Cape Leveque is situated on a peninsula 200km due north of Broome. We drive almost 200km, which is a combination of sand (some corrugated) and bitumen, to the awesome retreat of Kooljaman. The majority of Cape Leveque Point is Aboriginal land and requires permits for entry.
Today is the day we finally get the fishing rods out and rig them up for a spot of fishing. Unsure of the tide heights we head down to the fishing bay and drive along the beach to an amazing location. The tide is a long way out and some of the reef is exposed. We have been able to collect some very interesting looking shells and the kids played in the rock pools amongst an array of marine life. The tide changes here are so rapid and on several occasions we move our belongings further up the beach towards our car. I scramble across some of the rock pools and cut my foot quite badly… I hope the bleeding doesn’t bring crocs and sharks to the reef. As the tide rapidly moves in we all take turns fishing on either of the two rods we had rigged. Finally, the fisherman of the family, Liam, picks up the rod, casts it out and shouts “I’ve got something”. “No, no” we all yell, “it’s probably snagged on the reef”. Mike helps Liam then shouts, “quick, get the camera”. They bring it in and it looks a bit like a barracuda, however as we are not much of a fishing family, we are unsure of the fish and let this 40-50cm sharp toothed fish go. We later find out that it was a Longtom, and these are not uncommon in these waters. I will need to brush up on some fish dishes at the rate Liam catches them. We all enjoy a bit of a paddle around the reef and decide to make our way to the One Arm Point Community for the afternoon. We arrive at the community and head over to the Aryldaloon Trochus shells and hatchery. They have plenty of ponds where they are breeding fish for release back into the sea. They have all sorts of fish including Clown fish, Rock Cods & Barramundi. The fellow that runs the place also carves Trochus shells into the most incredible looking artefacts.
Liam was fortunate to have his 6th birthday up here and shares his birthday cake with Charlie and Jack, his buddies, along with the rest of the family. We decide to drive back to One Arm Point to look around the community. There is the most amazing beach called Jogolo, which has the whitest sand and the most incredible blue water you could possibly imagine. The beach sits in the bay of King Sound; Derby is also situated in this bay sitting due south from where I stand but the distance is too great to make out. We venture up to the boat ramp where the local Indigenous supposedly catch turtles for eating. We had heard that once the turtles had been gutted, the scraps are thrown into the water and the reef sharks come in and fight the dogs for the scraps. We wait patiently and whilst we are waiting we watch the huge tide rise before our eyes. As the tide rises, so to do the number of sharks appearing; quite large reef sharks around 2-3m in length. We see a few boats heading out for the Horizontal Falls as we enjoy lunch by the water of this tropical paradise. Nobody has come back to the boat ramp except for two dogs that sit in the water and play with the reef sharks (it is amazing to witness the way they try and chase the sharks). Just as we decide to head back a small tinnie appears and is heading for the boat ramp, so with a quick u-turn we are back at the waters edge to investigate the catch. We approach a father and his sons who had been out hunting. A young boy about 10 years of age leaps out of the boat with a huge turtle. He and his siblings are playing in the shallow water and signal for my kids to come and play. As you can imagine they are a little tentative but once we encourage them to touch the turtle (shell approx. 60cm in length) they head on over. Whilst they are playing a few large reef sharks come in close to the boat but the local kids throw some stones and the sharks retreat back to deeper waters. The father tells us that this turtle is not for eating as it’s too small; it is just for the kids to have a play with. I ask what size they would normally catch for eating and they laugh indicating the big ones are nearly twice this size. Whilst the kids are happy playing with the turtle the young boys father tells Mike that they had been out collecting oysters as well. They had collected a bucket load and showed us their catch before offering Mike one. Mikes eyes are as wide as saucepans as they are about the size of my hand, let alone the fact that Mike absolutely loves oysters. Mike waves me over as I am enjoying videoing the kids playing and says ‘you have to try an oyster’. They are simply enormous and I usually enjoy them with lemon and salt, but not this time as they are salty enough coming straight from the ocean…… delicious. Several oysters later it was time to say goodbye as they ventured out to sea once more.
Lombadina, another aboriginal community, is situated in Beagle Bay just a little further south from where we are staying. Lombadina was a former mission and the original church still stands, although they are currently refurbishing. The building was constructed back in 1936 from local mangroves and the roof from the paper bark tree. The holy water is offered in large shells. Elsewhere we are lucky to see a man carving a large boomerang as we ask questions and receive a demonstration on how they are used and on which animals. There is also plenty of craft made by the local women and with the kids being well behaved they purchase an icy pole from the general store for the princely sum of $1.10 each.
We explored the area a little more, reading the history of the lighthouse and those that worked the lighthouse over the past century or so. Watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean, as usual, is spectacular and in this near untapped wilderness we watch several whales in the distance, just to top off an exceptional visit.