From the Tiwi Islands to Darwin was an easy overnight cruise. We had an appointment with the pilot for first light.
The travel company that managed the cruise was Zegrahm Expeditions and, as always, they added a great deal of value to the product. The cruise director made sure that we had the opportunity to extract the max and he was well supported by guides who really knew their stuff. They included Chris Done who had been the regional manager for the state’s Department of Conservation and Land Management, Terry Done, a marine biologist, Shirley Campbell, anthropologist from ANU and Brent Stephenson, a first rate ornithologist.
The ship was part of the Coral Princess fleet, first class facilities and a wonderful crew.
Off the ship early and flying late; what to do? Go birding.
The only disappointment of the day was finding a new fence around the Palmerston sewage ponds, you can no longer see the birds that it attracts. Yet another sewage pond falls by the wayside, every one of them a sad loss.
It’s Christmas Eve and I bid all my readers a happy one.
It is also the fortieth anniversary of the destruction of one of my favorite Australian cities. I had arrived in Oz in August and hadn’t got around to visiting Darwin. I have been several times since. There is a Thai restaurant upstairs in Mitchell Street, near the bus station, that I thoroughly recommend. It’s called Thailicious. Sitting there you are about 100 metres from the corner of Searcy Street. Look out for Searcy Street at 2 minutes 45 into this newsreel …
Tracy killed 66 people, caused A$837 million in damage (1974 dollars), or approximately A$4.45 billion (2014 dollars). It destroyed more than 70 percent of Darwin’s buildings, including 80 percent of houses. Tracy left more than 41,000 out of the 47,000 inhabitants of the city homeless prior to landfall and required the evacuation of over 30,000 people. Most of Darwin’s population was evacuated to Adelaide, Whyalla, Alice Springs and Sydney, and many never returned to the city.
Music is extremely important to me, Chimps don’t care much for it and Charlie Parker’s experiments with cows were equivocal …
I have just read an interesting article on the evolution of music here’s a snippet. To read the whole piece just click on the link below it …
Darwin argued that music evolved mainly by sexual selection through mate choice—and that we’re uncomfortable acknowledging that fact. He wrote back in 1871 that, “The impassioned orator, bard, or musician, when with his varied tones and cadences he excites the strongest emotions in his hearers, little suspects that he uses the same means by which his half-human ancestors long ago aroused each other’s ardent passions, during their courtship and rivalry.” He knew that music didn’t need to have a “survival value” for the individual or the group; it could spread through purely reproductive benefits. He suggested that the more musically talented proto-humans attracted more sexual partners, or higher-quality sexual partners, than their less-musical rivals. We see sexual selection for music in many other species—insect song, frog song, bird song, whale song, and gibbon song—so I think that’s a reasonable default theory for how humans evolved music. It’s the theory to beat.