Leaving Raft Point as we headed to our next days adventure overnight was this massive headland glowing in the late afternoon light. Then we were treated to a wonderful pastel sunset which later after the sun sank turned intense reds and oranges. Each day the scenery and the sights seem to get better in this amazing region.
Lunch while we cruised further up the bay closer to Ruby Falls. Quite a long dinghy ride through mangrove channels to the base of Ruby Falls. Low tide and white/grey mud coated all the rocks, very, very slippery and very lucky no-one fell and it was quite difficult for some. Beautiful waterfall which you could sit behind out of the curtain of water and spray. Tiny frogs were in the crevases of the damp rocks.
We didn’t think anything could top our trip to Montgomery Reef (see yesterdays post) but after a late breakfast we hopped into the dinghies again and headed to the closest beach. After a hot climb to the top of the rocky ridge was an open cave with Wandjina Paintings. These are the human like figures in the above image, the other paintings depict fish and other food that could be found in this area.
The Wandjina paintings are only found in The Kimberley region and are deeply spiritual to the people of this area. To these people the Wandjina is the supreme creator and a symbol of fertility and rain. Their ancestors have been painting Wandjina figures in rock art sites scattered throughout the Kimberley for millennia and they continue to do the same.
Very close to Montgomery Reef a sand island is being built up by the wind and tides. No vegetation and only visable at low water this small dot in the ocean was fascinating to walk upon. It was only about 100 paces long and 20 paces wide in a funny shape with a small sand hump in the middle. As the tide was coming in by this stage we watched as the sand fingers quickly disappeared and the water started hiding parts of the island from view again. See below –
Montgomery Reef is a large coral reef approx. 100 square miles in area located just off The Kimberley coast. Huge and pristine it is an amazing place to visit. As the tide falls the huge amount of water over the reef has to fall too and creates cascades all along the edges of the reef. The tidal rise and fall can be as much as 11 metres! The dark blue in the image above is the top of the reef still covered with water and lower there is a reef heron fishing the cascade.
This reef is special too in that it lies exposed to the sun for many hours each day and yet the corals stay alive. Scientists have found that the corals extrude a type of sunscreen that protects them from bleaching in the sun. The noise from the run off of many hundreds of cascades like this is very much like being near a large waterfall and the water is just as turbulent.
Early start to the day, everyday, as the sunrises are spectacular bringing life and colour to The Kimberley cliffs. This day was different with no cliffs but amazing colour in the sky and reflecting in the ocean.
This day was also different in that we were heading out early to Montgomery Reef, a huge reef (island) off the Australian coast. See tomorrows post.
Before leaving Talbot Bay we had a close encounter of another kind. These sharks came around late in the afternoon looking for tipbits I think the crew called them Lemony or Lemon Sharks. The crew hand feed them each time they come through Talbot Bay and so some of us did too. They make a frightful sucking noise when they take the food (generally chicken) and you can scratch the top of their heads which feels like bumpy leather. Yes I did 🙂 And another reason not to swim in the water.
The Horizontal Waterfall is a natural wonder, with the huge tides of The Kimberley (up to 11 metres tidal change, yes eleven) the water flows through this narrow opening into a large gorge at right angles to the opening and then through another opening into a second gorge at right angles. As the tide turns the amount of water trying to either leave the gorges or come in has to do so through the narrow necks and creates a rush of water trying to fill the space on the lowest side. This can be up to 6 metres high creating the Horizontal Waterfall. We went through in the dinghies at the start of the turn of tide as it is too dangerous later, still exciting enough!