Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Black Foot Mob

I've just returned from five days exploring and relaxing up in the North East, mainly around Binalong Bay and the Gardens, but also further north including the 'under construction' Scottsdale Rail Trail and also a potential route I've been eyeing off on the coastline up around the Waterhouse area.


I might write about those later, but my most amazing discovery whilst I was up there was a funny mob of locals - I named them the black foot mob.
  

The ritual greeting of the black foot mob.
On the night I arrived they showed me how well they could hide: Whilst I drove around and around trying to find them, they were sitting within 50 metres of where I was searching toasting marshmallows around a campfire, but even with my smart phone and GPS I was unable to locate them.
I ended up camping in a spot by myself, not more than 150 metres from where the entire mob, including their dog, were camped. Of course the next morning they just walked out of the bush and greeted me on the beach ... with the blackfoot mob they greet you when they're ready.
Vaguely similar in size (and noise level) to the Monsters of Cockle Creek when I finally met them, these creatures greeted me with big smiles and their blackfeet extended. 



They let me stay with them for a few days, though the mob size ebbed and flowed, and my suspicions over their relationship with the Monsters from Cockle Creek grew because I could swear that some of the new arrivals looked very similar to the monsters down south ...


Don't you think?

Anyway, whilst I was there they embraced me into the mob, and taught me all sorts of cool bush survival skills.

On the first day, the leader of the tribe took me out on a walkabout up near the Gardens to show off his two-wheeled metal push thing:

The leader showing me how to push his wheely thing up a hill.

... and showing how it can be used to cross a creek.
Whilst it was really cool learning how the mob did things, I thought I'd teach them some of our modern ways and after a bit of coaching he learnt that the two-wheeled metal push thing could actually be used to get to places sooner.  He was very pleased:

The leader learning another way to use the two wheeled thing ...
... and loving it.

In fact over the next few days we even got his young-one - Hanna BlackFoot - onto her two wheeled thing for the first time.
That evening he took me for another mob initiation ... something I think they picked up from the pacific islanders, and something I can highly recommend.  They paddle for about 5 minutes from their campsite into the surf that breaks through the heads and like big kids spend ages just catching the big waves that come crashing through the heads, then after a fun fast ride, spin off and do it all again.

I know it looks flat, but that's the beauty of this spot.  Easy paddle out, fun surf back in.
Plus no beach to crash into :)  !!!


It can be a little dangerous.  The mob leader told me how the day before he'd been thrown backwards off his boat as he went up the face of a very steep wave.  Luckily a friendly cray-fisherman from another mob was going past and picked him up and took him to shore. 

Even while I was there he got thrown from his boat violentally enough that  he snapped the rope he used to attach himself to his craft.  It's a fun place, but only for the experienced.

Anyway, the days seemed to just fly by, and we had some great times in  a beautif\ul place.

Our beach ...

I went spearfishing for the first time in the strong currents just inside the heads and I wasn't sure who was more surprised - me or the fish - when I let go for the first time and actually hit the poor thing.  Still that was dinner solved.  Bouyed with new confidence, I set forth a second time to gather a feed for the mob and promptly broke the spear instead ending my murder spree.  Probably for the best.

I also found out that it was wise to listen to the wisdom of the 'elders' of the mob.   Against the repeated advice of these elders I encouraged one of the 'little fellas' to wave a fire stick about one night to make pretty shapes. I then watched with horror as half of the burning stick went arcing off into my tent.  I also learnt that putting out a smouldering tent with you feet is not a good idea, and stepping on a hot coal really hurts. No seriously it really, really hurts.

Anyway, I could go on and on about this trip... it was a bit like a dreamtime that I just entered and lived and then it was over before I knew it had happened, but I'll always have the memories.

The scary thing when I got home was that I realised that maybe the culture up there had rubbed off on me a bit more than I'd realised ... I was an honorary blackfoot!





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