big mob of wakih

A second daluk (woman) who I call karrang (mum)has also become friendly with me outside my immediate kinship family. She is married to really down to earth senior man who I call ngabba (father) from Goulburn Island. He has impressive traditional scarring and is a skilled fisherman. I went with karrang, ngabba and their extended family on an action packed fishing trip at Cahill’s Crossing. Ngabba throws a net perfectly when catching yow (bait fish) and both daluk and bininj caught the biggest mob of wakih (shark) I had ever seen. There was about 9 and one namarngol (barramundi).

I couldn’t believe that the alligator river would have so many, although it is estaurine and the tide came up rapidly from the ocean and we moved from the sand to the bank. This is why so many kinga (crocodile) are seen here. Although I did not see one this time, when I crossed the river at a 70cm high tide in the troopy, there was one swimming across! When crossing at high tide (which is not advised) the rule is to wait for the tide to turn so the water becomes very still and less likely to push you.

Although ngabba said hot coal cooking in the sand is traditional, they cooked up one shark for me in another way. First cutting out large organs which they called fat, then chopping the shark up discarding head and tail and boiling it before removing skin and bone and straining the meat. Then the fat was chopped up and fried like liver to which the strained meat was added. It was really tasty and eaten with rice and salt, sometimes onion. Salt is always added to fish here, I guess being freshwater, the natural saltiness is reduced. I transported the sharks on the roof of the troopy so it was dripping with blood and required a big clean up.

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