Tom & Matt’s Four-State Road Trip
Day 10 — Friday, 5th August, 2011 — in Darwin, NT

 

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Lunch at the Darwin Wharf

The holiday mode for Matt and I contonues with (today, at any rate) a late breakfast and a leisurely amble through the morning. We stirred ourselves, however, to drive into the city in time to pick Sean up from his work and then drive with him to the Darwin Wharf where we were met by Kris during her lunch break. The four of us enjoyed lunch on the wharf (very much geared to tourism, as is a great deal of Darwin) and then, when Kris and Sean had to dash back to their slave duties, Matt and I meandered around to the other side of the wharf to look at the New Endeavour, the replica of Captain James Cook’s bark, Endeavour, on which he discovered the east coast of Australia in 1770.

So the first half of today’s page is devoted to that lunchtime event.

 

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This was the glorious setting for our lunch. Kris and I claimed a table while Matt and Sean parked the car. That is Kris with the white shirt seated at the extreme right of the photo. The building behind her has a number of food shops offering a wide choice of dishes from seafood (of course) to Thai, to other Asian, to hamburgers, to sandwiches to icecream to alcohol.

The wharf is at the southernmost tip of the peninsula on which the city centre of Darwin is built. In the photo above, the outlet from Darwin Harbour to the open sea is slightly to the right behind the building. Darwin has a huge harbour and, as we sat and ate our lunch, we were gazing in a generally southern direction.

 

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Eventually Sean and Matt arrived with Matt (almost inevitably) using his iPhone to video the scene.

 

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It may look like open sea, but in fact, if you look carefully, there are dockyard cranes on the horizon on the other side of the harbour (I said it was huge).

But what a view to enjoy while you munch your lunch!

 

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Sean, convinced that it would be easy for me to make yet another panorama, grabbed my camera and took a series of shots that produced this magnificent sweep. The day was a bit hot (around 32°C) for people to be sitting out in the sun to eat, hence the empty tables and stacked chairs, but Kris and Sean tell us that in the evenings, this space is absolutely packed with people enjoying dinner as the sun sets over to the right. I can well believe it. Idyllic.

Rather than spread this page out with heaps of photos of the New Endeavour, I have bunched five of them together.

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They were asking $35 per adult to go onboard and have a look around so we did all our looking from the safety of the wharf. But, as you can see, dozens of tourists found the opportunity irresistable. What strikes the twenty-first century viewer, of course, is how small this vessel is. Yet the original on which it is modelled sailed around the world with a full crew, including a bunch of scientific observers because the stated main purpose of Cook’s expedition was to observe a solar eclipse in the South Pacific. Investigating the east coast of the fabled Great South Land was a secondary purpose (usually portrayed as an afterthought, though I suspect Cook and his backers had it in mind all the time).

 

 

Sunset Dinner at the Water Ski Club

In the evening Kris and Sean took us to the Darwin Water Ski Club (usually just referred to as the Ski Club, which sounds weird for a tropical locale) to have our dinner looking out across Fannie Bay and watching the sun set. We easterners don’t often see the sun set into the ocean.

 

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Again, because it is not really possible to rave on in words at great length about a sunset, I have bunched four photos together. They are not in any particulart sequence and the darkness is no indication because the automatic setting on the camera makes up its own sweet mind.

The meal, as usual, was very pleasant. The menu included a humungous hamburger which Sean has been contemplating for some time but figured not even he could eat in one go. This time he persuaded Kris to go halves with him in a hamburger. They split it down the middle and still found it very filling. As well as the usual beef patty, it included a chicken breast, ham and bacon, plus pineapple, beetroot, egg (hold the cheese) and other salad thingies, the whole thing on a bed of potato chips. Oh and a huge hamburger bun around the outside.

Matt and I each had more normal size meals, a prawn risotto and a chicken parmigiana respectively! And so ended yet another delightful day.

 

 

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