Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Head north to Cape Leveque?????

Here is the Dilemma After being stuck on the Gibb for more than we had planned we were not to keen on doing the same and be stranded care of the dirt road that leads up to Cape Leveque. After all the recommendations from locals & one of my now retired Telstra workmates "Neville the nudist" I just had to go & check it out for my self.
 We had a HUGE night at the Roey the night before & got home at 3am. We had to pack up camp & be on the road by 8am to make the 9am tour of the Willey creek pearl farm. I stopped drinking early in the night so that wasn't a problem but the 4hrs sleep didn't help at all!

Here we have a resident crab who helps clean parasites from inside the oyster shell

The tour at Willy Creek was worth the early morning wake up. Rachelle ran us through  the cultured pearl industry from start to finish. All of the staff from the Pearl lugger tour the day before & todays tour at Willy creek were hilarious. The gave a very informative & entertaining run down of the industry. 

Not quite a cruise on a pearl lugger out in the ocean but still good value

The buoys that suspend the nets that hold the pearl shells. We saw a decent size croc just near the buoy that we were  pulling up. hhmm that swim the day before at cable beach... hhhmmmm

At the end of the tour Troy chose to do the optional chopper ride around Willy creek. It was Troys first time in a chopper and he loved it 

After a 3 hr drive up the track we arrived at Cape Leveque. The visitors centre was pretty flash. Hopefully an indication of how special this place is.

Can it get any better than this! I can spit onto the beach.. look mum!

There was a small swell running & the point almost looked surfable on high tide
Just for a contrast this photo was taken a few days later showing the exposed rocks. Maybe not such a good spot...
aahhh Beer o'clock...  The shelters have running water with a shower in one corner  and a table &  bench seats.  Fireplace with swing away BBQ hot plates. Firewood supplied.
Basic but awesome 

The colours would change minute to minute.

Dinner was a roast in the camp oven. Absolutely magic..

When I had the facility's available I would take a night time shower just before bed. Tonight I had some guests join me on the shower base. The place was littered with crabs of different sizes . Some small & some a little to big for my liking. Good news for me they didn't like my torch or the fresh water splashing down on them.  I didn't have the heart to tell the Irish lady's camped in the shack next to us. They had another night to go and with only swags on the ground I didn't figure it would make the nights sleep very pleasant knowing what they were sharing the ground with.What they didn't know wouldn't hurt them..
Sunrise. Troy up at 5am to catch this 

Low tide at the point. No good for snorkeling. Time to go for a fish..

While I was setting up my gear the local ranger drove past & told us something big & dead was floating in the water with some large predators having a bite. He suspected it was a dolphin or a piece of whale. He advised we should go for a flick with a lure down that end of the beach as we could hook something worth while . We rigged up as quick as we could & made a bolt down the beach. It turned out it was a turtle that had been attacked by sharks. Not much left by the time we got to it.

A couple had been snorkling & saw the turtle flapping about only a few minutes earlier. At that point it was still looking intact . 

I couldn't help myself & still threw about the lure for a few minutes and nothing was interested. We could only see sharks swimming about a few meters off shore and nothing worth while.

We decided to go for a walk around the point on the low tide  and go for a fish later on the incoming tide

Some of the views from the point
what the? Man made or natural?? looks good 

We went for a fish that arvo but all we would hook apart from Garfish for live bait was sharks. Troy was on fire and hooked a 6ft hammer head that menaced the shore line. It ended up almost beaching itself. At this point we were shocked at how close it came into the beach.. Not even little pinkie deep is safe.

The hammer head threw the hooks after a 5 minute fight. We then baited the hook and casted it out for another go. This time Troy hooked a bigger one that just kept on running. With only a few feet of line left on the reel it bit off thankfully. I didn't feel like winding 300mtrs of new line back on the reel.

Next day we went for our daily swim & snorkle. No sharks or turtles to report.

This wasn't my cast but I did catch it. Troy had just got this cast snagged a few minutes earlier & was going to swim out to the reef & unhook it. Nature called & he decided to do it later after he took care of business. After 5 minutes his rod went mental & I noticed something jumping out of the water from the corner of my eye. A Long Tom had taken his bait & set free his line from the snag. This one jumped with more energy than any of the other Long Toms we had hooked in the past.

What a beast!. 70cm of muscle... with a mean set of teeth

Troy got stuck into the Queenie's yet again. 

This Sea Eagle got excited every time we dragged in a fish. 

