If ever there was an atmosphere that one remembers for the sheer volume of its sound, it is the jungle. We described for you the ambiance of the Amazon jungle a few weeks back. Now let us do the same for the Outback and the rain forests of northern Australia.
For total exceeding 3,000 kilometres, from Adelaide to Darwin, we crossed into a desert, dry and hot at the start of the summer season by way of the Oodnadatta track. After leaving Alice Springs, silent nothingness gives way as the days pass to increasingly dense vegetation from which comes the sound of the first insects.
In the run up to the rainy season, there is some doubt about the chances of a dry night in the open. In the shelter provided by a makeshift halting place for travellers we tried to sleep on the benches of the table we had elected to be our home for the night. But sudden lightning flashes followed by shock waves soon came to interrupt our relative peace.
Farther north we would be permanently surrounded by tropical forest. We measure the impact of the hundreds of kilometres we have mechanically covered over a period of weeks through this change of atmosphere. From here on we will be at the mercy of the tropical conditions.
At night we sweat in the tent and wish we still had with us the hammocks we had in the Amazon. Some unidentified animal, very probably a bird, with regular piercing cry, arrived to interrupt the symphony created by the tiny creatures that swarmed between the tree roots and shrubbery.
The surprising presence of bats living