Visiting the “no man’s land” of the deserts of Australia is almost like getting into a science fiction novel about the colonization of exoplanets. Only really. White people came systematically for about 200 years, and during this time a young, effective and very interesting infrastructure was established. So the sensations are just cosmic.
Australia is dangerous
Not so that all living things want to kill you, but close. There are dozens of deaths a year, which was not close in comparison with road accidents, but they are very, let’s say, inventive. For example, water cannot be approached at all – there, depending on the reservoir, crocodiles, poisonous cub jellyfish, sharks and snakes. Thanks to one German tourist, the last words of which were “Yes, there are no crocodiles here,” signs about their presence along the Stewart Highway are now in two languages. And thanks to one woman who decided to swim during menstruation, we now know that sharks can climb upstream the stream for 2 kilometers. The wood near the camp for tourists bivouacs is collected strictly by guides – it is life threatening to get out of the asphalt, because in the top 20 most poisonous snakes in the world, only 2 lines belong to the non-native. To the great displeasure of the Australians.
The road along the river. It is not recommended to leave the car. The last time they ate a man who decided to rinse the bucket.
And yet Australia is constantly either flooded, or lit, or is in a short respite between these states. But let’s start from the beginning. First we ended up in the Nowhere Land of the Northern Territory.
Crossing. On the left you can see an SUV for 2 million rubles, which no one has been in a hurry to pull out for a couple of years. It is simply explained – out of the five curtains in the photo two – these are crocodiles.
And this is not the biggest crocodile …
Fires and rainy season
Where it rains, there is flooding. Everything is quite simple: for three months water is pouring, and it must be put somewhere. The form of Australia is a saucer, and instead of draining from the continent into the sea, as in all normal countries where people do not walk upside down, in Australia it flows to the center. That is, it simply floods all the surrounding meadows – sometimes many kilometers into the deserts.
Here, in this city, Katerina (aka Katrin) crocodiles swam a couple of times, for example, in the 98th and 2006.
In the city of Alice Springs, already in the depths of the desert, there is the Todd River, where Australia’s most famous land regatta is held. Cowboys and Bushmen take rowboats, knock out the bottom of them and run a race across the river. This show comes from all over the country. In 1993, the regatta had to be canceled – at that very moment the river was filled with water, which happens about once every 30-40 years. It was a shame because the city used to make money on it.
When you walk somewhere far away, you need to leave a note in the notebook in the iron box about who you are, where you are going and when you will be there. Then at the point of arrival – that you came. Rangers (local rangers) synchronize records with each other once a day, and if you don’t come, they will start looking for you.
At the end of the dry season, Australia begins to burn. If the forest is not set on fire, then it will catch fire itself, and it will be worse – because there will be a two or three year old layer of dry foliage, and the fire will not be so easily localized. Therefore, its 60 thousand years as aborigines set on fire, and now also the fire service. In the literal sense of the fire: SUV, stick, solar, tow. The perfect job for the Pyromaniac. If you light up the bush in a staggered manner, then very soon all the foliage and grass will burn, and nature will recover. Thunderstorm season fires will be harmless. I must say that nature is perfectly adapted for this – they say, this is the only case where evolution managed to adapt to man. Eucalyptus trees simply do not burn (more precisely, the meter of bark burns), the acacias competently submerge in suspended animation until the rain, and the grass grows incredibly quickly.
Burning bush here is a normal natural state, part of a seasonal cycle.
During the season of thunderstorms sometimes tornadoes and other pleasures of life like cyclones rise. Most often this means that bananas will rise in price by 3-4 times – if the cyclone passes through their farms. In 1974, the compact cyclone Tracy (with a diameter of only 48 kilometers) landed on the city of Darwin and in an hour demolished 80% of the buildings to the ground (there were 47 thousand inhabitants, 41 thousand inhabitants were left without houses in principle). The weather station device showed a wind speed of 240 km / h, and then it was blown away along with the rest of the weather station. Now, according to the law, special aerodynamically correct houses are built on such territories, which do not tear the roof off and everything else, but on the contrary, press it deeper. But then the city had to be rebuilt from scratch.
They attached a new modern, former magistracy (four pillars) to the stone gates of the church, and saved one bar of stone – it did not destroy it.
