Kooljaman to Broome 09/07/2011-15/07/2011 by Mrs Kanga

Saturday, Jul 09, 2011 at 00:00


Day 85 - 09/07/2011

Headed out from our camp at Kooljaman to meet Uncle Vincent at the bog hole on the way to Mudnumm for 9.30am. He directed us to the chicken tracks around the bog holes then we followed him in his 60 series Land cruiser (which was making broken CV joint noises) down to meet four other people doing the tour and some young boys including his grandson. We were soon issued with bent wire sticks then headed out across the bay. The tide wasn’t all the way out yet so we were wading in thigh deep water at times before reaching a section of Mangroves. The few instructions we received were often very hard to understand. Adriane was soon helping pull out the first crab from a hollow in one of the mangroves but it was a female and was let go. We all spread out a bit, clambering through the mangroves poking our sticks in holes in the trees while ankle or knee deep in mud. I soon got left behind struggling through the mud in my old sneakers, video camera in hand and car keys in my back pack. Unable to keep up, and not sure how much further into the mangroves everyone had gone, I decided to make my way slowly along the edge of the mangroves, checking any holes along the way back to the cars. I found a few crabs (but none big enough to keep) and other creatures to video on the way back, by this time the tide was way out. Got my shoes stuck so bad that I ended up pulling them out by hand and continuing on in my socks, everyone else had hired reef shoes from Kooljaman for the day. Got back to the cars after twelve so grabbed a muesli bar and the binoculars to see if anyone else was heading back. They were all making their way across the bay which now had no water. Turned out that Andrea had done particularly well, having a hand in getting about three, including one she accidentally stood on. Adriane was the only person nearby when she stood on it and she called him over for help. He hooked a crab out from where she stood but it didn’t match the claw that had come off, so he probed a little further and pulled out another much larger male. We came away with a Mud Crab each, which we took back to camp and cooked up to have for dinner later. Caught a glimpse of our first whales this afternoon off the Western Beach at Kooljaman, very exciting. Enjoyed the Mud Crabs with salad for dinner. Funny that Andrea had so much fun Mud Crabbing but doesn’t eat them, she had boiled eggs for dinner while Gordon feasted.

Day 86 - 10/07/2011

Gordon and Andrea went for a walk down the eastern beach while Adriane and I relaxed round camp. We all headed out to One Arm Point only to find the Trochus hatchery closed.Walked down to the boat ramp and picked our way over the rocks for a while. On the way back we pulled in to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. Had a look around the pearl shop before having a juice at their café. Got talking to some of the staff and where really surprised to find that they have about seventy staff during the dry season. Were booked at the Kooljaman restaurant for dinner at 7.30pm but were hungry much sooner than that. They didn’t look all that busy so Gordon wandered over to see if we could come any earlier, muttering something to them about being hungry enough to eat the crutch out of an Arabs undies, they were very understanding so we went straight across. Quite an imaginative menu considering where we are. Beautiful open air setting, not a bad view from the kitchen either.

Day 87 - 11/07/2011

After breakfast, Gordon, Andrea and I went for a lovely walk along the eastern beach before it got too hot, while Adriane looked something up on the computer. By the time we got back, he had been for a swim on the western beach. Relaxed for most of the day before heading out in the afternoon for a look at Lombadina. Got there after three and, as instructed, went to get a day pass to look around. We were charged $10 per vehicle even though most things where shut or due to shut at 4pm. One of the cleanest and greenest (all the sprinklers where on) Aboriginal communities we have seen. Had a quick look around their craft centre and the quaint old Heritage Listed Church before driving towards the beach. Seen enough here so went to see Chilli Creek but the sign said you could only go there if you were staying there, so we went back to camp. While we had been at the restaurant last night, we had notice that the garden beds actually contained herbs. As we had planned to have lamb chops for dinner, I sent Gordon over to get some Mint from the restaurant garden and we made some fresh Mint Sauce. A family lit a fire in the nearby BBQ and we were getting covered in smoke, so we both took our awnings down and moved our chairs, after the Marshmallows were finished, and the fire gazers gone, we had to put it out, everything was reeking of smoke.

