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It’s been a little while. We are back from our trip and as soon as we got back to Sydney our regular responsibilities rushed back to overwhelm us. I will finish with two more posts from this trip before moving on to other news.
We had very strange weather in Broome, there was heavy rain and our flight was postponed by a day, which turned out to be quite fortuitous. When we finally flew up to the Horizontal Waterfalls in the sea plane, we had a great time. Below is a photo from the falls as we flew over them before landing on the clear blue water.
When we landed on the bright blue green waters of the bay we saw several tawny nurse sharks swimming around the boat. Apparently they come around for a free feed of fish bones and skins. I had a chance to see them up close as you can see in the next photo.
These sharks were not really dangerous to humans as they are mostly bottom dwelling scavengers. They were the fourth species of shark that we encountered on this trip.
The sharks were awesome, but then we rode a fast boat through the Horizontal Falls, the narrower being only 12 m wide while our boat was 2 m wide, made it very interesting with the white water rapids. Our Captain was very good though and made it seem easy. The Horizontal Falls are an interesting phenomena caused by tidal movements through a narrow gap in sandstone created by erosion. The difference in heights between the two sides of the gap can be more than 10 metres, and the water can move through the gap at speeds above 100 kph. More details can be found here.
Following our flight we got on the road again driving up to Derby. Along the way we stopped to take photos of the magnificent Boab trees including the famous Boab prison tree. Derby itself was not that spectacular and so after filling up we headed to the Gibb River Road, which cuts through the rugged Kimberley region of Western Australia. Just to give a perspective on how remote the Kimberley is, we spent 4 days camping and only spent one night with on other couple, the rest of the time we were alone. During the day we drove several hundred kms and saw fewer than 20 cars, admittedly the weather had something to do with it. This road is renowned for it’s rough and bumpy surface and multiple river crossings. What we found was a result of the strange weather, and something few people see, take a look below.
We had a lot of fun driving through mud and sliding around even with four wheel drive. The only draw back to the conditions was that some roads were closed and so we could not see all of the wonderful gorges and waterfalls that we hoped to see. Of course with such conditions it was inevitable that people would get bogged, including us. We got some help from some very lovely people from Germany and the Netherlands who helped push/pull us out. We in turn helped some very nice Swiss people get out of some heavy mud using 1 shovel and a lot of spoons! Took two hours but with our camper pulling we got them out.
One of the gorges we did manage to see was Manning Gorge, located about a third of the way along the Gibb River Road. The bushwalk from our campground started with a choice of a half hour walk or 5 minute swim, of course there was a bit of a catch, fresh water crocs in the water. After being assured that it was safe we reluctantly loaded the provided styrofoam boxes with our clothes and camera gear before wearily crossing. Turned out to be no problem and we did not see any crocs that day, only a swimming goana. The heavy rain ensured that the falls were flowing nicely and the morning sun made it quote pleasant to go for a dip. On the way back it started raining very hard and we had absolutely no reservations about swimming across to the campsite.
After drying out a bit we had a hairy drive out of the gorge on a very muddy and loose road that threatened to get us bogged. That evening we drove to a campsite along the Barnett River, there was no one around but a spectacular sunset making it a wonderful experience.
The next day we set out hoping to make it to the Mitchell Plateau and Mitchell Falls, but we had to stop half way because the road was closed. So slightly disappointed we turned around and went to Ellenbrae Homestead for homemade scones and cream. After a bit of a bent rim we made it to the homestead for some delicious scones. We had a view overlooking the garden with visiting wallabies and multitude of birds. After our afternoon tea we had a leisurely drive to the Home Valley Homestead for the night, including our first proper river crossing the Durack River.
The following morning we drove to El Questro, which is a huge ranch turned wilderness area. Before getting to El Questro we had to cross the wide and salt water crocodile infested Pentecost River. Below is another vehicle making the crossing, which ended up being calm and crocodile free.
The next entry will show what can happen to the Pentecost River with a few hours of rain.