Im writing this from the heartland - Central Desert - Alice Springs .. its baking hot .. no waterhole for miles .. regardless my children are in jumpers pretending its winter! (everyone has a right to a coping strategy I guess).. regardless of the heat it feels good to land for a few days.. and catch up from the truck lag and the impromptu cleaning that happens post corrugation carnage… :-) We are now a band of eight and its all smiles as Sari, Freeda and Greg reunite.
I’m armed with a cuppa as I attempt this latest adventure’s entry as it feels a little overwhelming .. its been such a whirlwind of miles, dreams and characters..
So perhaps grab your own cuppa and we’ll give it a crack.. ;-)
So after our house concert in Katherine an opportunity presents for Sari and Freeda to stay at Speargrass farm (Free range goats and children) and skip the gruelling Arnhem leg of our trip. The option totally flows so we go with it and as I drop them off to Luke in Katherine I have to trust that they are in good hands.
It was a good call.. and despite Sari’s strong pull to Speargrass it probably wouldn't have happened without some of that sickness suffering beforehand. It strengthens my faith after rocky ground of.. illness etc now that I can see its purpose..hindsight eh.. The theme of trust is strong..
This peace pirate voyage feels like our own family business, its such a big decision for us so its good to go on our own so we can really tune into it all ..
So here goes .. It was a late start out of Katherine .. we feel so blessed by such good people wherever we go.. ah John and Jayne .. and their daughter Sal who kind of reminds me of one of the Mcleod’s daughters not that Ive really seen it.. such golden NT folk and advocates for artists.. love em..
About 5 mins down the road out we conk out ….we need to bypass a veg oil pump ( it has been 9 years since it was replaced ) so the old nine year cycle theme continues ..
After this initial glitch we finally hit the road and once we’re on the Central Arnhem Road
.. we’re feeling really positive .. and excited .. to be doing what we’ve been talking about for months .. and glinting about for a couple of years .. The road aways seems to help us find our mojo and our clarity..
Spirits are high but the road is rough .. we reach new heights in the carnage department eggs cracked, fridge door buggered, big cushion to hold it in place ..
We make camp near the airstrip at Bulman .. the mob do a couple of drive arounds to check us out..
As we set out next morning .. excitement is in the air .. we feel proud of our little champion travellers.. and we love our truck .. A sense that things are as they're meant to be.. these feelings are gold and we hold them tenderly cos its not always like that.
It is certainly clear that since Dave and I chose to simplify, join forces and concentrate on house concerts
(together ) and home schooling ( together ) life has really worked!! We’re really loving playing music together and getting to write, record an album and perform it together this year is .. a dream come true.. We hold this feeling tenderly too as its not always been this way and its been a real journey to get here.
As we come to a community called Donydji - a lady with her mob flag us down .. they’ve made a camp under the tree. Run out of diesel .. looks like they’ve been there for a while.....They see our kids and go ‘on yon’ ( meaning oh cute!!) we help them out .. they get a jerry and a hose and syphen some diesel 20 L or so and give them more water.. After they’re all sorted we chat andthey talk about their homeland.. water, crabs etc beautiful place.. As I shake her hand to say goodbye she says What's your name? .. I say Bec .. then I say .. (feeling on the shy side).. 9 years ago I was at Maparu community ( the next homeland along from there) .. I have skin name Wamatjan .. this perks them up .. and she's working it out ..how to place me.. and then they erupt into saying Yuppa yuppa.(sister)… apparently I have two sisters! There are HUGE grins ! all round.. beautiful big smiles .. I remember the word well .. from years before when I had experienced serious culture shock .... the whole exchange feels really beautiful ..
I’d like to visit Maparu again but its not the time now.. I’ll go back though I know.. it feels really important .. uncorrupted mobs, yolgnu speaking beauties .. so rare and beautiful what they're sharing…ill go back with seeds for Ada..everywhere we go we’re like hmmm we’d like to spend more time with this mob..
The fresh feathery green cycads are drinks for my soul and remind me of my time at Maparu.. making cycad bread .. gave over to the experience.. creek time.. trolley .. boat .. such love such pure fun!!
We weave our hearts in your land we leave our hearts in your land..
We split another water tank.. silicon needed!! miles and miles
We finally make camp at a gravel pit camp 60km out of Nhulunbuy. Getting so close now.
We experience Waterhole heaven get covered in yellow ochre.. magical swim.. We love Nhulunbuy
Then we meet the boat.. she's a beauty.. very basic .. but we love her.. she feels right for us.
Its such a soulful exchange .. when it comes to sea life poetry is very much alive.. people always name their boats and when they sell they are entrusting the new owners with something very close to their hearts..dreams, memories and everything.