I filleted the fish & hung the carcases on this stick. After a few minutes the Eagle got up enough courage to come & take it for lunch. 
Sequence #2

Some of the upmarket shacks have fridges and ceiling fans. No generators out here just one hell of a solar farm. 
Word got around that we would put out.........
Another smaller eagle comes by for a feed

We would fish on the beach to the other side of this reef 

We had only intended on staying 2 nights but loved the place so much we had to stay for a 3rd. Next morning more  snorkling,swimming, fishing , all the usual.

Our other neighbours Peter & Jo would take their inflatable canoe out a few hundred meters off shore. They would then open up an umbrella to use as a sale.  Clever or what! 

Warp speed Captain Solo... This time for real. 

The wind blew parallel to the beach so you still needed to paddle in to shore.

Last swim for the day. Back to Broome in the morning & then on to Port Headland

The next morning when we woke the ground under the shade of the shack was covered in all these awesome tracks left by the crabs during the night. 

Tell me that this isn't part of the inspiration for modern day aboriginal dot art ??


Last view from the door before we leave camp. I will be back for sure..

The Troll & Tommy make the accent out of camp headed for  the next adventure. 

Livin the dream ( Just don't wake me up)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Time to leave the Gibb

Civilisation. Oh so close yet so very far away

After over a thousand kilometers crossing the Gibb this was the first & last road train that we encountered. Turns out that it was a very bad season for cattle so not many stations mustered this year. After export most would be paying $50 per head for the privilege of exporting the livestock. Its part of the condition of the lease from the government that the stations do an annual muster.  What will next year bring ?  

ahhh Finaly Bitumen!
The last 100km of the Gibb or the first depending on what direction your heading is all sealed. The bitumen project is a joint venture between the government & the Kimberly DIAMOND EXPLORATION company.... Very nice of them to put bitumen in for all the Tourists!
Site of the next Argyle diamond mine perhaps when the existing mine shuts down in Kununurra in 10 years time.

10am & we have made it to the end of our journey on the Gibb.  Its 45 degrees & the car knows it.

Our last 2 beers! It was worth keeping them for the occasion.
So as for the toll on equipment on the Gibb
 The list is as follows.

1 Waeco CF60 now a VERY expensive Esky.
1 radiator cap.

All of the spares lists I read recommended taking a spare radiator cap. I literally had EVERYTHING else to weld, screw, bind, glue, tape, rivet, solder, patch, plug so why not a radiator cap??

I'm happy to report NO FLATS! We met a young couple at the Devils marbles who had 6 different punctures when last on the Gibb on the section from Kununurra to ElQuestro. They had good equipment on there truck so some would have to say they were just plain unlucky.

Well worth a look at a few if your in the area

A few weeks before most of this would have been in the red. 
yea yea
 Been there done that !

The water front at Derby. A yacht in the Mangroves up at the high tide mark 

The tide in Derby is the highest in the southern hemisphere. 11 mtr tides are a regular occurrence.  

A good example of one of the 11 mtr tides in progress

The water comes up over the Mangroves to the left of the photo  

Stumps from the Old Pier

A barge riding the incoming rush of tide

A sandbar across the bay soon to be 3 Islands

The Boab prison tree at Derby. Nice & cozy when its 40 degrees outside.

We had intended on staying at Willare Bridge the night & fishing the Fitzroy river for Barra but on arrival at the Fitzroy we were not impressed. The river was not flowing & looked a bit to croc infested for our liking so we opted to continue on to Broome 

As usual Troy was up early & took a walk along cable beach. At the surf club was this letter box.. We also had our own stash but not with such a fancy cover. 

What do you know. We had been allocated a camp spot next door to Debora & Maurice the Swiss couple from Windjana gorge.
They had been touring with their parents for the last 2 weeks & only had a few more days before they had to fly their parents home. Debora & Maurice had been to Australia once before for 3 months. They loved it so much that they decided to come back for 12 months & continue the adventure.  They had been on the road 3 months so far this trip & already had quite a list of conquests that they had achieved. The Gun barrel, The Gibb, The Simpson desert, Cape york.

Marice was more bushman than most Aussies I know. At the dinner table he would have pet insects that he would feed moths to. Every new camp spot would bring a new group of pets to the dinner table. He is that in love with Australia that he got a southern cross tattooed on his shoulder. In addition to his "bucket list" of roads he has traveled he is the only person I have met that can boast that he has caught a croc on a lure! Debora has the sequence of photo's to prove it. Very impressive

Were we decided to bypass the Fitzroy and continue on to Broome, Debora & Maurice decided to take a walk on the banks & flick a lure. Marice found a fresh water Croc floating belly up just a few feet off the bank & had to go and investigate further. He managed to Souvenir a couple of teeth before he pushed it back in the water. Next time we meet I'm sure that the tooth will be sewn into the brim of his hat with twine made from buffalo hair that he got when he wrestled a bull to the ground with his bare hands.  By day he is a quality control officer with IBM wearing a suit, jacket & tie. I don't think it will fit to well when he gets back to his normal 9 to 5 if he ever goes back.. 

