A Summer Holiday Down Under
Part 6: Kimberley Coastal Cruise
Wednesday 11th to Friday 13th June 2008 . . . Days fourteen to sixteen.
In brief : Having turned south , we don't rush back as there is plenty to see on our return trip.
Weather : The same predictable blue skies and sunshine - wonderful.
Crocodile Creek . . . a great place for a swim they said ?????
Wednesday has dawned sunny and bright and we're up for an early breakfast on board Discovery One.
There has been little opportunity for swimming despite the high daytime temperatures, due to the unpredictable nature of the local wildlife,
so when the skipper suggested we could swim at Crocodile Creek today we all looked a little worried.
Still it looked a nice place !
Crocodile Creek with a waterfall and a ladder at the head of the inlet.
It's about half tide as can be seen from the dark colourings on the rock.
Behind the falls there was a wonderful, fresh water swimming pool, out of reach of the crocodiles (except for the occasional king (high Spring) tides).
Over the years this has been a haven of relaxation for sailors who pass this way and the workers at Cockatoo Island, the iron ore mines, a few miles away.
P resumably, in years past, they were the ones that built the sun shelter, which is now used and appreciated by all who visit the pool.
Time to relax and swim, to stretch the legs and to explore.
Climbing up the falls we reach a second pool of clear fresh river water.
Richard and I venture out for our first swim in the top pool.
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While we were at Crocodile Creek we were joined by a group of lads from the Australian Navy, taking a little time off for R&R as they say.
They were deriving great enjoyment, and gaining a certain amount of cool points, from jumping from the cliff down into the bottom pool.
Tall, grey haired and looking reasonably fit, I confused myself when I first saw this shot. Those are not my shorts !
Closer inspection revealed I was actually the one on the other side of the pool.
Nautical bric-a-brac, testament to the many visitors over the years.
From Crocodile Creek we motored on round the coast to a place known as Silvergull Creek
where we stopped off to visit a couple known as the Squatters.
Now with full permission to stay, Phil and Marion have even constructed a post box for mail left by any passing postman.
There's not a lot of wrongly delivered mail as there is no Lot Number 2, Silvergull Creek !
We go ashore using their steepish ramp up from the small landing beach.
They have built a really nice home on the headland and planted a wild garden,
with all those sort of plants that you or I back here in Britain would consider indoor houseplants. [ Don't ask me their names ]
We took lunch and a few beers over from the boat and they joined us, or did we join them, for lunch in their garden.
What could have been a potentially embarrassing feelings of us intruding into someone else's paradise
was soon put to rest by their warm welcome.
Phil and Marion matched the concept of a real life Robinson Crusoe and his (wo)man Friday !
Their home was based around the headland and a fresh water spring that gushed warm (32.C) water at so many thousand gallons a minute.
The mining company in the 1960's had built three water tanks to collect and store the water so that they could occasionally send a barge and top up the Mine's fresh water tanks. Nowadays alternative arrangements exist and the tanks are no longer used for their original purpose.
One of them is used as a SWIMMING POOL !
Add a table, an umbrella and a beer . . .
pull up a chair or two . . .
Cut a window in the side as an audio visual centre and voila . . . Silvergull . . . five star accommodation !
Phil and Marion survive and pay the bills, by designing and selling jewellery in a small shack they have built in the garden.
Brilliant . . . the boats have somewhere to call, we have somewhere to enjoy and to buy lovely jewellery to take home, they have a ready made clientele which allows them to continue to live and work in this remote paradise location, so the boats once again have somewhere to call . . . I think this is where we came in !
Ben and Cleo speed us back on the last boat again, back to Discovery.
We sail off into the sunset on our fourth night, ending up this time at Myndi Bay.
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Our last full day on the boat started with a visit to, or rather a sail past, Cockatoo Island.
Lenny, member of the crew and engineer of the boat, talks technical about the island.
Apparently the iron ore they have extracted here has reached 97% (or was it 98%) pure iron but it is running out. Planning permission has been granted for them to mine the next island along. Iron ore here, Bauxite and diamonds elsewhere . . . minerals in the Kimberley are Big Business.
Some of the staff housing on the island. At one time Alan Bond ran part of the island as a superior holiday resort but it didn't last.
Fresh reserves were found and the price of ore went up, so the island is now solely concerned with the production of iron for the world market.
Just after lunch we motored into this amazingly sandy beach. Silica Bay was white from the shell and coral deposits that make up the sand.
Due to the ocean location and lack of mangrove plants, it was free of potential dangers.
A swim was back on the agenda for those passengers that wanted one.
The beach umbrella provides shade against theafternoon sun for Cleo, as Ben watches the boats and the swimmers down at the water's edge.
By taking a pair of trainers it allowed me to climb up behind the beach and look down on the bay.
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That evening we anchored up just around the corner from Silica bay, so it was a short trip next morning back to Cape Leveque
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Nearing the end of the cruise, perhaps we ought to introduce a few of our 20 fellow passengers before we go . . .
I recognise that white beach and that pindan red sand headland !
Nearly back to the start at Cape Leveque.
Back on dry land, our luggage awaits a final lift to the airstrip.
Due to the distance from Broome or Derby, some hundred plus miles by dirt road, all of us had been flow into Cape Leveque for the holiday.
As we flew out, so the next group of people were already making their way to the beach, putting their bags in the dingy,
and motoring out to a welcome from Bill and the crew aboard Kimberley Discovery Cruises.
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An hour long flight down the south east side of the Cape
took us across more wonderful blue seas, and far below us here, another Pearl Farm .
The jetty at Derby, with it's township set back in the trees, as we we make our final approach to the airport
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Technical note: Pictures taken with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital cameras.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a regular spot at the bar of the Squatter's Arms, Silvergull Creek.