About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A clean sweep of Broome and the Dampier Peninsula.

After the Gibb River Road spit us out on the bitumen (paved road) at the old pearling town of Broome, Team Tojo headed north to explore the Dampier Peninsula up to the tip at Cape Leveque.  The dirt road leads up through a couple of aboriginal communities as it makes its way up to the Cape.

View from our campsite.
Had a beautiful couple of days at Whale Song camp area.  The small 5 site camping spot overlooking the Indian Ocean, coupled with a sweet little cafe, was a perfect stop on the way north.

Cindi takes a QUICK dip, as all swimming is "at swimmers own risk" due to saltwater crocs which "occasionally" are seen in the area!!!  (None had been seen here for nearly TWO WEEKS!!!)

Tojo tent can be seen at the top of the bluff

We saw many breeching humpback whales, which come to the area at this time to have their calves.  Sweet as!!!

Free form outdoor shower at Whale Song.....worked a treat!

Then up to the tip of the peninsula, where first stop was the Cygnet Pearl Farm.  The entire Broome area was founded by the pearling industry over 100 years ago.  Although in the early years the search was for oysters bearing mother-of-pearl for the button industry, it seems that the area has a perfect combination of climate, water temps, and huge tidal flows to encourage pearl cultivation.  Cygnet offers tours of their operation, as well as campsites and a restaurant.  We did one of their tours, which included pulling out a previously seeded oyster to check out its pearl.

Very cool, as our guide opened the critter and finds a really large, if imperfect pearl!  We then took it through the rest of the tour to the grading process, where it was compared with known others for luster, clarity, color, size, etc, which are then input into a computer program which establishes it's price.
The big rascal (about 12mm diameter) was worth $480 wholesale.  Not bad for a bit of shell!!!

While we had no use for this pearl, it was our anniversary, so a bit of shopping in their store was on the agenda.  Cindi did pick up a nice pearl bracelet to celebrate the occasion.  (Adam was happy with the new fishing rod/reel that the anniversary fairy brought him!!!)

Tojo at home at Gumbarnan.
After Cygnet we headed out to the end of the Cape, and camped at an aboriginally owned area, Gumbarnan.  This area was great, very laid back, offering bush camping at a good price right on the water.  The fishing was, ummmmm..... uninspiring, but all else was a-ok.  Most days, one of the village elders tells traditional stories from his people's past, sitting in the shade under a large boab tree.

On the way back to Broome, we stopped at Beagle Bay, a tiny community about midway up the peninsula.  Not much going on in the sleepy little town, but they do have an unusual old Catholic church, with the altar made completely of mother-of-pearl and cowrie shells.

Back in Broome, we looked up Glen, a friend who we'd met back on the Gibb River Road.  As well as a terrific guy, Glen also happens to be a Toyota mechanic.....actually a Toyota guru/whisperer, and he offered to help us out with a couple of minor issues.

We had noticed that our left rear seemed to sag a bit (now, be nice, please!!!), although the cargo load seemed fairly even.  Glen said it was due to the spare tire that we keep on a rear mount, which is on the left side.  It seems that it wears out the spring on this side, a common occurrence.  So we swapped the rear springs, and BINGO, Tojo sits dead level again!  Nice.  We also rotated the tires, as the rears were getting pretty "chipped out" given how much time we've spent on rocks and gravel.

While doing this, Glen noticed a problem with our front right wheel.....something was forcing the axle outboard, where it popped off the dust cap which was rattling around in the hub cap.  Not good.....After a lot of head scratching about what was causing the problem, and comparing the right with the left wheels, we came to the conclusion that a mechanic who had rebuilt the front differential back in Adelaide before we took title on the rig had screwed up, and put in the wrong part on the right side....Really not good!!!  If the diff sucked water into the end of the axle in a stream crossing, we could be in serious doo doo.......Amazingly, we were able to locate the correct part at an auto wrecking yard in Broome, pop it on, and off we go!  Thanks a million, Glen, for all the help!!!  (and the transmission shop in Adelaide has agreed to pick up the tab for the repair of their botched work)

Trying the luck with the elbow to elbow fisho's, no one was getting a feed that day!

Broome was a funny sort of place.  Due to the beautiful beaches and wonderfully mild winter climate, the remnants of the rough and tumble wild west atmosphere of the pearling fleet have given way to a distinctly mild tourist trade, primarily of the gray nomad persuasion.  People park their trailers (caravans) in the caravan parks for the season, and don't seem to do a lot else.  Much like Florida or Arizona in the US.  Though we get the beach thing to a point, the overall vibe wasn't exactly our cup of tea, and we were itchy to "get back bush", as the Aussies say.

But first.....remember those salties, the saltwater crocs of northern Oz???  Well, we could hardly head south without first seeing a few of these bad boys in the flesh.  So we headed off to the local croc zoo, the "Malcolm Douglas Wildlife Park"......kind of a Steve Irwin type of croc roadside attraction, but good fun to see these powerful rascals at feeding time.

Cindi and the newest addition to the Tojo/Bravo crew.....what could possibly go wrong?????!!!!!

Next up......we turn Tojo inland to the vast Pilbarra outback.....back bush at last!!!  Stay tuned!

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