We Found A Broad Expanse Studded With
Dense Mangrove Flats, And It Was With Difficulty We Ascertained Which Was
The Main Channel.
We pulled on until about noon, by which time the mud
swamps had disappeared, and we were fairly in the river, which much
resembled the Herbert, of which I have already given a description, except
that it was smaller, and that the vegetation was more luxurious.
landing, we lit a fire, and cooked our dinner, consisting of ducks and
moor-fowl that we had shot on our way up. I never remember seeing
water-fowl in such profusion as here. The ducks and geese were literally
in tens of thousands, and the beautifully-plumaged moor-fowl quite
blackened the mangrove bushes as we passed.
The scenery was perfectly lovely. Tall palms shot up in every direction;
wild bananas spread forth their broad leaves, amidst which were seen the
bunches of fruit; and the larger trees - fig, Leichhardt plum, etc. -
threw their branches across the river, and there interlacing, formed a
leafy canopy such as we imagined was unknown in Australia. Some of the
young palms we cut down for the sake of the head, which is very pleasant
eating. Stripping off the leaves, you come to a shoot twenty inches or two
feet in length, the interior of which consists of a white substance
resembling an office ruler in thickness, and which tastes something like a
chestnut, but is much more milky and sweet. The fruit of the wild banana
has a most delicious flavour, but is so full of small seeds that it is
impossible to swallow it.
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