Monday, 12 October 2015

Broome by air

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes - Marcel Proust

Nearly 20 years after first sailing into Broome it was time for a revisit, but by plane. Putting the Catz into the Cat Castle for their own mini-holiday, we thought this would give us the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy the sights without worrying about the yacht in both deplorable anchorages. This is also a clear out port for those heading to South Africa.
Often called the pearl (no pun intended) of North West Australia, Broome is Western Australia's gateway to the magnificent Kimberley. Surrounded by the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean, Broome's heritage centres around its pearling industry and the Japanese bombing during WWII.
The Japanese Cemetery

Balancing the memory of those who died in the air raids, Broome's Japanese Cemetery is a poignant reminder of the Japanese contribution to Broome and pearling. The cemetery is the final resting place for over 900 Japanese pearl divers. Large sandstone rocks have been used in the headstones and inscribed in Japanese.
Tribute to the divers

Definitely one of the best regional museums in Australia

Flying with Airnorth we stayed at the Mangrove Hotel in what was called an ‘Ocean View’ suite (despite the fact you can’t see the ocean in Roebuck Bay). Much to our annoyance they also did not have the advertised ‘mini-bar’. That however was the only downside of the trip. The Hotel is the 'must-be' place to see the Stairway to the Moon. This was to be a photo I could never capture!
Postcard by Annette Kemp
The bucket list now has another tick; the Horizontal Falls seaplane (Cessna Caravan) adventure. This was an incredibly exciting adventure which also gave a bird’s eye view of our previous anchorages. Mind you, I now know why they want to know everyone's weight; a tight squeeze on the Caravan).
A tight fit for 10 people
Broome from the air
The Buccaneer Archipelago: home to many anchorages
Horizontal Falls from the air
Full Throttle and front row seats
Heading for the gap
Photos never show the size really
Swimming with sharks (Lea with the hat)
The mudflats on the way home
Cape Leveque - another anchorage

It was great to see the old haunt ‘Matso’s Brewery still thriving and it became a regular for breakfast and dinner (with the beers and ciders). Their Ginger Beer is divine and my favourite, although Keith could not finish the Chilli Beer! 
Matso's Broome Brewery
A visit to the Hovercraft Tours to check out Keith's old hovercraft 'Sonny K', was sad for him: 'Sonny K' was destroyed in the Caribbean. He did spend time chatting with the owners about their new craft and had his 'hover-fix'.
Keith with the owners of Broome Hovercraft Tours
And of course, I had to buy a new set of pearl earrings! When in Broome...

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

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