A trip to town for us but not before Troy takes care of a hitchhiker wanting a free ride into town as well.. Maurice it was  let go without harm.. Honest!

Troy had truly had enough of "Movember" only a few days in & decided it had to go. It wasn't even December yet.  First Barber we had seen in months so it had to be done.
I to felt a bit feral so I decided to get a cut & shave. We had been running into a guy we had been crossing since Darwin & followed on the Gibb. He to was camped just next to us in the caravan park in Broome. The morning before we left camp to head into town we had a chat & discussed heading out for a beer later. That afternoon we came back & I tried to continue our conversation. It took him a little while to recognise us without bum fluff & all that hair. Come on we didn't look that bad did we?

The main street in Broome aligns with the main North South runway. We sat down for a quiet pint when the first one went over head.  It was quite unnerving but after the 4th  and  5th........

We nearly had a Quantas jet just about take our heads off. Time to move from the pub to some place safe.

Bombs away

See what I mean! After we figured out what was happening we would look up the street when the next one would go past & see all the OTHER tourists come running out of the shops onto the street to see what the hell was happening.  

Broome is famous for Pearls so when in Rome.... 

Absolutely beautiful pearl shell

Divers Bell Boots & Pearl box. A diver would wear nearly twice there own weight in diving gear.

An old pearl lugger in at dry docks

One of the hazards of diving... surfing... fishing... anything in the ocean really

You have one guess at what they are used for?

Penis covers ! yep Aboriginals in the area used to cover their bits with highly decorated pearl shells... I want one

main income from the Pearling industry was buttons made from the shell. If you found a pearl it was considered a bonus

Clean shaven pretty boy with one hell of a big Pearl shell

Troy looking at new carrier possibilities

$100,000 Pearl

Ouch... this is what you get for your money ?
Remember my workmate who flew past us in the chopper while we were stuck at Kalumburu? Well here is the culprit. Guys meet Peter our Broome field technician.  

A bus load of tourists arrive & take the plunge at cable beach. Just the week before the beach was  closed care of a 14ft croc that also wanted to be a part of the action & go for a sun bake on its lovely white sand. Authorities took a few shots at it but they didn't kill it. It did move off though at least that is shat we said in our heads while we went for a swim. This was the first time in the ocean after being teased with the most pristine beautiful beaches you could come across but couldn't swim at.

All of our favourite activities and we are unable to participate in any of them

What no nudity! Damit i'll have to go back to camp & get my bathers......

We were going to take a token white ass shot on sun set ....walking off into the distance but I'm glad we didn't go there. The nuddie beach is full of wrinkly old men looking for other wrinkly old men... lounging on deck chairs..... wearing women's hats with T shirts pulled up & tied in a knot at the front.... much like what you see in the photo above.... hhmmm The sign writer captured it well...

Another must do was Matso's Brewery. A sample paddle was the way to go. Chilli beer was a speciality. It was a step up from my chilli home brew. A 50/50 mix of Chilli & Mango beer goes down well.

A mater for the cause. A real Matso's "movember" man..  

After 2 days in Broome we had seem much of what the town had to offer. Many of the locals told us to get out of town & head to Cape Leveque . As we had lost so much time on the Gibb we were not sure if we could make the trip worth while if we bolted up for a night or two & then bolt back.  Maurice & Debora had headed up the day before & were due to head out tomorrow. We decided to give it a go & see what everyone was raving about. Before we leave town we had a full nights entertainment in store

Talk about keen. This guy was having a ball with his mates so we figured we would ask if he minded a crowd joining in

Troy joining in the next wave of Jetstar ads

The real reason for participating in the activity was the young lass next to Troy... He was on a recruitment drive for tonight's session at the Rowey 

So this is what all the hype was about.  2 other guys from the caravan park joined us on a trip into town for a few beers & to check out the show. The lady at the Pearl farm actually recommended it to us saying it was a must attend local even if your in town on a Thursday. She assured us it was nothing seedy.The wet T shirt comp only lasted 5 minutes & in the end the boob show just a side show to the rest of the evening that was in the end the main event.

We had an absolute ball of a night. Troy fell in love with one of the bar staff who had done a cover shot for a mens magazine. He didn't even leave the bar when 2 girls showed up looking for him for. One being the lady from the pearl farm and the other being the girl doing star jumps on the beach ...

Missed it.... by that much!

Or did he... Chick magnet at work...

Livin the dream... ( just don't wake me up)