After the season of thunderstorms, the rainy season comes again, followed by the dry season. In the rainy season it is generally useless to do something on farms, and therefore cowboys sleep. All changes are made in the dry season, that is, in winter, in June-August.
In the dry season, water is the main deficit. Therefore, in the northern lands of Australia almost no two-story architecture. Any roof is a surface for collecting water. Even on the toilet of the “toilet” on the farm on the roof there is a water collector – dew is collected.
Historically, farmers laid pumps to the nearest river. First, on the bullish one, then on the steam ones, then more modern ones.
They attached a new modern, former magistracy (four pillars) to the stone gates of the church, and saved one bar of stone – it did not destroy it.
By the way, yes, there are few rivers in our usual view in Australia. There are many streams. The creek is what dries up. The river does not dry up. Therefore, every second town (per 100-200 residents with a city-forming gas station along the Stewart Highway) is named after a local stream.
This is not water, but simply a mirage. But the road after the rainy season may look like this. To drive 20-30 kilometers through a layer of water on a field up to half a meter is normal.
Under Australia in the thick of the continent lies a huge salty sea. This is a good geothermal source, but it’s extremely unprofitable to dig (unlike Iceland). But the water does not immediately fall to the depths – the first aquifer lies 5-10 meters (this is something that did not have time to ask after the rain), and the second – already at a depth of the artesian well we are used to 30-150 meters. Farmers use a well with a depth of about 30-50 meters and a solar-powered pump. During the day he shakes, silent at night. Previously, they used a windmill, because it is more practical in terms of the constancy of development, but now a new generation of batteries has appeared (like our Zelenograd batteries), and they are used almost everywhere. The cost of the solution is about 120 thousand rubles for a wind turbine or 60-70 for a solar one. There is no battery on such a pumping substation – it’s expensive. The solution is extremely elegant – a pond for pumped water is digging, which serves as a battery. By the way, yes, the replacement of electric batteries by water basins is often found in the cooling of data centers: when chopping power, you can not continue to cool the track, but have pre-cooled water in a thermos pool.
Here you can see from above the pool for pumped water (the state at the end of the dry season) and the settlement on the Stewart Highway. The link they have here via satellite.
Another example of a water storage tank …
So, that’s about a cycle of rain – drought – thunder – rain. The best illustration would be eucalyptus (about 300 species, but now as a whole). This tree has an oil thermoregulation system so that the leaves are not burned. He turns the leaves to the afternoon sun sideways (therefore, his shadow is useless for rest, by the way), he has emergency buds that start after burning — a previously prepared backup of leaves wrapped in a trunk from which the new system is deployed after a fire. In case of loss of the main trunk after a hurricane or due to termites, eucalyptus can release an emergency from the root. The root goes down 30-80 meters in search of water. Here it is, an Australian tree. By the way, convicts called eucalyptus and other plants with their inherent originality: desert oak, apple desert and so on.
Dried river bed
And here you can clearly see how water affects the growth of flora.
The roads are built by the type of grader as we have winter roads in the Far East. But only if we have a winter road through the snow, here the grader after the rainy season simply refreshes the road along the sands.
Everything here reminds – do not relax =)
Animals also want to kill you
More precisely, purposefully, only a crocodile will hunt for you, and only a marine one (which, contrary to its name, lives in rivers too, but it is distinguished from freshwater – this kid does not know how to go in the sea and lower reaches of the rivers). Everything else soaks you by accident. Therefore, in schools, at the lessons of nature studies, children are explained from the very beginning in some way: “Remember, we played with the whole class yesterday in the park? So, there are four kinds of venomous snakes, dangerous to humans. And you can meet and catch everyone, if you want. But now you can play, because the leaves. Snakes hear you rustling them and leave. Now listen to why you can not sit on the stones … “
This is a probum (in this case, a female with a bag, seemingly like a tweeting cat). Almost all life in Australia is nocturnal, because birds of prey circle from above.
The houses here are built quietly, so that the termite does not hear. More precisely, the termites will hear all the same and devour any tree. Therefore, stone houses – or from wood with such hellish impregnations, that not a single reptile will gnaw. By the way, while on the road of Stewart (cutting the continent through the desert from north to south) they built a telegraph, a couple of times they did it notably – the connection constantly disappeared, because the termites eat the pole completely in about a year or two.
