branches.. a fire pit, coconut trees - really user friendly - bit like a beachside hotel - but yolngu style, very cool

the kids collected oysters

watch out for the crocs

Will went spear fishing in the mangroves with some deadly hunters and came back with 5 stingrays - their livers get cut out and mashed raw back into the cooked flesh - so delicious, like foie gras ... sounds gross but really, it is super good

we drank french champagne in the evening .. which led to dancing

billly, siena and iggy make eggs for breakfast

we walked around to the point on the sunday and swam off the rocks - the water is so warm, so clear... too much to resist really ... we didn't

In the afternoon the ladies took me and sally collecting pandanus for basket weaving. This involves wading through the bush looking for a clump of pandanus. A special hook is then used to pull the middle of the clump down and only the centre flax is pulled out. The pandanus is covered in sharp tiny prickles that run down the edges so it is a little...scratchy. Once you collect enough (alot) you get the roots to dye yellow and red - both from different trees from different places around in the bush - this is done whilst keeping a look out for buffulo at all times

Dhalulu and her sister LakLak took me down to the beach near Yalangbara and showed me how to look for turtle eggs - a delicacy among yolngu, and a privilege for me to be involved in the hunt - although to my slight dismay we actually found a nest and dug out about 50 eggs. I tried not to feel too sad ... luckily it is still sustainable and out of the 6 nests on the beach only one was ransacked... 
The eggs get boiled in saltwater and look exactly like ping pong balls - a tiny hole is made and the egg sucked out.  I was very brave and tried one. I can't really even eat regular eggs - especially hard boiled ones so this a big step for me. I took my time and had a cup of tea as I went .. not too bad ... texturally a little disturbing but Kade loved them and sucked down a few ...

kids asleep in the troopy on the way home

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