Trust it seems in this era can be hard to find soo its even more beautiful when its there and from the outset. These lovely folks Glenn, Kel and Indy opened their homes, shared meals and wines and invited our family to move on to the boat for the duration of our time there.. we even look after each others children over the weekend.. there we are .. You got to love it when the person you're buying a boat from has collected a whole lot of veggie oil for you and has a huge peace sign, the word Freedom painted across it and a house full of photos of the boat and signs plastered absolutely everywhere about following your dreams all wrapped up in a mountain of tibetan prayer flags :-)
Saturday.. theres a few glitches as we set sail .. cold feet and a little tension as we uncover a few crossed wires etc .. we’ve only got one more day to sort the business out and it feels big all of a sudden .. a huge leap of faith into the unknown for our family .. a big financial commitment..a big decision..
Once we’ve slept on it though we wake up and things are feeling clear and good. Its not often that you can be entrusted to pay a boat off in instalments with vendor financing so we’re feeling settled and comfortable that its a good boat and a fair deal. So we beach her and start tapping the hulls, we know in our hearts that we’ll go ahead.. so while the fellas are tapping I prepare the paperwork.. and I go and see Katie from the Gove boat club .. its Sun and I offer that we’ll play an impromptu gig and rustle up a bit of a crew. I figure we’ll have something to celebrate and music will be the perfect way to bring everyone together and give thanks to all the legends and all their kindnesses…
So after we’ve done the handshake and sign over a ceremonial whiskey we do just that..
There’s a great feeling in the air.. flow.. gifts exchanged.. we give our live music, albums and a healthy deposit as well as our word, Kel presents us with a bottle of sailors rum she's so generous and passes on some other treasures as well ..
We’re well looked after by Katie at the club.. beers, dinners, oysters, box of beer and bottle or good red for the road .. tick ;-) and it feels nice to have stubby holders to mark the memory of the day we became peace pirates ;-) :-) They’re yours she said they’re yours..emphatically..
Playing some heartfelt songs about our dreams and longings for the sea becomes quite emotional.. Glenn has a lot of attachment with the boat.. letting go but to the right home.. It was poetic I could feel it .. and was choking up too..Gove boat club felt like heaven .. Kids having a ball with new friends in a fig tree playground, huge room toys and couches.. its so balmy yet a beautiful sea breeze..
We welcomed into a new family of soul sailors, glinting eyed salties and Wharram owners who all take joy in the exchange. New friends Marcus and Yas and Taya and after the gig all our music gear is moved in one swoop as the kind Gove people personify many hands make light work ;-)
That night as we head back in the dark to the boat in the tinny its pretty special she’s more ours now. Now just to blow us away entirely after a morning with Indy her and her Dad present us with an Arhnem Land didgeridoo .. as a memory from that special place.. it is overwhelming how poetic it is when you sing up dreams and they come true.. aside from the fact that I have everything to learn about sailing …but thats all part of the adventure..
We’ve got nine months to dream up and prepare the way that we’ll sail her back through the Kimberly .. already singing up work at Kooljaman, Berklee and so on :-)
So we peel out of there on such a high .. not til afternoon we get going and make a camp.. the next day .. big day .. we drive all the way past Beswick where we park up. I toss and turn waking up not knowing if we’re in Molonga or the truck .. in my dream the boat and the truck have fused ..we are on a land yacht .. then I dream we put the spinnaker out and we’re up, up and away..flying! picking up big speed come right up to an 8 storey cafe .. so vivid.. then I'm telling folks (and it feels SO real ) Im saying check us out ..we I feel like something bought to life out of a Dr Seuss book or something .. :-) :-) I take it as a good sign.
Then we find our way back up to Sari and Freeda and make some beautiful new friends at Speargrass north of Pine Creek. Its inspiring to meet these free range people and their goats. A lot to be awed by there especially Laura’s home made goats cheeses! OMG
We play a gig there for a few families and get spoilt with good tucker and company. From Speargrass we make it south to Mataranka where we snorkel in Bitter Springs with the turtles. Then its a few days of veggie oil miles a quirky camp at Banka Banka stn a bush camp or so.. meet up with old mate Edi and Ellie in Elliot and hear how they singing and dancing up country... Then finally we’re in the heartland. We’ve made it to our heartland destination. Sari’s good mate Esther and her partner Ochres little piece of paradise .. its fricken hot but we’re reunited with Greg and we can catch up on ourselves for a few days. Restock play a gig etc before the next adventures begin as a band of 8..:-) in one big blue truck (bloody mad!) ;-) Stay tuned for the stories that spring from the Uluru and Docker River leg as we weave our way home. Cuppa well and truly finished a much colder drink required now.. cheers folks! ( I seem to remember these entries were meant to be getting shorter but .. maybe when the miles steady on a bit they will ..)