Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 019 Contents 176 Scoop Traveller December-June 2011
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GUIDE dampier peninsula
James Brown grew up at Cygnet Bay together with the local Bardi people. He
studied marine biology at James Cook University in Queensland and returned in
2000 to find his place in the 55-year old family business. Ten years on, he runs
Cygnet Bay Pearls and lives in Cygnet Bay with his wife and two boys. He has
started a research base at Cygnet Bay, which offers independent research teams
access to vessels, a land base and local knowledge.
Favourite wet season activities | Squeezing into a two-man kayak (with
the dog) and paddling the coral reefs with the early low tide. This time of
year boating is great in the bay. Mornings are calm and the afternoon sea
breeze is offshore, which makes it calm compared to the west side of the
Peninsula. The water is very clear – it’s the best time of the year for diving
and exploring the coral reefs, islands and tidal creeks by kayak or boat. I
also love cruising down to King Sound to catch Barra at Goodenough Bay,
or up to Yampi to swim in the cool fresh water holes at Crocodile Creek.
Cruising | A cruise through the Sunday Island group at the start of the
Buccaneer Archipelago will leave you speechless and humbled. It’s a truly
special place with islands of ancient Kimberley rock holding their ground
against some of the strongest tides in the world, giving rise to standing
waves, whirlpools and horizontal waterfalls. You can feel the energy, and
everyone comes back somehow revived.
Diving | The top of the peninsula and the Buccaneer Archipelago are
the adventure diver’s best-kept secret. Pearl divers have been diving
up here for over a hundred years but others either can’t access it or
they’re too scared. The lagoon at Cygnet Bay, which locals call the
aquarium, is always a crowd pleaser. For the fearless thrill seeker,
I highly recommend going for a dive with the bull sharks on the
ledge at the hatchery boat ramp (One Arm Point) – guaranteed to
get the heart pumping.
Fishing and snorkelling | I would be putting my life at risk if I disclosed
the best fishing spots, but I can say that nothing compares to catching
huge bluebone with the locals at Pender Bay. Most people don’t
know that the top of the peninsula is the start of a thriving coral reef
bio-region. What makes ours unique and accessible is that you can
walk down on low spring tides and observe from the safety of terra
firma. Nemos are everywhere.
Pearly sleep | You can stay at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and experience what
life was like for the pioneers of the pearling industry, and what it’s like to
work and live on a pearl farm now. There are also eight eco tents.
The Buccaneer Archipelago seen from the air.
James and his children enjoy the water.
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm
Pioneers in the area made
their living from pearling.
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