Sunday, 15 August 2004

CAPE LEVEQUE TO SILVER GULL AUGUST 2004

Monday 9th August Cape Leveque
Edna and Colin, Kris' parents, have driven from Mount Barker  in the south west of the state( a mere 2800 km each way), to join us at Cape Leveque for a sail in the Kimberley. After a drive to One Arm Point for provisions and arranging for the car to be parked at the Ranger Station at Leveque we headed out to Taipan.
Edna and Colin at Silica Beach

Cape Leveque, Silica Beach Coppermine Creek Tuesday 10 August
That's an Oyster!
The Kimberley is a magic area. Its spectacular tidal range with currents to match, whirl you through stark rocky channels, past islands sometimes backwards, if you happen to get the tide wrong and all in a kaleidoscope of the iconic Australian color palate set into the milky aquamarine of the ocean.  Setting off early we made it to Silica Beach for a swim in its crystal clear waters off a pure white sand beach. Onward after lunch to Copermine Creek for an overnight anchorage. this lovely waterway is a good anchorage and abounds in oysters and fish. We were successful on the oyster hunting but not so successful with the fishing this time.

The next morning we headed further into the waterway and encountered another 3 yachts. "Magic of Fremantle" Chris and Daun, "Scuttlebug" Trish and Ron and two children, "Forte" with Mark and Melissa with whom we were invited to have sun downers that evening.  We trolled in the dingy and Colin caught a Queen Snapper which was more fun in the catching than in the eating. We lost a couple of things on the way but we are still learning! Mud crabs are very elusive and we never seem to have any luck there.

Coppermine Creek to Crocodile Creek Thursday 12th
Crocodile Creek is a tidal entry you want to get right! We got it wrong on a previous trip there and spent 6 hours lying on the mud bank without any water!. Not wanting to repeat the experience we carefully analyzed the tides every which way before entering the creek on a rising tide with some leeway in time.

Second pool at Crocodile creek
Its a fairly tricky entry with a rock bar across the entrance to the pool at the foot of the falls where the creek terminates. Here you tie off to rocks and when the tide goes out you are completely cut off from the sea as the creek totally dries out. The pool, even at low tide still has a good 8 m of water in it. Its only large enough for about 3 or 4 yachts and luckily there was no one else there when we arrived. 
And we came into the pool over this rock bar.
Memorabilia at the shelter
Getting ashore involves a short trip in the dingy....several meters....to a very long ladder put there some years ago by the intrepid mine workers social club for their weekend outings. Once up the ladder there is a sort of rough shelter and some BBQ facility at the base of another waterfall. The pool up here is a great swimming hole although there are always the inevitable tales of crocs in there  too. We like to swim in the top pool to be sure to be sure! While we swam up there the folks stripped off for a skinny dip in the bottom pool. Kimberley Escape a large charter boat arrived with a dozen or so guests so there was a mad flurry as clothing was recovered and hastily applied.

The mines a little distance away at Cockatoo Island are still digging very high grade ore for export.
The rough shelter here has been adorned with memorabilia of passing yachts and boats for many years and it makes an interesting perusal. We have left several tokens of our visit there over the years. I believe that since this visit there has been a cyclone through which all but destroyed the shelter and removed most of these items. No doubt they will be replaced by new ones and new visitors over the years.

Friday the 12th we headed out for a spot of drift fishing. A shark caught Dad and the line cut his finger. Shark 1, Dad nil. Abandoned fishing and headed into Silver Gull where Forte Scuttlebug and Magic are all at anchor or filling with water from the outflow piped spring. Another relic from the mine days. On Saturday we came alongside the pipe to refresh our water supply and wash the boat. We spent several hours rafted up there with Magic and promised to try to catch up with them later with a carton of coke. They were heading on towards Darwin and we headed back to Cape Leveque to exchange crew. After anchoring we went back up river to have a farewell dip in the tank before heading back to Taipan and making our way back to Coppermine creek.
Sunday 15th August and a strong wind is up so motored back to Cape Leveque to drop Colin and Edna and pick up some more provisions in anticipation of the arrival of Tas and Pearl from Albany by Leopold Air, from Broome.
Monday the 16th we said farewells to Mum and Dad and wished them a good journey home and welcomed Tas and Pearl aboard for the next few weeks cruising with us to Darwin.

To view more images of this and other Kimberley adventures go to: