We’re back on the Macquarie, camped a few kilometres outside Warren. It must be the Macquarie because there’s water in it, though not nearly as much as there was only recently. The banks are still muddy up to a metre and a half above the current water level. And it’s lined with gum trees, and birds.
A beautiful place to stop and camp.
Except for all those ants – is there 4 square metres of Australian bush that isn’t covered with ants? Even the ash in the old campfire site has ants all over, around and through it. But we set up anyway.
Putting up the tent was mostly uneventful. After all, it’s warm and still so it doesn’t really matter if the tent pegs are only halfway into the ground.
I opted out. I don’t go fishing – well apart from that crab I caught on a line on the Cape (remember that Doc?).
Eventually she put it all together and threw the line in. Well, dropped it in really, the casting was less than perfect. But at least the hook was in the river.
“It won’t wind in” she said as I sat there with a glass of wine talking with Doc on the phone. “Why won’t it wind in? Ask Doc what I’m doing wrong.”
So while we were getting close to being in outback NSW, and Doc was sitting in his loungeroom in Wollongong, he diagnosed Helen’s fishing problems. “She threaded it wrong” he drawled in his best bloke voice, and he was right.
So I rethreaded the line for her, retied the hook & sinker and showed her how to cast properly. Straight into a tree on the other side of the river.
After cutting the line free, rethreading (again) and tying on a new hook and sinker, Helen was finally ready to go fishing. Sort of. She put the bait on, cast into the river and stood there, as you do when you fish. Everything looked normal, except for the lifting of the rod high above her head, and the little dance she kept doing.
Then she came back. “I give up. The bait won’t stay on the hook” (she was using vintage tasty cheese) she said while waving her arms over her head and flicking the rod back and forth. I have no idea how she did it, but the line was wrapped around the branches of a small tree, and through a clump of grass and caught in some bark. Far too much to attempt to untangle in the fading light.
So she had sausages for dinner.
And we sat and listened to the fish jumping (“ha, ha. Can’t catch me” they seemed to be saying), listened to the birds flying overhead and resting in the tree tops, and watched the stars come out. Until all the mozzies made us retreat to the shelter of the tent for our first night sleeping out.