We have just returned to Broome following another two days of overindulgence of the senses. The sunsets from the far north west tip of Australia are incredible; the golden orb dropping into the Indian Ocean creating a water colour Turner would have been proud of - and all this from the verandah of our Safari tent.
We have decided to stay in Broome for two nights rather the planned one as we need some sleep - the safari tent was a wonderful idea, perched as it was above the glowing red cliffs of the Western beach at Cape Leveque, but the gaps between the zippers in the doors and between the smooth wood planks on the floors allowed a vast array of flying insects to launch organised attacks overnight. We dressed ourselves in Eau de Aerogard Tropical- that familiar travel scent and on the first night we defended ourselves with the mosi-net hanging from above the bed as if in a scene from Moon over Burma. The mozis fought back directing the net to choke us and pin us down - we fought it off and survived until morning. The second night brought a tidy gale blowing through the tent and causing the heavy canvas to groan and flap and occasionally slap itself loudly - as on the pearl luggers that once sailed this coastline.
The day in-between however saw us on a ‘Brian Lee Tagalong Tour’ joining several other travellers on an adventure across the dunes and along the beautiful Hunter Creek.
This was Bardi country and Brian told us his story - the terrible Blackbirder’s of which his grandfather Harry Hunter was one - collecting slaves from the communities to dive for the pearls for the rich Pearl Masters; how Brian’s father, uncles and then he and his brothers darkened their skin with charcoal so they would not be taken from their mother - designated ‘half-castes’. Harry, having gathered wives and mistresses and murdered various family and friends was eventually poisoned by the women which seemed a fitting end to quite a nasty chap. The Bardi people have looked after this beautiful, pristine, plentiful country for thousands of years and it shows - unspoilt and such a privilege to be here.
We ate well - the lunch of oysters, Mangrove Jack from the creek and sausages from our fridge tasted all the better cooked by Brian on the creek’s edge; the local-french fusion themed restaurant was an experience second to none - in a good way - there is a chef with a magnificent sense of balances with an indepth knowledge of native flavours there.
We headed back- the Cape Leveque road is only corrugated for about 90km, the rest is bitumen - the strange thing being that the dirt is from Broome to Beagle Bay and the blacktop from Beagle Bay northwards.
We stopped at Beagle Bay to view the stunning Sacred heart church built by the community and opened in 1918. The community was established by Trappist monks in 1890 in the country of the Nyul Nyul people, initially trying to convert the aboriginal people and later providing a school and establishing a community.
Now back in Broome and contemplating how easy it would be to simply live here for the winter months each year- we head of to Derby tomorrow and then tackle the mighty Gibb River road.