30.9.2016 - 10.10.2016
30 Sep 2016 - 10 Oct 2016 from Alice Springs to Darwin by car.
The article is part of my around the world blog series. Other episodes can be found by clicking One-way ticket link above.
I walk around in a pleasent cool room browsing around the books but none of the titles doesn’t inspire me. It’s 16th day of the trip and we are spending the rest of the day in the city of Darwin located at the northern coast of Australia. Our flight to Newcastle (North of Sydney) would leave at the evening. After wandering around a good time I spot one book that catches my attention: Great explorations.
Alice Springs to Darwin - A beach of hell
Almost 1500km drive from Alice Springs to Darwin with my girlfirend was an eperience on its own. If the previous scence from Alice Springs to Ayers rock was nothing but desert neither did the north side of Alice Springs to Darwin offer anything new. Flies and sun tried to make us feel uncomfortable for the first 1000km. Camping at the evening of 8th day was especially memorable.
We found a well rated campsite at Lake Woods (Elliott in the map). The small lake was the only blue spot visible in the map on our route. This was a great chance to see some beautiful sceneries. A narrow dirt road aroused our suspicisons quickly. The vast majority of local people had a 4 wheel drive because of these floody dirt roads. The track was more than challenging to our car that had a ground clearance similar to formula cars.
By some sort of a miracle we managed to make it to the lake. And the sun hadn’t even set yet.
While camping schedules must be adjusted according to daylight hours to make enough sleep. On our route sun set and rose around 7 o’clock so we had that twelve-hour gap to get rest. As always the sky started to darken only half an hour before sun would go below the horizon. We waited for the relieving coolness to arrive. But today the air felt exceptionally humid and warm.
Without knowing we had arrived to a tropical zone. Even though it was dark the air on the skin was muggy. Additionally the only water system in tens of kilometers meant the most imaginary array of tiny insects that forced us to go inside the tent. As the wind had totally stopped the vents were useless - the tent had turned to Fininsh sauna. To make the situation even unbearable our cozy nest had turned into an insect trap as some of them were microscopic enough to fit through the mosquite net. Flashlights had to be turned off to avoid attracting even more bugs.
I lied sweaty in the darkness while listening the humongous mosquite swarm whining without knowing whether the voice is coming from outside or inside the tent. Even moving a finger made sweat on my skin to become streams pouring down to mattress. Drinking and visiting toilet were not options at his point despite of urgent needs. The paradise had turned to be a hell.
Life before us
Needless to say that at the morning we were still alive but sleepy though. The further north we drove the greener the nature changed. The number of cars, buildings and people increased slowly. Trees, rivers and waterfalls replaced sand and bushes on the hiking trails. The photo gallery is at the end of this blog post.
During the two week journey from Alice Springs to Darwin I didn’t have internet connection too often so during the stops at gas stations I used wifi to download interesting Wikipedia articles offline to read in car. Usually I read about the locations we visited in. I started to get more excited about history.
At first I learned why Alice Springs had been founded and what purpose did Uluru (Ayers Rock) have to indigenous Australians. This path lead me to history of Australia and all the way to explorations of Christopher Columbus and finally at the big bang of our universe.
At this point I had only one question in my head. What the heck are we all doing here?
Darwin the explorer
Now let’s get back to the library in the city of Darwin and travel day number 16. I’m reading stories of great expolrers one at the time. Columbus tried to make his way to India by sailing west from Europe 1492. Vasco da Gama actually found a sea way to India by going east in 1497. The crew of Ferdinand Magellan was sailed very first time in history around the world in 1519. Each of these three travels were a sensation of their time. Maybe we see similar accomplishments next time when a manned voyage to the Mars will be made.
Christopher Columbus made four voyages to Central America in total. During the third trip beginning in 1498 he arrived first time to the coast of South America. As a firmly religious man he was convinced that the place was the mythical garden of Eden. Well, in reality it was a site we now today as Venezuela.
But those were absolutely not the last maritime explorations.
A 22 years old Charles Darwin had just graduated as Bachelor of Arts when he decided to took part to the voyage of HMS Beagle. The purpose of the journey would be to map the coasts of South America. HMS Beagle left from England in December 1831 and sailed the seas for 5 years during which time the crew went around the whole world. The convoy also stopped at Sydney, Australia but spent there only a month. The voyage had a pivotal impact in the Darwin’s evolution theory that he later developed. According to the theory living organisms evolve and adjust to their environment during the generations by so called natural selection.
A few years later the HMS Beagle made another expedition and the contemporary captain decided to name a harbour in north coast of Australia for honor of mr. Darwin. Nevertheless the fact that Darwin himself didn’t participate or hadn’t been anywhere close to the northern coast.
The science bubble
By the progress of science and internet we are living in a bubble where all the information of the world seems to be in our finger tips. Maybe this is the case in existing information but there are large black holes in the knowledge of the human kind. These are gaps that we are not even aware of.
According to speculations the first living organism has either become to earth from other other parts of universe or it might have evolved by accident. Not very probable though as there was only water, rock and gas on those days. Without proofs these theories are as solid as the myth of the garden of Eden. Since the first living specie the Darwin’s evolution theory works but before that there might be something we don’t know yet.
During my trip a was amazed about how narrow-minded I have been in many science related topics. And I’m the guy who is studying in a nerd university where applications of natural sciences are in the central role. During my journey through the Australia I faced every day unseen animals, plants and natural phenomena that made me question my understanding about the life.
I was startled by a librarian when she kindly tells me that the building will be closed in 15 minutes. I return the book back to shelf and start to prepare for airport transportation. There’s still lots of things to see during this trip.