Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 144. Middle Lagoon to Koojlaman (Cape Leveque)

A very Beautiful Shell

Scarlett and the starfish
Last night I awoke to dingos howling off in the distance, and wouldn't you know it once I was awake I needed to do a 'bush wee'. I nudged poor Shane and asked him to come with me, and he was a little confused as to why I needed protection; but as soon as we both exited the tent a dingo was caught in our torch light running through the camp. It turns out I wasn't over reacting at all, but having Shane out there while I was in my exposed position behind the tent certainly made me feel a little bit safer.

Today we moved on from Middle Lagoon to Cape Leveque. We rose early, and packed up camp in record time. The road out seemed even worse today than when we came in only two days ago. It had me thinking with the 40km's in, and 40km's out on this horrible road, was the journey really worth it? Don't get me wrong, Middle Lagoon was a very remote and beautiful place, but I have been to many beautiful places on our journey so far, and most didn't include 80km's of back breaking road in and out.

After turning back out onto the main road, we had tar from here up to Cape Leveque. It is a total puzzle to us why the first 100km's up here is dirt road, yet the second 100km's way up here is tared? What ever the reason, I was really grateful. The trip up to the Cape was a little too fast, and we found ourselves too early to check in. So we decided to travel up to 'One Arm Point', and visit Australia's only operating Trochus shell hatchery.

Trochus Shells being polished

Tank of Clownfish

We took a guided tour of the hatchery, where we learned all about history of trochus fishery in One Arm Point. The Trochus shell's are found in shallow coral reefs through out the Indo-Pacific. The shell has an inner of  'Mother of Pearl', and is use mainly for the manufacture of buttons in Italy. It is also used in the manufacture of the metallic look in all car paints. The meat is a good source of protein, and can fetch up to $50 - $120/kg depending on market demand. Unfortunately since the 1980's the local community who survive on this industry has started to struggle due to overfishing by illegal Indonesian fisherman; so that is where the hatchery comes in. The hatchery runs a re-seeding program where brood stocks are collected, and after spawning, the juveniles at 12months are re-released back into re-stocking the reef.

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

This very interesting tour through the hatchery also showed other examples of marine life found on the Dampier Peninsula, giving an insight into the saltwater heritage of the BARDI JAWWI people. Scarlett had a wonderful time at the touch pool where she was able to pick up giant starfish and other sea creatures. There was some very friendly green sea turtles that followed her around the tank and even let her rub their backs. I was suckered into feeding the barramundi where the fish sucked out the fish from my fingers so fast it gave me a bit of a fright. Shane and Scarlett loved this so much they made me do it again. There were polished trochus shells and jewellery sales too, where Shane bought me a lovely shell for my collection; thank you baby, I love it.

From here at 'One Arm Point' there are spectacular views of the King Sound tidal waters. We were taking some photo's on the side of the road, when a sea plane came in to land. We explained to Scarlett we would be doing a ride on one of these later in the week, and she seemed a little confused as to how the plane lands on water and floats. Next stop to burn some time was the 'Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm' where Scarlett and I lusted over all the very beautiful, and very expensive Pearl jewelry.

It was now lunch time, so we headlined into Koojlaman to set up our camp. Our site was on the cliff top overlooking the west beach, and it was such a beautiful view. Unfortunately this beach is not good for swimming due to rips and currents so we walked across the resort to the east beach for a swim. There was a little bit of a swell so Scarlett, Shane and I had a little snorkel, but with the visibility so poor were only in for about half an hour. We did see two stingrays so it was worth the effort. Scarlett played on the beach with a little girl she met in the first 5 minutes, and Shane and I went for a walk to look for shells.

Scarlett and Shane playing hide and go seek in the rocks

Scarlett and friend

This evening we had dinner with Martin, Nikki and Scarlet Walter's; a family we have been spending time with on and off during our travels. They are in a safari eco-tent and it is so cool, the kids had a lovely time catching large green tree frogs in their toilet, and spotlighting cretters from the balcony. Martin cooked a us a very gourmet BBQ with ribs, kebabs and salad. We had a wonderful evening, it was just like being back at home with our friends for weekend BBQ's. 

Nikki, Martin, Scarlet, Scarlett and me at dinner

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