Ever had a perfect day?
One that makes all the others pale in significance?
One that trumps the day your kids were born?
Not because you're any more happy, but because the day passes and no one gets stitches?
I had that one perfect day last Friday at the Berkeley River Lodge and I'm still smiling at the thought.
On our way to breakfast we spotted this beautiful stick insect. If I spoke phasmid, I'd have heard it saying "Hey! Amanda, today's your one perfect day." But I don't, so I just admired its beautiful pink wings peaking out on it's abdomen and continued to breakfast.
My mission for our time in the Kimberlies was to catch a big fish. I'm a keen fisherwoman, but I've never been fishing anywhere you could catch something of size. We were short on time, so this trip was our only opportunity to catch something. I was cautiously optimistic.
We got some nibbles at our first spot, but no-one landed anything so we decided to move on. We tried spot after spot, each more beautiful than the next. There was no activity on the rods, but loads of wildlife - birds, bats and crocs to keep us company.
Even when you're not catching fish, the Berkeley River is a pretty cool spot to wet a line.
It was warming up, so our skipper Dempsey found us a nice shady spot to have some lunch. We were running out of time, so I ate my lunch with my right hand, still holding my rod in my left.
Dempsey said we had just ten minutes left before we'd have to start heading back to the lodge. It seemed my dream of catching a big fish in the Kimberley was not to be. Then it happened!
My line sang as the fish stripped line from my reel. It pulled me around to the back of the boat then jumped - a massive silver flash!
My crew mates quickly brought in their lines to help me and Dempsey expertly skippered the boat away from the rock to give me room to move. The whole thing took about two minutes but it was intense!
When I finally got the fish to the boat, the fish wrapped itself around the landing net and for a moment I thought we would lose it, but luck was on my side. When the fish was safely on the deck of the boat Dempsey pointed out just how the hook had fallen out of fish's mouth. I'd had it hooked by the smallest margin and had been very very lucky not to lose it.
My big fish: a 92cm Queenie.
I posed for a few photos then we tried to release it, but unfortunately it floated. So we scooped it back up, put it on ice and took it back to the chefs at the restaurant.
It was so big it didn't fit in the esky, even after we tried to make room!
It was impossible to wipe the smile off my face. I'd got my big fish in the eleventh hour of the last day. The stick insects were smiling on me!
As if our day couldn't have got any better, we had time for a quick change into our togs before the helicopter tour we'd booked. We'd ummed and ahhed about the trip because of the moolah, but we'd found two other guests who were keen to do the same tour and share the expense. I'm so glad they did, it wouldn't have been the #bestdayever without them!
We started at a picturesque waterhole for a (saltwater croc-free) swim.
Our pilot Newman seemed to land in less and less likely places as the day went on.
Like on the top of King George Falls!
And a gap in some granite boulders that housed the most spectacular rock art I've ever seen. Some of which has been dated at 19,000 years old!
Yams, turtle and bush turkey - a menu perhaps?
Salt water crocodile
It was phenomenal to explore cooking caves and see rocks worn smooth from hundreds of years of use. I could imagine the families gathering there, sharing meals and stories. I hadn't anticipated being so moved. It was truly a special spot.
Our final stop was atop Mount Casuarina for sunset drinks. Unbeknownst to me, Mount Casuarina is the location of Australia's most spectacular beer garden.
Newman unloaded the drinks and nibbles as we admired the breathtaking view.
As you well know, I've had my fair share of drinks in my fair share of places but this is hands down the most spectacular spot I've ever had a sparkles!
Newman even let me take a roadie! That stick insect wasn't joking when she said today was going to be perfect!
Newman took us for a little flight over the lodge on our way home. You can almost see the beer garden on the top of Mt Casuarina in the background.
If ever there was a #bestdayever it was last Friday. I'm still counting my blessings at our wonderful adventure and our ten happy years together.
ever met a fortune-telling stick insect?