Day 22 – Australia (29 June, 2000)
Day 22 was a similar photographic experience to 21. We took the Flame deep into Kakadu National Park and the Yellow Water Billabong. Another amazing Aboriginal place. But where yesterday we had the photogenic and active Monica, today we were again on a boat, but our feature torchbearers were traditional owners, Minnie Alderson and a man I did not record the name of. Both are obviously highly regarded members of their community, but posing for a photograph was not on their list of priorities that day. So for me, it was a slightly disappointing moment.
There I was on one of the great, mythical, dream time billabongs in Kakadu, with two tribal elders and the Olympic flame – but all I could shoot was them sitting down on plastic chairs on an aluminium boat as we motored around. It could have been so much more. But we got what we got. I do understand the reason for not being able to get off the boat – and the actual photo I shot of the enormous salt water crocodile lying in the reeds was real proof. But perhaps a younger tribe member in a dug out canoe or the like would have been better.
At least the character and detail in both of the elders faces was story in itself.
We then took another flight to the tiny community of Nguiu on Bathurst Island and then back again for a final moment in Darwin. Another pretty extensive day of flights and boats – and a lot of running in-between.