Day 88 - 12/07/2011

Packed up camp and went for a last look for some whales before heading for Broome, non to be seen. Warm but cloudy today. Bitumen ran out south of Beagle Bay. Sign said “Gravel Road” but there wasn’t any, it was all sand. A few corrugations and scalloped out in sections but overall pretty good, much better than when we drove it in 2008. Passed the protestors for the Gas Hub at James Price Point.Gordon and Andrea stopped and talked with them and had a look at the aerial photographs of the 25 hectares that have been cleared by Woodside. They apparently copped a $30,000 fine for jumping the gun on government approval. Drop in the ocean for them I suppose. Only getting one side of the story, but in my opinion, this place shouldn’t be spoiled. We have seen enough areas in our travels that have been destroyed by mining companies, leaving devastated wastelands behind them. Anyway, first stop in Broome was the car wash, Adriane wanted to at least wash the Tvan before setting it up. Caught up with Gordon and Andrea at the car wash then we went and dropped the Tvan at Broome Vacation Village ($45pn powered). Adriane had booked it months ago, which was just as well because the place is packed, sites are pretty tight. Went and did some shopping before coming back to camp, setting up, with the awning and catching up on some washing(3 x $1 coins). Telstra and Virgin coverage for a change. Clouds got worse as the day progressed and by the time we went to Matso’s for dinner, it was starting to rain very lightly. Got there about 6.15pm and sampled their ginger beer while waiting for a table, because they don’t take bookings.Gordon, Andrea and Claire (family friend that lives in Broome) went for what was on offer from the Curry Hut while Adriane and I opted for a couple of entrees and side dishes. After dessert, we headed back to camp and left Gordon, Andrea and Claire to catch up. We had some rain while at the Restaurant and it continued after we went to bed, amazing.

Day 89 - 13/07/2011

Started the day still a bit cloudy but warm. Had breakfast then bid a tearful farewell to Gordon and Andrea as they headed off towards Port Hedland and ultimately Exmouth for a stay with Andrea’s folks before heading home. Had a chat with a couple in camp with another Tvan. Gave Helen and Merv a few tips and they took photos of our Tvan mud guard table. Did some shopping and bought a pair of reef shoes each and some bits and pieces in Bunnings ( Yes, Broome has one now). I caught up on some computing while Adriane went to the boat ramps and fishing shops for info on Mud Crabbing.Grabbed some fish and chips from town and took it down to Cable Beach to eat. Got Adriane to take a photo of a backpackers interesting way of filling his water containers. Watched the sun go down, very busy with people from all corners of the globe.

Day 90 - 14/07/2011

Another hot sunny day in Broome. Spent most of the day at camp on the computer researching accessibility for the next leg of the trip into the Great Sandy Desert (There has been quite a bit of rain through the Pilbara and into the GSD). We also need to get our 5 acre bush block in Karnup on the market, so we did some market and Real Estate Agent research to get the job done. Low tide was 4.30pm so we donned our new reef booties and went to town beach for a poke around the Mangroves. Ended up walking way out on the mud flats and I found a few blue swimmer crabs but no muddies. Took them back to camp and Adriane cooked them up for dinner.

Day 91 - 15/07/2011

In for another warm sunny day, 32C forcast. Adriane went to the office and collected the fax(20cents pp) we were waiting for then we completed the necessary details while chatting with some fellow campers with a Adria caravan. Popped in to the office to send the fax back, on the way out for a drive towards the Port. First stop on the way for some fresh prawns, some cooked for tonight and some frozen raw for a later day. Next stop was the wharf area. Went for a walk down the jetty, tide was quite high and the water was a beautiful aquamarine colour. Plenty of people fishing but no one catching. Saw a turtle under the jetty and an Oka in the car park. Adriane has an unexplainable affection for these monstrous contraptions . Picked up a menu for The Wharf Restaurant, they were out of Mud Crabs otherwise we may have been tempted to have some of their Chilli Mud Crabs. Went on in to town to post some mail and hunt up some lunch. Had a nice Squid Salad at Dragonfly Café before wandering through the shops, got talking to the owner of a boutique and found that she had gone to our local high school. Grabbed some lovely fresh juices before heading over to Woolworths to grab some fresh produce to go with our prawns for dinner. Heard from our settlement agent, sale went through as planned for one of our rental properties but not quite yet for the in-laws, maybe Monday for them.
Tempus Fugit

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