In Broome and we caught up with the two Victorian families we had met in Karijini again and the kids all had a ball in the caravan park swimming pool. After a couple of nights hear, several loads of washing and a restock of supplies we headed out to Cape Leveque on the Dampier Peninsula.
We were told the road into Cape Leveque was very rough and for 4×4 only. It was corregatedin parts, sandy and quite dusty we thought it was actually a pretty good road. There is only 80km of unsealed road between Broome and Cape Leveque which was strange and the various communities have bitumen – it won’t be long before it is sealed all the way out.
On the way up the peninsula we visited Beagle Bay where a Catholic mission was once situated and there is a beautiful old church built in 1917 and Intricately decorated with mother of pearl shell. The Sacred Heart Church is still used by the community and the church is still providing education on the peninsula.
Cape Leveque is aboriginal land held under native title and there are a number of aboriginal communities on the peninsula. We chose to stay at Kooljaman community at the point and we booked a camp with water views over the Western Beach.
We weren’t disappointed by the views of the beautiful western sunsets but the camp is set up above the beach on the red sandstone cliffs a distance from the ocean.
At Cape Leveque we went on a cultural tour with Bundy one of the Bardi People elders from Lombadina Aboriginal Community part of the Djarindjin Community. The tour was a spear making and spear fishing tour this was the traditional method of catching fish in the area and fish was the main diet for the Bardi People. The family from Brunswick and another family were also on our tour which meant there were five adults and eight children on the tour plus a group of young aboriginal boys who came along for the fun.
Bundy shared with us some of his peoples’ aboriginal dreamtime stories about the local water source. Bundy told us about how his people lived on this peninsula thousands of years ago.
The we drove to the mouth of a creek and we all sat around a fire and Bundy showed us how to warm and straighten a stick of Wattle Tree to create a straight spear. Then we attached metal spear ends and went fishing.
Bundy told us that we would wade out in the water as the tide came in and catch some fish. He said to catch fish you need to be still and quiet not an easily achieved with eight kids ten and under. We took off our thongs and placed them on the beach as we headed into the water. When we were waist deep (Bianca neck deep) Bundy warned us that there are sharks and crocodiles in the river sometimes and if he says “get out of the water” then get out! He also said “if you see something big and grey get out of the water and if see a log like thing moving then get out of the water and run…as the crocodiles can swim and run on land!”
At this point I was seriously questioning the wisdom of us all wading thru the water but we continued for a couple of hours. Most of us fully clothed! Hilarious.
Unfortunately when we came back into shore the tide had washed our thongs (all five pairs away) we luckily recovered one pair and two left thongs from Aaron and Andrews thongs!
Despite the best efforts of our group no one managed to spear any fish however we were gifted the catch from the young aboriginal boys that had tagged along. They gave us two large mud crabs, two fish and some cockles that Bundy and the kids dug up. Bundy cooked these on the fire in the traditional way for us to share. It was so fresh and delicious – the kids tried it but didn’t enjoy it as much as the adults.
It was a fantastic day and the kids were thrilled to be the proud owners of their newly made spears. We tried to gift these back to Bundy but the three voted to keep them. (more stuff on the roof racks). At the end of the tour Bundy took us to the site of some ancient foot prints in the rock which have been estimated to be 8000 years old and were noted in the native title claim for the Bardi People and the recognition of their long history with this area. The foot prints were pretty amazing we all thought it looked like the person was running perhaps from a fire?
For the next few days we hung out at Cape Leveque tried using the fishing spears, swam and relaxed. We went for walks along the amazing coastline.
We visited the Cygnet Bay Pearl farm and learned all about the cultured pearl farm business. It was really interesting to see the science behind the growing of thousands of pictada oysters to grow cultured pearls. We opened a shell only to find that the pearl produced was of little or no value. After the tour of the pearl farm we had lunch at the café and swam in the newly opened pool. There is accommodation and camping available at the pearl farm but the camps we checked are set in the bush with no views of the water but looked good.
We also visited One Arm Point ( we wondered if named so due to an unfortunate incident with a crocodile?) here the local community have a trocus hatchery and an aquarium which we really enjoyed visiting. There were lots of interesting fish in the tanks and we fed the fish and a large barramundi which moved slowly around their tank until a little fish was dangled and then they lept out and grabbed their feed. It was scary how fast they moved and gave us all a huge fright. At the hatchery they grow the trocus and then release them back into the nearby waters. Once fully grown they then collect the shells at high tide and polish and sell the shells overseas and locally.
Cape Leveque was simply stunning and we really enjoyed our visit to this pristine and culturally rich part of Australia.