Day 5. Woke up at regulation time of 5.30am. Felt pretty good. Nothing hurt after yesterday’s long march. Another easy tab coming up today – about 15km. Got going at 7.20am, heading south west, following downstream course of the Edith River which was to our left. As always happens on these expeditions, everyone gets more efficient, packs quicker as the days roll on. Easy walking brought us to Edith River South at 9.10am. This marked the 52.2km point n the journey showing just how easy a time we have been having. We would have covered 60km in two days in the Tanami. I’m puzzled how I ever did that – day after day, for 6 weeks with no rest days and 1.5 tonnes of gear to get off the camels every morning and night. At 11am reached Sweetwater Pool, encountering for the first time, trekkers and day-walkers coming in from the western end of the track – the Edith Falls end – to see this spot. It’s justifiably a significant landmark on the Jatbula. It’s a huge, rectangular rock hole about 100 m long.
This was a luncheon spot. The rock hole looked purpose built for swimming races. So that’s what we did. I challenged Barry to a decider – best of three after the previous two contests. There was great debate about the appropriate handicap and Tony Smuts, Balmoral Beach Club esteemed handicapper treated it with disdain and refused to get involved. That was probably wise. Anyway I got a 17 second start from Barry for two laps – up and back – in the waterhole. It was magically clear fresh water. I beat Barry by a body length but I think me let me win just so I would feel good. Anyway that’s two wins and one draw so far. There were suggestions that I had jumped the gun and gone early. There was some controversy and discussion about this from observers on the bank.
At noon set off heading west along the northern bank of the Edith River on the last leg of the journey. I really dawdled as I didn’t want it to end. At 12.25pm reached a place called Long Hole pool, really spectacular and I was a bit nonplussed to find we hadn’t even found the big rockholes.
At 13.20 we arrived, regretfully, at Edith Falls carpark where the bus was waiting to take us to Darwin. A journey of 62.2km on my broken leg was complete. I congratulated and thanked Barry for allowing me to come along. We now turn our attention to goal no 3 – the Palm Beach to Manly swim. Only 31km half the distance of the Jatbula and it should be less sweaty.