Sunday 14 December 2014

Squatters and Dugong Bay

Yampi Sound is not an unoccupied patch of water. It is remote busy place with Iron ore carriers, barges, pilot boats and helicopters as there are two active iron ore mines here; Cockatoo and Koolin Islands. The ore from here is too pure, they cut it with common dirt to get it down to parity, for the price. Too bad the settlements there are private, no access for us cruisers. There is a 3G tower here, but its Optus! Not working with our Telstra phone.

We ended up visiting the famous squatters of Silvergull Creek. Well worth the effort. Originally the squatters shack was built by Phil and Marion, by the time we were there, they had moved on and swapped with another couple, Mal and Shelley. What good value they are! A pleasant few days floating around their water tank (constant supply of running spring water) and drinking home brew and chatting to fellow intrepid sailors. I won the darts game :)

Next stop was Dugong Bay, first of the major Kimberley attractions, something we were looking forward to. We weren't dissappointed. The sail there meant negotiating the 10 knots current at the entrance, our first experienced with the crazy Kimberley currents. Well, we got there!

A stunning place, surrounded by limestone mountains, too bad the 100m high waterfall had dried up. We hung around there 3 nights, explored one of the creeks and climbed the small waterfall for a picnic. Saw our first croc, out in the bay, not big. He gave us a wide berth as he swished along.

Headed out this time during slack tide so we wouldn't have the excitement of rip tides at the entrance, then anchored outside waiting for the tide to switch the other direction for us to make our way north.

Later on I think I missed an opportunity to take the National Geographic wildlife picture of the year... We could've become rich! We spotted a humpback whale with calf paralleling our course, in time the calf must have strayed over to us to check out Ashiki because what happened next was mind blowing. I heard a splash, turned and saw a 40+' full grown humpback whale horizontal out of the water, a breach 2m above the surface only 30m off our beam! She crashed downward, a mighty belly flop, but not a huge wake from the splash. I think she was sending us a message and honestly I was a little scared and the camera was below. I did duck down to get it, but next she surfaced she was far away, taking her calf with her. That was an event to get the heart pumping!

Myself and Mal (the Squatter) conferring.

SilverGull Squatters Arms

View of SilverGull Creek from the shack

Departing SilverGull in a fresh Easterley

Dugong Bay

Dugong Bay
Dugong Bay
Searching for the waterfall, Dugong Bay

Pool above Dugong Bay

Tide rips outside Dugong

That whale!

1 comment:

  1. Nicely illustrated stories. I enjoy reading them and following your travels.

    It would be good to hear more about sailing with your balanced lug (junk) rig and its ease of use/reefing etc.