Well, we think we’ve spent enough time here in Broome. We’ve had a great relaxing time and it’s going to be hard to get back into the swing of things of on being on the road again. Broome is a real tourist town. I don’t think we’ve met any locals yet. Most of the workforce is from another place in Australia, or they’re back-packers. The population goes up by 3 or 4 times during the dry season. I’d hate to see it at it’s peak.
The following night after we did our sunset camel ride on Cable Beach, we made up some tea and took it down to the beach to eat it and get some photos of the camels in the sunset while not riding them. It’s quite a nice scene.
I got up for the ANZAC Dawn Service. The girls of course slept in! Big attendance – at a bit of a guess, 3000, with lots of young ones of course. It was very well organised, and very eerie with a bag-pipe player leading in the march.
Most of the other days, we bummed around town, did a bit of shopping, and took Charlotte fishing. You sort of lose time over time, they call it ‘Broome time’. Charlotte didn’t catch any fish, but was keen as mustard. We were fishing off rocks with the tide coming in. A big manta-ray cruised on pass. That was a bit of a buzz. In fact there are plenty of them around here. We saw four or five when swimming down the beach one day.
One of the reasons we pushed to get to Broome at this time was to catch the ‘Stairway to the Moon’. It happens 3 nights around a full moon rising over Roebuck Bay when the tide is out. The moon’s reflection shines off the mud flats and creates ‘stairs’ to the moon. The first two nights there was total cloud cover, and so when we woke yesterday morning for the last night, we were very glad it was clear skies. We had some tea and headed down to Town Beach. I setup the camera on a tripod, and waited. It is a great sight. We had perfect conditions with the only exception that the moon was past full and was waning, but it is pretty spectacular. It lasts about 20 mins. Lots of people there to watch it of course. They have market stall with food vans , etc. Great atmosphere with people from all over the world.
Today was our big day though – Seaplane flight out to the Horizontal Waterfalls in the Buccaneer Archipeligo. We had pre-booked this tour before we left Brisbane, and was so looking forward to it. We weren’t disappointed. First part of the trip leaving at 5:30am, was by road on a custom truck/bus. We headed north on the Dampier Peninsular. After 2 hours of very rough and corrugated dirt road, we arrived our first stop at the aborigine settlement of Beagle Bay for a coffee break. Here the catholic missionaries built a church in the early 20th century. Check out details here http://www.broomediocese.org/beaglebay.html. It truly is a piece of building art-work. So intricate and beautiful.
Next stop was breakfast at Cape Leveque, the northern most point of the Dampier Peninsular. Here the local aborigine group has set-up a camping/resort facility. The place is absolutely stunning, with beautiful red cliffs on the western side, and white sandy beaches on the northern side, with camping huts right on the beach front. It was a perfect spot for camping, but I’m pretty sure your vehicle would take a beating getting there. There were plenty of campers already there, lapping up all the sun.
From here we headed across to One Arm Point for a quick tour of a aqua-culture farm, then down to the air-strip to catch the sea-plane over to the falls. It was only a quick trip of about 30 mins to the falls, and so didn’t climb all the high. The view from above was fantastic. All the different colours and patterns of the thousands of islands that make up the archipelago. The tide timing was perfect and the sight of the falls was great. The pilot did a couple passes over the falls so that everyone could their pictures, and then we landed on the water and moored up to the ‘houseboats’. We jumped straight onto the speed boat with two, 300HP out board engines and sped around to the falls. We deliberately picked this day because it was going to be the highest tide for the year at 10.5m, and a low tide of about 1.5m. The water was ‘flying’ through the gap. The boat driver had the boat sitting in the middle of the gap, keeping the engines going so that we didn’t move. He quoted the water was travelling at 35km/h with a water depth of 50m. I think he said that that equates to 1,000,000 litres of water passing through the 20m gap in a minute! We dropped 3.5 metres from one side to the other. We moved to the second gap which is only 8m wide, but didn’t pass through it as it was too dangerous. The water was moving that quickly it was creating massive rapids on the other side. Charlotte was having a ball sitting at the front of the boat passing through the first gap 2 or 3 times. The water has a lot of power, and we were tossed about a fair bit. You needed 600HP on engines to get through!
We headed back to the houseboats, had a great meal of freshly cooked baramundi and salad, then some of the group got into the ‘shark cage’ to feed the sharks. Charlotte got to give a tawny nurse shark a rub on its back. We did another 30 minute boat trip up the back waters looking for crocodiles, but because it was such a high tide, we couldn’t spot any, but it was so beautiful and peaceful. Back to the plane and 60 min flight back Broome. Charlotte got to be co-pilot. Thankfully she kept her hands off all the buttons.
After a big day and an awesome experience, tomorrow will be back basics of cleaning and preparation before heading off on Wednesday. We’ve decided to tackle the Gibb River Road on our way back to Kununurra, so you wont here from us for another week to ten days. Wish us luck!
Did you know … #8?
That Broome was attacked during the second world war! A squadron of 9 Japanese Zeros strafed the Broome harbour and airstrip and destroyed 37 aircraft. One was shot down in flight and killed all 30 on board.