The outback is awash!
[Reflections on a flight right across the Red Centre]
It rarely ever happens but when it does it is spectacular! The red outback in the centre of Australia is under water, at least large expanses of it are. It is a truly magnificent sight to behold, especially from 34,000ft up.
The land is awash, as far as the eye can see, with ripples of sand dunes peeking through. The water is everywhere, filling all lowlying spots, causing large "beaches" where it has dried. Looking back down to the east, the late afternoon sun is glinting on the dunes poking their heads out, casting mysterious shadows. Although we think of this land as being flat, it really isn't, and this watery picture shows just how lumpy the countryside is.
Unfortunately, dinner was being served and I couldn't get to my camera while we were directly above Lake Eyre, where the inundation was immense. Lake Eyre full of water - how amazing! How sad I didn't get photos of this amazing occurrence.
Across the Simpson Desert, and the outer areas of the Lake Eyre Catchment Basin - water everywhere. It is wet, wet wet! The cockies (graziers) must be so joyful, although no doubt most are cut off from civilisation at present, and will be for some time till the water recedes and the roads dry out.
Sunlight is reflecting off the dunes, in yellow, gold and pink streaks and ribbons, shining pools streaking southward. Ridges of dunes, miles upon miles long. Where land is above water, the tinges of green growth are beginning to show through. The harsh red inland is turning green, no longer red. Sandy basins, now dry or just slightly muddy.
Close to the centre, it is drier, with many drying waterholes, and far less water.
One thousand miles from Sydney - hey, that's an Iron Butt Saddlesore, and in only 1 hour 58 minutes, too!!
[I could really get addicted to Business Class travel, I could! Nice meals: grilled kingfish, marinated in chermoula, with Moroccan eggplant salad and Sardinian couscous. Very international flavours!! Heaps of alcohol, too, although I don't usually drink when flying.]
There's no more water now, we're too far northwest. It's very hazy, and near Alice springs, looks almost like smog. Red, endless red, with only spare touches of green. What on earth could live in this barren wilderness? The earth is scarred with long lines - deep scratches by the rain gods? Steeply carved cliffs along the banks of the normally dry Todd River. Green troughs following the water courses, jigging their way across the land.
We're heading into the darkness of sunset and into the Great Sandy Desert, high above the Tanami Track which I could make out occasionally, which runs from near Alice Springs to Halls Creek in far north Western Australia. Fluffy forests of clouds, tinged and backlit by a brilliant red sunset.
It was a good flight, and I'm lucky to have seen the amazing sight of Lake Eyre full of water.