On the morning we leave Broome we discover a leak in the van. It’s the second time it’s happened this trip and we still can’t work out the cause. We’ve had water pump issues sorted but they keep resurfacing.
Still, one way or another, everything gets resolved It’s a bit like tides and the ebbs and flow of life, these little challenges are there to test us. We make a morning dash to Bunnings to buy a new storage box for our extra pantry items under the bed, we dry the area but the source of the leak remains a mystery.
The track to Cape Leveque
Up until 2018 the Cape Leveque Road was unsealed, a long stretch of red dirt track that leads to the Cape, but these days the road is sealed, making it quicker and easier to access. Our destination is 170kms up this road, on the pristine Dampier Peninsula.
Once we reach the turn off towards Middle Lagoon it’s a different story. The 30kms track into the campground is 4WD recommended, red earth that’s bumpy and corrugated. We lower our tyre pressures and head off down the track, to another spot lesser travelled.
Middle Lagoon Mixups
We’re greeted by Herbie the caretaker who gives us a map to our booked site, up on the ridge. All looks good till we get there and find a caravan already set up. It’s a comedy of errors as we meet van owner Kim who races up from the beach. She’s stressed, full of apologies and runs off to sort out the mix up with Herbie at the office. We agree to take the next site. It’s not a big deal for us, after all, the view is the same.
We’re surrounded by water: the Indian Ocean and Ocean Beach is in front of us and Middle Lagoon is to our left. The days are spent in the water and at night we enjoy the ever-changing colours over the horizon. When the sun finally disappears the stars come out and take over the show. Nature’s the ultimate cinema.
Even the little things like doing the dishes is a joy with a view like this.
Adapting to the Tides
It’s a safe beach. There’s no sharks, crocs or blue stingers here. When the tide is low we walk further to reach the water and when it’s high, like on our second morning, it’s practically on our doorstep, like a tropical spa bath.
Somehow, the tides dictate life both on land and in the water in Broome and on the Dampier Peninsula.
They’re amongst the biggest in the world and their rise and fall creates a beautiful rhythm to the day.
Out at Cygnet Bay, Australia’s oldest pearl farm, there’s a range of land based tours and sea safaris available. One of the most famous is the Horizontal Falls Tour, leaving from either Broome or Derby. For us however, the cost is too high, it’s the equivalent of two additional weeks living on the road.
Horizontal Falls is just that, “a horizontal waterfall you can ride through”. David Attenborough called it “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”, an ocean phenomenon the result of one of the world’s highest tidal shifts compressing through two narrow breaks in the Kimberley coastline.
But we can’t do everything so we do the next best thing. Conditions are good, the wind’s died down so we’ve booked ourselves on a 10 person Sea Safari, a Giant Tides boat ride.
Giant Tides Tour
Now we’ve gone on a few awesome cruises this trip: Katherine, Kakadu, Darwin and Lake Argyle, but this two hour boat ride is undoubtedly the most exciting one we’ve done.
We motor out into the sheltered waters of King Sound and the surrounding islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago which make Cygnet Bay unique. This working Pearl Farm cultivates some of the finest quality South Sea Pearls in the world. We cruise past osprey nests and ancient Kimberley cliffs and then the action ramps up.
Doug and I are in the very front and I don’t know whether to hold onto my hat or the seat as our skipper Ben tells us to “hold on”. He powers the throttle and the vessel hurtles towards the whirlpool of tides. Then we slow, sit and watch the phenomenon that surrounds us.
It’s exciting and utterly thrilling to witness the power of these tides. I’ve never seen a waterfall in the ocean nor have I seen such massive waves and whirlpools from a boat. My short video will hopefully give you a slightly bigger picture.
Back at camp and in our van that night I’m lulled to sleep by the sound of waves that feel gentle in comparison to the ones we rode today. It’s rhythmic, hypnotic and like I’m still on the boat, feeling the vibration and pull of the ocean.
As I write this I think about the strange times we’re living in and the state of the world and Australia today. I can’t help but think that things are moving and shifting faster than we can see. The rise and flow of what’s happening in society is creating change on our planet, in a way we can’t even imagine, a way that will change how we live forever.
May we all ride it out, with love, faith and trust in a bigger picture of a hopeful, beautiful new world that’s slowly emerging on the horizon.
Sending love and light.