Our Broome visit has flown past. Between work, our socialising and the number of ‘must sees’, there did not seem to be enough hours in the day. The standout for us was Broome’s huge tides. They have some of the biggest tides in the Southern Hemisphere with the difference between high and low tide being around 10 metres. The large tides provided an opportunity to experience a number of unique phenomenon.
An eerie sight at low tide about a kilometre off Town Beach was the remains of fifteen flying boats (Catalinas and Dorniers) that had been strafed and sunk by nine Japanese fighter planes on 3 March 1942. The flying boats were refuelling in the Bay and were carrying mainly women and children refugees from Java to the southern states of Australia. Approximately 80 people were killed in the attack and all were fleeing the Japanese invasion of Java and the surrounding areas. The wrecks are classified as ‘living’ graves so close access is limited.
Broome is one of the few places on earth where you can walk in the footsteps of dinosours. The footprints are recognised as the most significant in the world with tracks stretching for about 80km along the 200km of Broome sandstone coastline. It is believed that the prints were laid down some 120 million years ago with more than 20 different species having been identified. Many of these prints are scattered around Roebuck Bay and especially at Gantheaume Point where they were in easy walking distance. The very low tides provided us the opportunity to see the footprints.
Last Saturday night the boys took themselves off to the local speedway while the girls went into town for cocktails at a local resort. The Captain was not sure how long he would last as he didn’t like the thought of eating red dust all night. All was good however as the track was kept well watered. Unlike at home, the speedway had an excellent bar facility so the lads were also well watered during the evening. According to the boys they had ‘a very pleasant bogun evening’.
As most will know, Broome was built on the back of the pearl industry. What you may not know is that originally Broome’s industry was not pearls but Mother of Pearl shell. The shell was used in the production of buttons before the introduction of plastics. As part of our ‘pearl journey’, we made a visit to the Willie Creek Pearl Farm. The farm is privately owned by the Banfield family and is approximately 40km from Broome over a ‘fairly rugged’ dirt road. The little jeep and her passengers certainly felt the effects of the corrugated road. Willie Creek Pearls has the largest selection of pearl jewellery, including freshwater pearls and mother of pearl shell pieces, in the region. We spent a couple of informative hours at the farm and also enjoyed a picnic lunch on the farm’s shoreline.
Broome being Broome, Sunday was ‘pearl hunt’ day. After breakfast it was off to Chinatown that boasts some of the finest pearl and jewellery showrooms in the world. While the Captain stood idly by staring into space, Dearne selected and made the appropriate purchase. It doesn’t pay to think too much about the price but concentrate more on the points one is accumulating that will enable the purchase of the GPS fishing torpedo on our return to New Zealand!!
On Monday night we visited Mangrove Resort on Roebuck Bay to watch one of natures wonders, the Staircase to the Moon. The Staircase occurs when the full moon rises over the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay at extremely low tide and creates the optical illusion of a staircase leading to the moon. The event occurs three nights each month between the months of March and October. It is truly a stunning sight albeit very hard to successfully photograph. The navigator did her best.
If you are ever in Broome, take time to visit Matso’s Brewery. It is the Kimberley’s award winning microbrewery and a Broome treasure. The Brewery produces a range of ciders and speciality beers on site and boasts an excellent restaurant. Matso’s also has its own ‘curry chef’ operating from a natty little alcove called the Curry Hut. We celebrated the purchase of Sunday’s pearl with a Sunday lunch at Matso’s. We highly recommended the Brewery as a ‘must visit’.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is our last day’s work at Broome’s Turf Club. It is Cup day and the Club is expecting a crowd of around 8000. We start at around 10am and will probably finish around 10pm. We have both loved the work here (albeit not a career choice), we have met and worked with some great people but it is time to move on. We will depart Broome on Sunday morning and continue our journey down the west coast of Australia. Depending on the road conditions and weather, will determine where we make our Sunday night stop. We will also bid farewell to Lyn and Bruce on Sunday morning. They are heading east and making their way slowly toward their home in Bargara (near Bundaberg). It was great catching up again guys and no doubt we will see you again soon.
More shots of our Broome visit HERE .
We are not sure about the quality of data or cell phone reception as we drive south. If you cannot get hold of us just leave a message and we will call you as soon as we are able.