Termites (they will leave the nearest to me, the rest are quite working)
As a result, then they found a type of eucalyptus, which they cannot gnaw, and today they are made of steel. Or another trick – two weeks of parking with a cart with wooden wheels – and it does not go anywhere else. Wheels gnawed from the inside.
Runway in the settlement. During the night, the termites built small bumps, which in the morning ram SUV.
Spiders also bring joy. Hung clothes to dry after washing – do not forget to knock out like a carpet before removing. They turned on the engine of the car – note that spiders with palm size could crawl overnight, and after 3 minutes they could jump onto the windshield, which would force the female driver to hit the brakes and hide behind the wheel. In the morning in some places it is better to shake out shoes before putting your feet there. After fires, spiders often try to escape to the homes of citizens who do not close the door – this is the accident when the spider did not want to, but you yourself forced it. To pull the weeds in the garden, you should either sprinkle them first with insect repellents and snakes, and then drink tea for half an hour, or take gloves, strong trousers and knee-high shoes.
The game “find the lizard”
Snakes can also escape from a fire in your home. And they love mice, and mice love garbage. Therefore, we must clean up clean. In no case can you disassemble the trash in the garage at a time: strictly by a cubic meter per week. Because the snake can live there. She, of course, will hear your cleaning and go deep, but if you sort everything out, she will be cornered and bite. Therefore – gradually, so that she understood that she had to leave. Haystack is also better to disassemble in two steps. Therefore, such a concept as a subbotnik here simply does not occur to anyone.
Sharks – well, I already told. They usually do not bite because they hunt for fish, not for humans. However, from their point of view, the board of the surfer is a fur seal, fucked up by impudence (different types of attack, or just trying an unfamiliar thing, most likely). And sometimes they don’t like some people. On Territory Day, Australian special forces paraded on the water and showed tricks. After the focus, “one fighter dived, the two halves surfaced,” this part of the program was abolished.
There are a lot of dinosaur bones in one region. Farmers even built small sheds from them until it became clear that they were dinosaurs, and they could be driven first to scientists and then to tourists.
Mice during the day. They’re safe, they just scream when they see you.
The rules of survival are very simple – it’s better to go to the toilet not in the bushes, but on the contrary, always fasten the tent behind you, fold the sleeping bag and put it upright immediately after waking up.
Malaria mosquitoes are, but do not tolerate.
The greatest practical danger is represented by kangaroos, who in the morning go to pinch grass along the road and bask on the asphalt. The road accumulates water (both at the top and much longer underground), so there are always many plants nearby. The grass is cut off three to five meters from the strip with a bulldozer, but it helps for a couple of months. Kangaroos still do not know that cars are dangerous, and therefore they cuddle. Such a detail as “kenguryatnik” appeared precisely here after World War II, when farm machinery was scalded with water pipes. First of all, to throw animals on the side of the road, and not to catch in the windshield. Let me remind you that the 52-meter long auto train does not slow down (because it cannot). Car insurance is valid until sunset.
During the rainy season, this bus simply opens the luggage compartments so that the flow goes right through – and it takes tourists where it is necessary at a speed of 20 km / h. Often in the same make-on-wheels.
Oh yes! Add to this a bunch of flies in the central regions and an ozone hole on top, guaranteeing a great tan in 20 minutes.
You also want to kill some animals.
– Wham! – said the car.
“Rabbit,” the driver commented in satisfaction.
Australians love their nature and really do a lot to save it. But at the same time purposefully put pressure on the toads on the roads, trying to kill rabbits, crows. The army is regularly called in to shoot camels and goats from helicopters with machine guns. Another safari is that after the rains, camels breed, and there are more safe amounts. It’s safe, say 7 million pieces, and there are 15 of them. And we need to shoot them, otherwise they will not leave watering places to other animals. Australian army takes off with thermal imagers, broadcast for three days, block roads, warn by e-mail all five local farmers. And begin the safari. All ammunition with a ending storage period is shot, the combat force gains experience in aiming and a lot of buzz.
