how's the serenity

When we boarded an old motorboat to go on a sunset billabong cruise just outside of Darwin, I couldn't help but think of Darryl Kerrigan and his love of Bonnie Doon. Maybe it was partly because of the smell of two-stroke, or the fact that I was with my family, just like Darryl was at his beloved holiday spot. But mostly, it was the serenity.

The sun was setting on another perfect day in the Darwin Dry and an uncanny stillness permeated the billabong. This serenity most likely comes from the fact that the billabong is so far from any kind of extensive civilisation, and as a result the place takes on an almost spiritual quality. It was a lovely thing to just drift past and through the picturesque lilypads, seeing anything above water level reflected in the billabong's pristine surface.

Even the wildlife seem to be in perfect sync with the atmosphere, as they act like the boat cruising past doesn't exist. From the enormous eagles overlooking their territory to the little waterbirds hopping delicately from pad to pad, the birds and animals give you the sense that you're witnessing nature in its untouched state. Even old mate didn't blink an eye when the boat sidled up beside him, preferring to remain in his mottled shade and, like us, enjoy the serenity.

Soon after the orange fireball crept below the horizon, the boat picked up speed and headed back to the banks with uncharacteristic haste. This was because, the guide explained, at a very precise point during each day's farewell, the billabong becomes completely overtaken by infinite swarms of mosquitoes. And so we disembarked and scurried back to the car before our exposed skin was eaten and all traces of that billabong feeling disappeared.

But the feeling remains here, in these lovely images. Another piece of Territory magic from the place that just keeps on giving.

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