Wednesday, 14 August 2013


 The QLD boys were a great older bunch with a typical blokey, Aussie sense of humour, though unfortunately they went with the wrong frame of mind and had brought esky’s to take their legal quota of 20 kilos of fillets each, home to Australia.   Each to their own, but you surely don’t need to be flying back to your own country which has great fishing, with esky’s full of fish that could have fed the village, especially as they seem to be getting harder to come by. 

 Not everyone fishes like we do, I understand that, but I think they missed the actual point of being there, and to me it went way beyond catching fish.  Look around you man, this has to be one of the few remaining places of unspoilt beauty we have left, soak it up and enjoy the experience that many will never have.  You know the saying ‘take only photographs, leave only footprint’s, it couldn’t be truer anywhere more so than here. 

These islanders need education in sustainability, not tourists over there depleting their food source further.  Yes there are plenty of fish still, but not accessible by dugout canoe!  This isn’t a personal dig at the QLD boys, they were awesome fun and good guys, just that perhaps we all need a lesson in good fishing ethics.

The next day we took a different approach and took the boat up the Medicine River to check it out and chase Mangrove Jack’s, one of the hardest fighting fish pound for pound you will ever encounter, dirty little fighters too, just about my favourite fish to target.  We had heard stories of some big ones lurking up these river systems but in what was becoming an all too familiar story, there was very little result, due to the ‘rape and pillage’ mentality as we would call it back home.  Here it is just living.  

 One of the crew caught a decent one but it was hardly sporting, he was using what looked like a 200 pound handline and just dragged this fish out of it's log with no thought for the sport of catching such a great fish.  We landed a couple of small ones, but once again, it failed to live up to our expectations. 

We had visions of our lures being engulfed greedily and often in such locations but it wasn’t to be.  It was still a great day out though and nice to check out some more of the tranquil scenery that abounds in this place.   A few poppers were cast on the way home and some small Queenies and GT’s were landed.  

We also ended up buying some souvenirs one day,  what we thought was a woodcarving demonstration was actually a bunch of guys that had seriously paddled their tiny canoes up to 3 hours to get here and try and make a dollar.  Bit hard to resist that, even though I’m not usually prone to souvenir shopping.   Their work was extraordinary though and I really would have liked to buy a couple of things but I just didn’t have room to be carting it around for the next 2 weeks. 

But I couldn’t resist a stone carving from a rock out of the Medicine River, which is supposed to have magical healing powers, and it now resides at my parent’s place along with a beautiful shell I got also.   It was such a special place it would be silly not bring home a reminder.  We also gave the guys some clothes and fishing lures which they could sell later, one of the merchants was so happy he gave me a gift of a small wooden carving on a necklace. 

 It was actually the third gift I had received over my time there, Raymond had also given me a necklace with a crocodile tooth on it, his prized possession that he wore every day.  I felt ‘how could I possibly accept it, when I have so much already’   but had learnt enough about the culture to know it would be bad form and insulting to refuse.

  I wore it proudly for the rest of the trip and still have it.   One of the girls also gave me a hand woven bag, I think simply because I had taken the time to get know her and ask about her life and ambitions.  She would go to the capital to study nursing next year after making enough money at the lodge.  Touching that these people with so little are still so generous.

Medicine River