Because of the exotic species (rabbits, foxes, toads) there is a huge misfortune. And it is because of them that Australia is wildly cool about biosafety. For a start – you can not push anything into the country. If you write in the questionnaire that you were at the farm or in the zoo in the last 3 weeks, then you will wash your pants and shoes – so that you do not carry the seeds by accident. Food is not impossible. In the questionnaire, the wording goes something like this: “Yes / no: I bring firearms, drugs, food, nuclear materials, drugs into Australia”. It was scary to put “yes” – I had with me a field first-aid kit. There are similar barriers between regions – from New South Wales (this is where Sydney) nothing can be dragged to the rest of the continent. There is also a long barrier against dingos and cats – longer than the Chinese wall, so that they do not crawl into other regions.
The rabbit was eaten for meat, and it spread and became a disaster. A fox was brought to fight it, it spread and became an even greater misfortune. Guard bird decided not to deliver. Now rabbits have been thinned by a special virus collected for them, but some have adapted. The toad was delivered later, after these stories, and for 10 years she didn’t show herself in the test pond (she struggled with parasites in the cane, it was important for the economy). Nakatili production, and a couple of decades, everything was fine. Then it came to the toad that it was possible to crawl away, and that was that. Ales. She greatly reduced the number of birds – the Australian did not know that she was poisonous. One toad = one bird. In recent years, there is evidence that the crows have learned to turn over toads and to bite off their belly, leaving the poisonous glands and skin on top intact. But the damage done is enormous – and continues to be inflicted.
At night, foxes fly in the city instead of parrots and pigeons. Flying fox is different from the mouse wool.
On the other hand, there is no rabies in the country – border guards simply did not let him through. There are not many problems with migrants – the sea border is reinforced by crocodiles and snakes, and often the frontiers find a boat and footprints in the jungle, and there are few bones there.
And the best of it – here they brought out a watermelon without a bone, wildly tasty everywhere, and not just in the center. So the old Astrakhan dream came true.
More local features
Communication through the desert is made by infrared atmospheric lasers. The transponder towers were installed along the old telegraph line. 50 kilometers – the tower.
The base station of the cellular network, one for 50-60 kilometers. Bushmen still use car antennas.
Well, or you can use this mega-device
Solar energy is widely used: coal is very cheap here, but the sun does not require a supply line
Bushmen use VHF radio, the antenna is taken out almost half a meter from the car. When a cowboy calls in at a gas station, the whistle comes from the speakers of all the cars on it.
There is no 2G cellular network at all, only 4G and rare 3G. My Nokia 1110 did not work at all. The normal way to get Internet in the steppe is to connect to Telstre (by the way, if you go, only to it), take the phone, switch it to an access point, wrap it in a package, tie a rope to the package and throw it all on the tree. Let distributes.
Superintendent of the railway station narrow gauge. Today it is a complex of gas stations, a store, a repeater, a cellular base station and a satellite teleport.
There are a lot of abandoned cars in the desert – it’s often easier to buy a new one than to evacuate and repair an old one (300 thousand rubles is to pick up the car to the nearest town). On the move in some places jeeps of the 37th year of release – they are easy to repair on the spot.
In cities up to a million is safe: in reality, people do not close cars and doors. The only point is the non-integrated aborigines. In principle, they have no concept of private property, so they can break a window and take a boomerang from a wall or something else. This is better to lock.
The state is very young, so there are a lot of cool laws. A signature in an e-mail or a photograph of a document is considered to be a document (everything is done via mail), there is almost no bureaucracy, after the tax reform 4 main taxes are left, safety is the main priority on the roads. If you exceed the speed of 4 kilometers per hour on the road to a holiday – this is how to cross a double continuous near the post with us. If the accident happened where the marking is damaged – definitely full responsibility on the road builders, no matter what happens. Any action that could potentially endanger someone else is punished quickly, suddenly, and without compromise at all. The visa is done without providing the originals (even a passport is not needed), simply upload scans to the consular server.
The average lifespan in Australia is 82 years (we have 66). This grandfather is most likely one of the “gray-haired wanderers” – he knows everything, can do everything, enjoys life and sometimes stops in settlements to help by profession.
In general, this is a country that is built on one idea – survival. And best of all the spirit of Australia conveys, probably, the local ambulance, which has a guarantee of arrival of the doctor for an hour in any point of the continent. But this is a separate big story.
In general, if you like fiction about other planets – I advise the Northern Territories. There is a frontier.
Australia: a small recolonization of the Earth